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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/{{Spaceballs}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_spaceballs_crawl_4395.jpg]]]]

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If you want to get your story's messy background out of the way as fast as possible but don't have the budget to shoot the background scenes for the OpeningMonologue, then your next best option is the simple yet elegant Opening Scroll.

As the name implies, this is a text scroll that passes over (or ''into'') the screen, supplying all relevant information with minimal impact on the movie's running time or budget. A variation is to have the text fade up and then fade down, but this is something that shouldn't go on for too long due to being terribly dull to watch.

Expect many examples to be an homage and/or parody of ''Film/StarWars'', which itself did so as homage to the [[Film/FlashGordonSerial Flash Gordon]] serials.

See also WarWasBeginning. Compare DictionaryOpening, OpeningMonologue, TitleIn.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Episode 2 of ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' uses one of these when [[OnceAnEpisode Koshi Rikdo gives permission to]] [[GenreShift turn Excel Saga into a sci-fi anime]], obviously as an homage to Star Wars.
* The Creator/DiC dub of ''Anime/SailorMoon'' added one of these: "From a far away place and time Earth's greatest adventure is about to begin" at the start of the show up until Jadeite's death in Episode 10 (three episodes in his arc were skipped) and Nephrite replacing him. After that, the scroll was abandoned, probably because Earth's greatest adventure had by then begun.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The [[TropeCodifier most famous example]] is undoubtedly ''Franchise/StarWars'', whose "into the screen" scroll spawned a thousand spoofs and imitators.
** Although ''Film/RogueOne'' notably averts it.
** ''Film/SoloAStarWarsStory'' also averts it, solidifying a precedent for the Anthology films to lack the scroll. The OpeningScroll is apparently only going to be used for the numbered Episodes of the Skywalker Saga.
* In the ''Star Wars'' spoof ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'', as the expository scroll is disappearing into the distance, a small line of text suddenly appears at the end: "If you can read this, you don't need glasses."
* In the ''Thumb Wars'' parody, the spacecraft involved in the opening battle sequence end up crashing into the text which of course is still floating through space ahead of them.
* The 1980 sci-fi spoof ''Galaxina'' opens like this for exposition rather than gags so it's not particularly funny. Much like the rest of the movie.
* Of course, ''Star Wars'' pilfered the idea from the movie serials ''ComicStrips/BuckRogers'' and ''[[Film/FlashGordonSerial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe]]'', dating respectively from 1939 and 1940.
* ''The Phantom Creeps'', a serial starring Creator/BelaLugosi as a MadScientist used the same fading away from camera opening crawl. [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 Joel Robinson]] riffed, "You sure Lucas was the first to do this?"
* Probably the worst filmic offender of all: Uwe Boll's film adaptation of ''Film/{{Alone in the Dark|2005}}'' delivered its entire backstory in a fade-in-fade-out series of title cards that took almost ''seven minutes'' of screen time; as warned above, it's dull enough to kill most viewers' enthusiasm for the film about ninety seconds in. If there's any enthusiasm left, it's shortly thereafter extinguished by the fact that it's an Creator/UweBoll movie. And the worse part? The opening crawl in the final movie was the ''improved'' version where they added a narrator to read the text out loud after test audiences complained that the opening was too wordy. And the ''worst'' part? The narrator ''is'' Creator/UweBoll. The combination of dry line reads and white-on-black title cards have been clocked at killing enthusiasm in 32.83 seconds.
* TheMovie of ''Film/AeonFlux'' inexplicably starts with the scroll, and then still has a monologue after it. We wouldn't get just one of them?
* ''Film/AirplaneIITheSequel'' has one that is slanted "into the screen" like the ''Star Wars'' one. However, it tells a story that's completely unrelated to the plot of the movie. It gets to the beginning of a sex scene right when a space shuttle [[NoFourthWall collides with the scrolling text]], causing it to disappear with a glass-breaking effect.
* The ''Film/JudgeDredd'' movie begins with a scroll that only adds background information for the setting.
* ''Film/TheMonsterSquad'' opens with a scroll about how Abraham Van Helsing, a hundred years before the story begins, gathered a band of freedom fighters to rid the world of vampires and monsters and save mankind from the forces of eternal evil. It ends with "They blew it." And then the opening scene shows us just how.
* ''Film/{{Scarface|1983}}'' opens with one of these, describing how Fidel Castro sent Cubans who wanted to join their families to the United States in 1980, along with the dregs of his jails.
* Similar to ''Film/AloneInTheDark2005'', ''Film/TheLastAirbender'' has an opening scroll narrated by Katara.
* ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie'' opens with an expository scroll about the backstory on the source of the Rangers' powers. The text is read by a female voice completely straight, making the whole thing sound even more ridiculous than it is already.
* ''Film/LeatherfaceTheTexasChainsawMassacreIII'' starts with a lengthy text scroll in an attempt to fill in the gaps between [[Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974 the first movie]] and [[Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre2 the sequel]] that apparently [[CanonDiscontinuity never happened.]]
* ''Film/BladeRunner'' has this accompanied by a very eerie ambience that makes the viewer feel appropriately uneasy.
** ''Film/BladeRunner2049'' swaps out the opening scroll for static text that slowly fades in, like a very creepy [=PowerPoint=] presentation.
* ''Film/LesMiserables2012'' opens with one, to clarify to non-French viewers that this movie is not about '''THE''' UsefulNotes/FrenchRevolution, but a later one.
* Each chapter of Film/TheGreenHornetSerials (after the first) opens with a scrolling summary of what went on in the previous chapter. But it ''had'' been a week since the audience saw that chapter.
* Being a movie about Star Wars fans, ''Film/{{Fanboys}}'' has two. One standard one in the beginning, the other during a [[MushroomSamba peyote trip]] that said "You are very, very, very, very high"
* ''Film/DrStrangelove'' opens with an opening scroll which was a basic disclaimer telling patrons that the film was a cautionary tale.
* ''Film/WarriorOfTheLostWorld'' actually has been released with at least two versions (in English) of the opening scroll: one that mimics the ''Star Wars'' into-the-screen scroll style (poorly) and [[EmphasizeEverything Emphasizes EVERYTHING!!!]]; and a straight vertical scroll that actually explains a bit more about the [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic setting]]. The former was used in its ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' presentation, to great comedic effect due to its marginal legibility:
-->''Opening scroll'': ALL GOVERNMENTS HAVE COLLAPSED!!!
-->'''Joel''' ''(reading)'': The gummy mints have colitis?

