#4 – Change the Opening Crawl
First off, here’s the opening crawl text from The Force Awakens.
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….
If you were to make some changes to Starkiller Base, as I’ve already suggested, that might work really well. But if not, the opening crawl maybe focuses too much on the missing Luke plot and scuttles a BIG chance to situate us in this post-Return of the Jedi world.
One of the biggest questions a lot of fans had walking out of the theater was how the Republic related to the Resistance, and this line about, “With the support of the Republic,” is about the closest thing we get to an answer. When we last saw the Rebel Alliance, they were attacking the Death Star with a fleet of capital ships and many squadrons of starfighters. But when it comes time for the Resistance’s assault on Starkiller Base, a squadron of X-Wings are all they can seem to muster.
With some post-movie reading, it seems to be that the Republic and the First Order are the governments in charge of different portions of the galaxy, and that the Resistance is a guerilla unit hidden inside First Order controlled space. The opening crawls for Star Wars movies are deceptively hard to write because they’re so short, but it sure seems like the movie could have given us that information.
“Luke Skywalker has vanished. Without the last Jedi, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and now stands in opposition to the NEW REPUBLIC.
With the support of the Republic, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE hidden deep inside First Order space. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and end the First Order threat to the galaxy.
Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to the First Order planet of Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts….”
We still get everything we needed to know about the search for Luke and what’s going on at the start of the movie, but we also immediately know how all the important groups relate to one another. It’s a simple change, but one that fills us in on more essential information.