Star Wars will soon be returning to the big screen, as Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy announced the company’s theatrical plans at the recent Star Wars Celebration. And when that happens, one of the iconic hallmarks of the franchise will return as well: the opening crawl.
“The crawl’s coming back,” Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly at Celebration when asked about it. She also made it clear that the crawl will be back for all three films announced, and not just the Rey-centered one, saying, “the crawl is for movies.”
The opening crawl premiered at the beginning of Star Wars back in 1977 and was a way for audiences to realize that they’re caught up in the middle of a story (a George Lucas hallmark) and setting the context. That continued for all Star Wars live-action films up through The Force Awakens in 2015, but Lucasfilm then faced a decision. The following year they were releasing the first ever non-Skywalker Saga live-action project with Rogue One, and they wanted to distinguish that from fans to make it clear that this was not one of the ‘episodic’ films. So the classic “A long time ago” screen still appeared at the beginning, but there was no crawl. Then a similar approach was taken with Solo in 2018, though there were other title cards setting the context.
But there was another major change ahead for the franchise, one that rivaled the release of the first non-Skywalker live-action project: the first non-theatrical live-action Star Wars product. The Mandalorian came to Disney+ in 2019, and from there the Star Wars franchise shifted to the streaming service.
Which all means that the decision around the crawl has changed a bit, because now Lucasfilm is viewing it as a way to differentiate the movies from the shows rather than the Skywalker Saga from the rest. And I think that’s a wise, and very appropriate, decision to make. We’re extremely fortunate to have so much Star Wars content coming throughout the year on Disney+, but there’s still nothing quite like watching the saga in theaters. Star Wars and movie theaters have just seemed right together since the beginning, and I’m glad that side of the franchise will return. And the movies are really geared toward being events, which the opening crawl helps with.
So, when the next Star Wars film hits theaters in December 2025, we’ll get an opening crawl with the Star Wars theme blaring, and it will just feel so right.