Why Solo doesn’t have a traditional Star Wars opening crawl

Director Ron Howard reveals the reasons behind the unusual replacement for one of Star Wars’ most familiar features

Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (LucasFilm, HF)

When Star Wars’ first spin-off Rogue One eschewed the franchise’s traditional opening crawl, fans expected the same treatment for fellow prequel Solo: A Star Wars story – but instead director Ron Howard delivered something a bit different.

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While there’s still no opening crawl, several blocks of text do follow the traditional “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” remaining static and in the same light blue font as that first message.

However, they are still written in the same style as the opening crawl, setting the scene of a galaxy crawling with corruption and criminal activity all propped up by the Empire, with key locations and other nouns CAPITALISED in the slightly grandiose way that the opening crawl always has.

In short, then, this is a compromise between the normal crawl and something a bit different – and according to director Ron Howard it took a while to settle on this unusual style.

“It was an ongoing discussion, and experiment, and we screened it for small audiences without the text, with the text,” Howard told RadioTimes.com in a video interview (above).

In the end, they settled on the version that appears in the finished film, after deciding it evoked the style of the classic 1970s heist movies that Solo somewhat resembled while also setting the scene for young Han’s story.

“We landed on that as a sort of… almost a 70s kind of a feel,” Howard recalled.

“The whole thing had a sort of aesthetic of a 70s movie. We can imagine a heist movie beginning that way, and explaining some of the things that the text explains.”

Going forward, we’re sure JJ Abrams’ Episode IX will be back to the traditional opening crawl – but beyond that, who knows what the future new trilogies and any other spin-offs might come up with to introduce their adventures? After all, the evolution of how Star Wars films are made only continues.

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Solo: A Star Wars story is in UK cinemas now