The opening introduction crawl words of every Star Wars movie… that has one…
The Star Wars introduction text or “opening crawl” is one of the first truly great things about Star Wars films. Since its first release, the yellow text has become an iconic font, copied by many others.
It's become an iconic part of the Star Wars lore.
Why The Star Wars Opening Crawl Is So Iconic
While not an original movie-making concept (Flash Gordon has that claim), it made the idea very popular and is these days expected as part of the opening of every Star Wars film. This should be no surprise to anyone who knows how many ideas George Lucas ‘borrowed' from films and media.
Many other works have sought to emulate or parody the concept of the opening words scroll, looking at you, Spaceballs. Each crawl's prologue gives a quick explanation of the most immediate events leading up to the start of the film.
While the text is crawling up the screen, John Williams' famous Star Wars theme is blasting its familiar notes, creating an attention-grabbing start to the film.
The font of the crawl is called News Gothic and has also become quite iconic and adopted by many designers.
Here's the opening text for each film. Note the animated Clone Wars shows directed by Dave Filoni did not have an intro word crawl, nor did Rogue One or the Solo prequel film (though it did have explanatory text).
Episode IV: A New Hope Introduction
“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, and space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy”
Trivia 1: Film director Brian De Palma convinced George Lucas to shorten the original text he had drafted.
Trivia 2: When Star Wars was first released in 1977, the crawl did not feature the text “A New Hope.” That came later after the film was a success.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Opener
“It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.
Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.
The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of spaceâ€¦.”
Episode VI: Return of The Jedi
“Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.
Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.
When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy…”
The Prequels Saga Films Crawl Text
The Prequel Trilogy also featured the Star Wars crawl and introduced many fans to the concept of there being tax in space…
Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Opening Crawl
“Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.
Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.
While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict….”
Episode II: Attack of The Clones
Here's the scroll:
“There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several thousand solar systems have declared their intentions to leave the Republic.
This separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.
Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Galactic Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi….”
Episode III: Revenge of The Sith Introduction
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
“War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku.
There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere. In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate.
As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive Chancellor…”
The Disney Prequel Saga Films Crawls
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Episode VII: The Force Awakens Crawl
This crawl was notable for revealing the title of the next sequel, The Last Jedi. Of course, no one knew this was the title at the time, but director Rian Johnson sure did!
“Luke Skywalker has vanished.
In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.
With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.
Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke's whereabouts . . . .”
It may be worth noting that the title of The Last Jedi was mentioned in The Force Awakens' crawl.
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Intro Text
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
“The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.
Only General Leia Organa's band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.
“But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape….”
Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker Opening Crawl
- Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
“The dead speak! The galaxy has heard a mysterious broadcast, a threat of REVENGE in the sinister voice of the late EMPEROR PALPATINE.
GENERAL LEIA ORGANA dispatches secret agents to gather intelligence, while REY, the last hope of the Jedi, trains for battle against the diabolical FIRST ORDER.
Meanwhile, Supreme Leader KYLO REN rages in search of the phantom Emperor, determined to destroy any threat to his power….”
Extra for Experts: Here are 501 facts about Star Wars movies. Number 333 will blow your mind!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The prequel film Rogue One does not feature a crawl at all. It's the first live-action Star Wars movie not to have the text (not counting the Ewok movies, Caravan of Courage or Battle for Endor, or The Clone Wars).
It does, however, show the traditional “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” line following the introduction to the Erso family.
Solo: A Star Wars Story Opening Text
Solo did not have an introduction crawl, but it did have this text displayed on the screen:
“It is a lawless time. Crime Syndicates compete for resources – food, medicine, and hyperfuel. On the shipbuilding planet of Corellia, the foul Lady Proxima forces runaways into a life of crime in exchange for shelter and protection. On these mean streets, a young man fights for survival, but yearns to fly among the stars…”