The Opening Sequence in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The Star Wars saga of movies isn’t short on memorable opening sequences. The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Last Jedi all boast stylistic and absorbing opening sequences. It is the franchise’s first, however, that probably remains its best.
The opening scene in ‘Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope’ is grand. It was George Lucas’ first intro into the science fiction franchise and apart from the now-famous bright yellow text in the opening crawl, which must have left audiences scratching their heads back in 1977, we are shortly afterward treated a Rebel ship passing by with an ominous Star Destroyer following in hot pursuit. The Tantive IV being relentlessly chased by the Star Destroyer.
John Williams’ score intensifies and we enter the small Rebel ship and its all-white interior. We meet C-3PO trying to maintain his balance as he worries about his fate with R2-D2. Suddenly, Rebel soldiers line the hallway with their guns pointed to a door. The rebels brace themselves for an imperial boarding party. Then, stormtroopers blast trough, clearing the hall and leaving a smokey haze behind. Movie history’s greatest heavy breathing villain enters the ship. Darth Vader’s emphatic and ominous entrance.
Darth Vader only inquires about Princess Leia’s whereabouts and during the moment of Darth Vader’s interrogation, the princess records a message onto R2-D2’s memory system before shipping the droid and his companion off to safety in an escape pod and setting in motion the entirety of the series.
This sequence is suspenseful, bedazzling, and scary all at once. It lay the foundations for the most famous science fiction franchise of all. Not a moment is wasted, every second establishes important character developments and gives the audience clues about who will be a vital part of the story moving forward.