There’s a particular buzz of excitement when John Williams’s famous score strikes up and that Star Wars ‘opening crawl’ begins, so you can’t blame The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson for being a little nervous about getting it just right.
Those bright yellow words that scroll up the screen serve an important purpose: they set the scene, explaining what’s happened so far in the story and preparing fans for what they are about to see – and there’s only a certain amount of space to do it in. So how has Johnson tackled it?
“That was petri… Actually, you know, I just did it,” he told the LA Times. “I just started writing the draft. I wrote something, and it was terrible. And then I was watching one of the behind-the-scenes things and Lucas said, ‘It’s like writing a haiku.’
“I realised as I was refining it what he meant. We didn’t finish the opening crawl and totally lock it until a few weeks ago actually. Because you’re like, ‘Do we need this word, do we need that word, what if we shift…’ It’s like a poem, there’s very little room for error in trying to get it just right. Which is awesome, it’s really fun.”
So the crawl is all written and ready – but is there a phrase or word he has tried to sneak in?
“It would be funny if it was ‘poop,’” he said. “Which is a first for the ‘Star Wars’ universe. That’s the whole crawl, just the word ‘poop.’”
That sure would take the film in a cruder direction, contrasting with “It is a period of civil war” or “It is a dark time for the Rebellion”…
But answering seriously, he did reveal one important word from the crawl: “Decimated”.
Now the question is – is he using the word “decimated” in its more general sense (as in, killing or destroying a large proportion of a population/planet)?
Or is he referring to the word’s narrower historical definition, from Roman history: killing one in every ten people to punish a group?
And either way, could that group be the Jedi…?
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on 15th December 2017