Crawl space

Here’s the Phantom Menace’s opening crawl. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s the words that scroll up the screen at the beginning of the film to tee up the plot:

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….

It’s not easy to un-Trade Federation that, but I’ll give it a go. It also needs a re-jig for visual balance. You want three roughly equal-length paragraphs, I’d have thought.

Here’s a rough first stab at a Shadows of the Force rewrite (complete with deliberately-incorrect four-point ellipsis), hastily tapped out before I need to pick up LT from school:

These are dangerous times for the Republic. Sinister forces, wielding the power of the dark side, conspire to end centuries of peace and prosperity.

In the outer rim, deadly battleships have entered orbit around the beautiful planet of Naboo. Their official mission is diplomacy; their true purpose is war.

Working in secret, the Jedi Council and leaders of the Senate have dispatched Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi to maintain peace and justice in the galaxy….

There. It’s far from perfect and I’m sure I’ll tinker with it some more as and when I dive into the script. It deliberately foreshadows opening crawls of “later” episodes, which I think is fine.

It punts out some plot specifics (which will need to change anyway) in favour of just generally setting the mood, which I think should be “erk, here comes the dark side”. I think it partly. achieves that. Oh, and it namechecks Obi-Wan (with a promotion to Jedi Knight) so you know a beloved character will be in the thick of the action from the get-go. I may bin off Qui-Gon entirely – we’ll see.

And that’s it for now, really. Er. Goodbye!