There's a lot of information packed into The Rise of Skywalker opening crawl. Star Wars fans are thrown directly into the action as we learn that Emperor Palpatine is back and Kylo Ren is on the hunt for him. Like the iconic crawls before them, the final installment in the Skywalker Saga was something that took a lot of time and effort to craft. J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio debated quite a bit about how much information should be included, along with what phrases should be used.
In a recent interview, Chris Terrio spoke about writing The Rise of Skywalker crawl with J.J. Abrams. They were looking for a way to tie things together with Kylo Ren's ongoing story arc, paired with the return of Emperor Palpatine, and where the Resistance was. Terrio had this to say about how he and Abrams started things off for the opening crawl.
"We debated and debated what the crawl would say, and we wanted to have the word 'revenge' in the crawl, a message of revenge in the voice of the late Galactic Emperor Palpatine. We also wanted that line, 'The dead speak.' ... You might be able to say, 'kill the past,' and that might be genuinely what Kylo Ren is trying to do in Episode 8 and even at the beginning of Episode 9, but the past isn't done with him yet. The character might be mentally ready to be done with it, [but] there's the voice of the past, literally, the emperor saying, 'Not so fast, my boy. History has its eye on you.' History remembers what happened, and the Sith should not go quietly into the night."
As it turns out, looking to the past was exactly what Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams needed when preparing The Rise of Skywalker opening crawl. Luckily, there are eight Skywalker movies to go back and study for tips. But, they ended up taking the most inspiration from where it all began. Terrio explains.
"We went back to the crawl of Episode IV and realized that it's a fairly complex situation you're being thrown into. It very much feels like a Saturday morning serial, because they've just stolen the plans to a battle station called the Death Star, and that's all brand new information in 1977. We decided that we were going to just go for it and begin with an inciting event, which is that this broadcast has been heard."
The opening crawl is a Star Wars tradition and it's an easy way to get some quick storytelling out of the way to start a movie. While some fans have not been into The Rise of Skywalker for various reasons, we have learned that there was just too much story that they wanted to tell. There was not enough time to cram everything in to explain it all. So, they did the best they could with the crawl and hoped for the best.
The Rise of Skywalker is currently on its way to the $1 billion mark at the box office. The movie has not even been in theaters for a month and it's nearly there. So, even though there has been criticism, the movie is still a success because even the haters are seeing it more than once. That's the beauty of Star Wars fandom. You can check out the full interview with Chris Terrio over at IndieWire.