Having hunkered down and written the text for an opening crawl, Johnson said he finally understood Lucas’ meaning. “That made a lot of sense to me, having gone through this,” he explained. “Not because you’re, like, getting poetic with it or whatever, but because every single word matters.”
It makes sense that the opening crawl would be a source of anxiety, given the importance of those words. It’s the first thing you see in most “Star Wars” films, and it sets the tone for what we’re about to experience. It’s also likely the first thing you ever saw in terms of “Star Wars.” That’s a lot of pressure. Johnson said:
“It was the very last piece of writing in the movie that we were working on. Literally like a few days before we had to give the movie up and say okay, we can’t touch it anymore, I was in there with the guys … we had our temp version of it in our graphics program, and we were tweaking the grammar and tweaking words in it … there’s no room for error in terms of it just flowing, you know, feeling right.”
Whatever you think of the film (I’ll weigh in and say it’s my favorite of the final trilogy), the care that went into those first words of the script is clear. There is something about that yellow text on a black background that makes the heart lift, no matter what comes after.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is currently streaming on Disney+.