OPENING CRAWL IDEAS FOR TFA AND TLJ
So recently I have been messing around with the opening crawls for TFA and TLJ some more, but I’m at a point where I could use some outside advice. I feel like one of the more universally agreed upon complaints for the new movies is that there is not enough context for the political situation.
Regarding The First Order
There’s no explanation of the First Order outside of “risen from the ashes of the Empire”, which sounds cool, but leaves a lot of unanswered questions:
-How big is the First Order?
-Where did they get their resources?
-Is the Republic aware of them?
There just feels like a disconnect because the First Order in TFA seems better equipped than the Empire was in ROTJ. Didn’t the Empire lose? How have they continued to advance their technology?
You can’t really change those things without making some radical changes, so they need to be addressed, preferably in a concise way.
So maybe we can set the the First Order up better by trying to say something like “they’re a mysterious Imperial remnant hiding in uncharted space that is secretly being funded by Imperial sympathizers and/or crime lords.” This is pretty close to the canon explanation.
The only other thing I could think of that you could say would be something referring to Snoke, depending on if we ever get more info about him. I’ll make a few Snoke-related suggestions just for the sake of it.
So What About The Republic?
First of all, I want to refer to them as the “New Republic” because they are only referred to that once in the whole film. I think explaining the Republic is kind of difficult without the Republic feeling incompetent, but I will list a few options:
-In the theatrical, we get “With the support of the Republic, General Leia…” Hux also claims that the New Republic is secretly supporting the Resistance. But with the lack of information, it seems like the Republic is just choosing to ignore the problem. Like they are complacent to the First Order’s rise. Maybe that is the point, but it seems frustrating to most people. According to the canon, though, it seems like the Republic government is not really supporting Leia’s actions. Maybe a few senators back it, but not the Republic as a whole. Also, the deleted scene where Leia says, “Not all the senators think I’m insane.” Seems to corroborate this, so the theatrical crawl is a little misleading. If the Republic is supporting Leia, then it must be explained why the Republic doesn’t engage the First Order themselves.
-I originally suggested the phrasing, “Failing to convince the New Republic to combat this emerging threat” for Hal’s Restructured crawl. I do think this works, but overtime I do still think it makes the New Republic seem incompetent.
-Another option could be to emphasize that Leia forms the Resistance because she believes First Order spies and sympathizers have infiltrated and compromised the New Republic. Canon seems to agree with this idea, with there being a number of senators trying to undermine the Senate in service of the First Order. This would add a hint of espionage in the backstory, as well as justify why a separate faction outside of the Republic was necessary. Though some might argue that this might put the New Republic in an even worse light.
Though there are bits of info in the film to back this idea up. The criminal Tasu Leech, the Gauvian Death Gang leader, clearly is a First Order informant. So is the woman at Maz’s Cantina, and Finn asks Han if there would be First Order sympathizers in her cantina as well.
-A final option, maybe you could say that while the New Republic is seeking a diplomatic solution, Leia forms the Resistance on her own to prevent the First Order from growing any further. It seems like the New Republic is aware of the First Order, so there is probably some truth to this. And I know other have suggested similar ideas to this.
The thing is, there is truth to all of these options. In canon, it does seem that Leia tried and failed to convince the Republic to go to war with the First Order, who preferred trying to deal with the situation through diplomacy. Leia also came to the conclusion that First Order sympathizers had infiltrated the Senate, so forming a private military force was necessary not only because the Republic refused to engage them, but also to avoid being spied on by First Order spies within the larger Republic.
I think it is just deciding which part of that is the most important to focus on.
I should also note that I currently think that Starkiller Base or a superweapon should be mentioned in the crawl. Yes, mentioning it allows for you to set up its existence at the beginning of the movie. But, I think by mentioning it in the crawl, it makes the New Republic seem even more incompetent because to the audience, we know that the First Order has a superweapon so why aren’t they doing anything?
But if the weapon is revealed to the audience within the film itself, then I think the audience will realize that it must be a secret. If we didn’t know about it, the Republic probably doesn’t know about.
And honestly, I feel like Starkiller Base is so inconsequential to the big picture that I would rather not give it anymore attention than it already has.
So basically with this crawl, I’m trying to address the politics a little more, as well as emphasizing that finding Luke is important to this fight.
I will first list a full possible crawl, then bullet points some alternative phrases or wording.
THE FORCE AWAKENS
Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, a mysterious Imperial remnant, known as the FIRST ORDER, has emerged from uncharted space and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.
Fearing that First Order spies have infiltrated the New Republic, General Leia Organa mobilizes a covert Resistance to prevent their corruption from spreading further into the galaxy.
Convinced that the Jedi are their key to victory, Leia has sent her best pilot to find her lost brother, Luke, before their dangerous new enemy reaches him first…
-a remnant of the Empire known as
-has emerged from hiding
-In his absence, a remnant of the Empire known as THE FIRST ORDER, secretly supported by crime lords and Imperial sympathizers, will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.
-secretly funded by Imperial sympathizers
-secretly supported by rich Imperial sympathizers
-an Imperial remnant known as the First Order has made a rich/resourceful/influential dark side master from the Unknown Regions/uncharted space their leader and
-First Order has allied with a powerful master of the dark side
-First Order, led by an arcane master of the Force from uncharted space, will not rest…
-Convinced that the First Order
-have infiltrated/compromised the New Republic
-Believing that the Jedi are
-With the New Republic unwilling to start another war, General Leia Organa mobilizes a private/covert Resistance to counter the rise of this growing Imperial remnant.
