A New Hope’s original opening crawl was different from the one in the film’s final cut. This version, however, set up the Star Wars saga better.
The original opening crawl for A New Hope was slightly different from what made it into the final cut, but this version would have better set up the Star Wars saga. A New Hope‘s opening crawl described the backstory and context of the story, but more importantly, was able to successfully capture attention and transport viewers to a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars‘ opening crawl was a creative way for Lucas to make a first impression, and getting it right was imperative.
Ever since George Lucas’ space opera began in 1977, the Star Wars opening crawl has been a staple of the franchise, continuing through the years. Back in 2016, the late Peter Mayhew, who originally played Chewbacca in the live-action movies, shared excerpts of an early script for A New Hope via his Twitter account. With just a few differently worded sentences, the opening crawl seen in this script provided a more complete overview of the war between the Rebellion and the Empire.
A New Hope’s Original Opening Crawl Set Up The Scale Of The Rebellion
Written by director George Lucas, A New Hope‘s original opening crawl was slightly different from the version presented in the actual film. This early opening for A New Hope revealed that the Star Wars Galactic Empire feared “another defeat could bring a thousand more solar systems into the rebellion, and Imperial control over the galaxy would be lost forever.” If the story within a galaxy far, far away had begun this way, the war between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire would have been set up on a massive scale. The true power of the Rebellion would have been shown in greater detail too, as there would have been more fighters to potentially join their cause.
What makes this version of A New Hope‘s original opening crawl interesting is how it would have thrown audiences into the Galactic Civil War right away. It provided details of the Rebels’ first major victory as they struck “from a fortress hidden among the billion stars of the galaxy… in a battle with the powerful Imperial starfleet.” Although the final cut of A New Hope did not depict Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Empire from the very beginning, there was a slower build-up to their battles. With the original crawl, the conflict moved a lot faster, giving the war a far greater scale from the outset.
Why George Lucas Changed A New Hope’s Opening Crawl
Although the original version better conveyed the Galactic Civil War’s true scale, A New Hope‘s opening crawl is both shorter and sharper. The goal was to make the story for A New Hope more effective, and George Lucas likely wanted to focus the crawl on his first chapter alone. When originally released back in 1977, A New Hope was simply titled “Star Wars,” and Lucas was unsure if there would be a sequel. Only after The Empire Strikes Back released was A New Hope re-released with its “Episode IV” subtitle, which helped differentiate each episode of the original trilogy.
George Lucas may have been plotting a grand saga, but the Star Wars opening crawl’s job was merely laying the groundwork for the next 2 hours, not the next 20 years, so the changes work. In hindsight, however, A New Hope‘s original opening crawl makes far more sense in the context of the Star Wars franchise. The Empire fearing that another defeat could add to the Rebel Alliance’s numbers is retroactively complimented by wider Star Wars releases since A New Hope, including Andor, Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One.
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