1843: Opening Crawl
Title text: Using a classic Timothy Zahn EU/Legends novel is bad enough, but at least the style and setting aren't too far off. If you really want to mess with people, try using Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
Each episodic Star Wars film begins with an "opening crawl" giving the audience some of the backstory, which often reads like the prologue of a novel.
Randall wants to reverse this by projecting the text of a Star Wars novel and see how long this can be continued before viewers realize it is a prank. The text in the opening scroll is actually from the beginning of the final book of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn.
The title text compares different Star Wars novels' style, remarking on how well suited they would be for this prank.
Timothy Zahn is a science fiction writer who has written and contributed to many novels and comics in the Star Wars expanded universe. The text in the comic is the first five paragraphs from the book The Last Command. The characters mentioned are Grand Admiral Thrawn, the primary antagonist of the Thrawn Trilogy, and Gilad Pellaeon, who serves as a Dr. Watson-type companion to Thrawn throughout much of the trilogy.
Splinter of the Mind's Eye was an early Star Wars novel written before the original film was expanded to a trilogy (and then expanded some more), so it contains multiple aborted subplots which can make it very confusing for a fan who has seen the later works.
The term "EU" refers to "Expanded Universe", which was the term for the corpus of non-cinematic Star Wars content before Star Wars was acquired by Disney. Not wanting to be constrained by previous canon, Disney declared all "Expanded Universe" content to be non-canonical to all future movies, and re-branded the EU as "Legends" to take place in its own alternate continuity.
For a very long time, fans believed that the Thrawn Trilogy would have constituted Star Wars VII to IX should the movie have been made and thus "before they figure out there's no movie coming after it" refers to both the mistaken belief of fans and the novelization as delivered through the opening crawl.
- [On a black background with many stars is five blocks of yellow text that recedes towards a black section at the back of the panel. The last block cannot be read, but it is (almost) possible to read the second block of text at the back. The bottom line of the last text block is cut off through the middle of the letters.]
- "All systems show battle ready, Admiral," the comm officer reported from the portside crew pit. "The task force is beginning to check in."
- "Very good, Lieutenant," Grand Admiral Thrawn nodded. "Inform me when all have done so. Captain Pellaeon?"
- "Sir?" Pellaeon said, searching his superior's face for the stress the Grand Admiral must be feeling. The stress he himself was certainly feeling. This was not just another tactical strike against the Rebellion, after all—not a minor shipping raid or even a complex but straightforward hit-and-fade against some insignificant planetary base. After nearly a month of frenzied preparations, Thrawn's master campaign for the Empire's final victory was about to be launched.
- But if the Grand Admiral was feeling any tension, he was keeping it to himself. "Begin the countdown," he told
- [Cut off through the middle and at the end]: Pellaeon, his voice as calm as if he were ordering
- [Caption beneath the panel:]
- Movie theater projection booth prank: see how many pages of a Star Wars novel you can get people to read before they figure out there's no movie coming after it.
- Some of the crawl in the comic is unreadable. But since this is text from a real book the full text can be found online.
- Here is what would have been readable up to this moment of the "film", if the text was crawling by:
Gliding through the blackness of deep space, the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera pointed its mighty arrowhead shape toward the dim star of its target system, three thousandths of a light-year away. And prepared itself for war.But if the Grand Admiral was feeling any tension, he was keeping it to himself. "Begin the countdown," he told Pellaeon, his voice as calm as if he were ordering dinner.
"All systems show battle ready, Admiral," the comm officer reported from the portside crew pit. "The task force is beginning to check in." "Very good, Lieutenant," Grand Admiral Thrawn nodded. "Inform me when all have done so. Captain Pellaeon?"
"Sir?" Pellaeon said, searching his superior's face for the stress the Grand Admiral must be feeling. The stress he himself was certainly feeling. This was not just another tactical strike against the Rebellion, after all—not a minor shipping raid or even a complex but straightforward hit-and-fade against some insignificant planetary base. After nearly a month of frenzied preparations, Thrawn's master campaign for the Empire's final victory was about to be launched.
