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The Controversy Over The Iconic 'Star Wars' Opening Title Crawl

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now for a galactic battle over design. A long time ago, in 1977, this music called viewers to a galaxy far, far away.

(SOUNDBITE OF "STAR WARS" THEME SONG)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And with that symphonic adrenaline rush came the famous Star Wars opening crawl - those soaring, yellow letters that drew us into a universe beyond our imaginations, the text scrolling out through an endless field of stars before disappearing into all eternity.

MARTIN: It was a time so long ago that Dan Perri, who designed that sequence, didn't use a computer.

DAN PERRI: We had to rig a camera that was on a track and rolled toward the artwork that was on a six-foot-long piece of cardboard.

MARTIN: It took him three painstaking months. He never imagined that the simple tilted text would become iconic and turn him into his own kind of "Star Wars" hero.

PERRI: Audiences just go nuts. They scream and yell. And people wait in long lines just to meet me and get my autograph and take a picture with me. And so it means a lot to them.

GREENE: And now we have the new "Star Wars" film, "Rogue One," a massive blockbuster. Rachel, have you seen it?

MARTIN: I haven't.

GREENE: OK, I have, and here's the rub. The lights dimmed in the theater. There was no crawl...

MARTIN: What?

GREENE: ...No letters. This was the first "Star Wars" film without it. I wasn't happy; neither was Perri.

PERRI: It's such an iconic image that it certainly should have been there. It's important to the hundreds of millions of people who will see it.

MARTIN: Perri says the filmmakers have made a big mistake if they wanted to keep the diehard fans, like David Greene, happy.

PERRI: It's a religious experience for them. They expect to see that.

MARTIN: Still, Perri is pleased his design has had such a long life, or so he hears. Of the eight films in the "Star Wars" franchise, he only ever saw the first one. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.