-While the New Republic seeks a diplomatic solution,
-this/their dangerous new enemy/new threat
-reaches the last Jedi….
-reaches the last Jedi first…
So with the Last Jedi, there are two major things I want to focus on:
- I don’t want to make it sound like the First Order is immediately in control
- I want to reemphasize the importance of Luke and the Jedi.
The Last Jedi crawl begins with “The First Order Reigns”. Technically this isn’t really true yet, since Rey says that it will still take weeks for the First Order to seize control of all the major systems.
It also makes the New Republic feel even more pointless because the crawl makes it sound like they are completely gone. The thing is, this makes it sound like Hosnian Prime and the Senate were the entirety of the Republic. If Washington DC and the US’ largest military base was destroyed on the same day, would the United States cease to exist? Of course not!
I know the New Republic was much smaller than the Galactic Republic, but after 30 years of rebuilding they must have had hundreds, if not thousands of member worlds by now. While the New Republic did not have a standing army anywhere near the scale of the Empire or the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars, they did still had a defense force probably comparable to the Old Republic. And even if the majority of their fleet was at Hosnian Prime (maybe ordered there by First Order sympathizers right before the attack?), surely there still would be a few Republic vessels out there.
Not only that, but the reason the New Republic felt that a large standing army wasn’t necessary was because they also could call on the defense forces of various Republic member-worlds.
In my personal opinion, while the militaries of individual planets probably are no match for the First Order, if they were united, they could probably stand a chance against them.
But, that is exactly why Hux knew it was crucial to take out the Senate. They’ve cut off the Republic’s head, and now the body doesn’t know what to do. It’s a divide and conquer strategy. While some systems might prepare to fight, others might surrender first. But without the Senate’s leadership, most Republic worlds will probably choose to fortify their own systems rather than join forces with others against the First Order because there is no clear leader to unite them.
This is why Leia is so desperate to find Luke. Not only is he the only person who could stand toe-to-toe with Snoke and her fallen son Kylo Ren, but also the Jedi symbolize hope, and their legendary status could be enough to unite the galaxy against the First Order.
So that is the purpose of this crawl rewrite, to make the rest of the galaxy feel a little more important and active instead of just this one small corner of it, and also to help tie the Resistance/First Order and the Jedi plot more closely together. Yes, we hear Rey say, “The galaxy needs the Jedi back”, but why?? Hopefully this explanation makes the “why” a little clearer.
Some of these lines were originally written by Noodle Flinger.
THE LAST JEDI
-A dark force rises.
-A galaxy in chaos!
War rages across the galaxy. Without their leadership, what remains of the fractured New Republic struggles to fight back as countless systems fall to the decisive First Order.
Holding on to hope, General Leia Organa and her brave Resistance believe that only the power of the Jedi has a chance at uniting the galaxy against this great threat.
But the Resistance has been exposed.
As the First Order speeds toward their vulnerable base, the fate of the galaxy rests on their escape…
-A galaxy in chaos! Both the evil FIRST ORDER and the brave RESISTANCE have been catastrophically decimated, each desperate to snuff out the other and fill the power vacuum left by the extinction of the Republic.(Noodle Flinger’s original opening paragraph)
-A galaxy in chaos! Both the evil FIRST ORDER and the shattered NEW REPUBLIC have been catastrophically decimated, each desperate to snuff out the other and fill the power vacuum left by the destruction of the Senate.
-each fighting for control of countless worlds and fill the power vacuum left by the destruction of the Senate.
-each fighting for control after the destruction of the Senate.
-each desperate to fill the power vacuum left by the destruction of the Senate.
-Believing that the Jedi are their key to victory, Resistance General Leia Organa lives in hope that her brother, Luke Skywalker, will return to reunite the galaxy against this great evil.
-uniting/reuniting the Republic against this rising evil.
-her loyal Resistance
-only the Jedi have a chance at
-base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape…
I should also note that I want to try to use the word “galaxy” only once in this crawl.
I like Noodle Flinger’s crawl because it reminds the audience that the First Order also suffered some losses in the last film. But the Resistance really didn’t lose anything besides a few X-Wings, so that’s why I listed a few alternatives to it. Regardless, do you thinking referring to that would still gel with the idea that First Order will be able to take over all the major systems within weeks, as Rey says to Luke? Genuinely curious on your thoughts.
I’m seeking any advice or opinions on the crawls or the alternatives I have listed. I’m not trying to set up a major story restructure or anything like that, I’m just trying to clarify and improve the political situation through the crawls. I’m also trying to have crawls that don’t necessarily contradict the canon if I can help it. The only exception being the stuff I mentioned about wanting the New Republic to not just be totally gone after the Hosnian Cataclysm. Because personally, I do think if the First Order just pressed one button and completely erased the Republic from existence, it makes the conflict in the OT slightly pointless, or at least undermined, if we’re right back at Rebels versus Empire. At least this way, the galaxy is in complete chaos and war has erupted all across the galaxy, which is pretty different from the OT scenario.
I don’t think any of these changes will contradict Episode IX, especially if there is going to be a time jump. But knowing us, we’re all probably going to make fan edits of the next film anyway!
PLEASE share any thoughts or opinions you might have, and thanks for reading this far. Any lines or phrases you liked the most? I would really like to figure out solid crawls for future edits so any notes would be appreciated.