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Rogue One has no opening crawl. 18.104.22.168 20:30, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
- It is also a Star Wars story, i.e. not a part of the trilogy of trilogies... --Kynde (talk) 20:41, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
I suspect I'm not only one who would prefer reading Heir to the Empire to watching The Force Awakens. -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:52, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, Splinter of the Mind's Eye also contains the first EU inconsistency, with it and a comic from that same year disagreeing about whether Luke can swim. Cool to see that referenced here. -- Tempystral (talk) 04:43, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
- Luke can only swim in tepid water. Hence the term, lukewarm. --Nialpxe, 2017. (Arguments welcome)
- Bada-bum, tss Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:07, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I think with this one, people would notice straight away. An opening crawl that starts off with something about the universe, or the political situation, would work. But I think from that quote, the first line describes direct action, so the audience would be thinking something's wrong before they get into reading it. Need one that starts with setting the scene. Also, you'd need a huge amount of space if you want to film more than a couple of pages. - 22.214.171.124 10:04, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
- I honestly wouldn't notice. Reading the first part of 'Thrawn Trilogy' (book whose text is shown here) I reckon I would think it's a new, artistic, 'spin' on the traditional summary. I would proceed to get lost in the storyline until one woke person starts yelling 'It isn't real! They're just showing us the text from a book!'. The incident will be filmed by multiple people and get 100,000 upvotes on reddit. Themanhimself11 (talk) 11:56, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
- They might be able to get away with the first line, although there would be some unrest. The moment the first quote shows up, though, is when most of the audience would be clued in. Of course, I wouldn't mind sitting down reading parts of a Star Wars book to a John Williams score. OldCorps (talk) 11:29, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I must say, I really like the TvTropes warning. Very useful. HisHighestMinion (talk) 10:30, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I doubt that the joke actually has anything to do with the old rumors about the Thrawn Trilogy being a source for VII-IX, the Thrawn Trilogy was more likely chosen both for it's longstanding popularity and it's stylistic similarities to the actual crawl texts. 126.96.36.199
The joke regarding Splinter in the Mind's Eye probably has less to do with differences in style and more to do with stuff like the Luke/Leia romance subplot in Splinter (obviously written before George Lucas decided to make them twins separated at birth) and similar inconsistencies which would confuse the daylights out of a modern fan.188.8.131.52
Why is the text provided in the Trivia? It's already in the transcript (making this the first transcript I actually read). The only difference is the first paragraph and the last word. And I say the first paragraph should be in the transcript. It might be completely illegible, but it is unquestionably visible in the comic. As for the proposal presented in the comic, I'd say that the first spoken word would give it away. :) The first paragraph fits in well for an opening crawl, but that's it.
And what's with TVTropes? Never been there, but all I ever hear / read is complaints, people requesting not to link to it, forbidding links to it, and now, lately on here, speaking of an automatic warning. From the looks of it, said warning makes the link not work on my iPad - I just see a thin underline - and I'm kind of afraid to check on a computer now, LOL! - NiceGuy1 184.108.40.206 12:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:12, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
- 609: Tab Explosion - 220.127.116.11 14:30, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
- Ah, thank you. LOL! Then I'm surprised people feel so strongly about the phenomenon as to require and generate warnings, :) - NiceGuy1 18.104.22.168 03:55, 8 June 2017 (UTC) So's this! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:12, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
If you're not careful, clicking on a TVTropes link can eat up the better part of your day after you go down the rabbit hole. It can be as addictive (or more!) as a Wikiwalk! --mwburden (talk) 17:49, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
- Oh, okay. Thanks for the clarification. I've seen that getting-sucked-in phenomenon identified for YouTube and Wikipedia, and have experienced it myself, but it seems extreme to actually warn of it, to the point of making it a part of the wiki, LOL! On YouTube it tends to be about weird videos, coining the phrase "I'm on the weird side of YouTube again." :) - NiceGuy1 22.214.171.124 03:55, 8 June 2017 (UTC) And this too! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:12, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
I spy a COPYRIGHT VIOLATION! 126.96.36.199 19:51, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
- When I first saw this I was tempted to ask "Huh? What? Where?". Then it clicked. LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:13, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
This sentence is incorrect; "The text in the opening scroll is actually from the beginning of Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn." Instead it should say, "The text in the opening scroll is actually from the beginning of the third volume of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn." This comic got the idea to re-re-read the trilogy again like a song you just can't get out of your head. I am almost finished with the first book and came back today to look at the comic again. I noticed that the text shown wasn't in the first book, so I went skimming the battles to find it and realized that it was from the start of the third book. - Kizarvexis Jun 30th, 2017
How would the music continue throughout the text, I wonder? 188.8.131.52 04:43, 29 January 2023 (UTC)
- It'd sound like an operetic overture, I suppose, apparently introducing snatches of the main themes that would 'later' appear in full. The envelope them would be seemlessly arranged with (for example, though I don't see how this would work with his "practically the first thing you read" textual appearance) a few chords of the Imperial March whenever Vader is the subject of the text, then if it recited a riposte by Luke then his sound-theme would intervene.
- One wonders if the other way of imagining this scroll-only film would be to get the soundtrack (music, only) of the 'real thing' (presupposing that there is one, scored and performed by John Williams et al, and the con-trick is being even more cruel to have had an actual film and yet still not show it, but this crawl-in-leiu) and write/edit the text you use as the crawl to key in with the existing sound cues... In fact, that sounds like a very doable thing that might not even be instantly detected by fans if presented correctly:
... During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, and space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy. The Corellian corvette made its way onward through the expanse of space, seemingly piercing the starscape in serene majesty, belying the power that its cluster of engines provided desperately for the purposes of its flight. For almost immediately behind it cames the vast and tapering bulk of the Star Destroyer, the spearhead of the Imperial forces, sending forth a barage of plasma fire as its city-worth of arms and armour was finally brought, by its own vast and powerful engines, to bear down upon its much smaller target. Within the corvette, the rush of armed personnel, to muster into assigned defensive locations spotted around the internal corridors of the hull, was punctuated by the sight of Princess Leia Organa, preparing herself and her droid attendants in relative calm, an eye within the storm. ...
- ...well, that's the transitional bit of text off the top of my head (my own composition following on from the true ending of that particular scrawl example). Could do with checking/re-editing for lengths/upping or downing or otherwise fedoing the floridity of the prose style, to taste, if it were to become the real (fake) thing... 184.108.40.206 10:18, 29 January 2023 (UTC)