* The titular video game in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/OnlyYouCanSaveMankind'' has one of these, described at one point as "the bit that [the developers] stole from ''Franchise/StarWars''".

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* An OpeningScroll appeared at the start of ''Series/RedDwarf'' season three explaining a number of things that happened off-camera, including the (male) main character giving birth to twins, a bit character from the second season being recovered and added to the main cast, and Holly having a "head sex change". The bulk of the scroll, however, [[UnreadablyFastText passes so quickly that it can only be read via freeze-frame]]. The writers were planning to do an episode before this one tying up all the loose plots but couldn't make it funny enough, so they made do with a parody. The scroll also includes the bizarre phrase "The saga continuums..." which many fans take as an indication that the series from this point on follows an alternative continuity based on the novel ''Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers'', which changes several previous claims about Lister's background.
* ''Series/ThePretender'' opened every episode of its first two seasons with a cross between the OpeningMonologue and the fade-up version of the OpeningScroll.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' made a RunningGag of this in episode 25. The scroll would always begin, "In (year), (noun) lay in ruins," to introduce subjects such as Hungarians entering tobacco shops, UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, or TheEnd of the episode.
** Episode 15 provides the Spanish Inquisition with one that notes that the "violence, terror and torture" they unleashed make for "a smashing film."
** Episode 45 has an opening scroll for a Western which has nothing to do with any of the sketches.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' opens with a quick text scroll to refresh people's memories about "The Best of Both Worlds", just before they introduce Captain Sisko in the Battle of Wolf 359.
** Likewise, ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' starts off with a quick description of ''Deep Space Nine'' and the surrounding conflicts, providing the necessary groundwork before going off and doing its own thing. (First shot immediately after this: A small rebel ship flying away and trading fire with a much larger vessel. Hmmm...)
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' had one of these at the opening to "The Deadly Assassin".
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'': The Cylons were created by man. [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters They rebelled]]. [[MechanicalEvolution They evolved]]. [[{{Doppelganger}} There are many copies]]. [[BlatantLies And they have a plan.]]
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' opens with a static text screen giving one or two quotations from fictional literature.
* ''Series/{{Sharpe}}'' has short ones at the beginning of every episode introducing the year, the place, and the situation.
* The ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' episode "Letters of Transit" (season four, episode nineteen) has a brief opening scroll to explain [[spoiler:it's set in a canonical BadFuture where [[MysteriousWatcher the Observers]] have invaded the Earth]].

* Naturally, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtQb2axKpuw the cover]] of some ''Franchise/StarWars'' music that Music/LindseyStirling and Peter Hollens featured an opening scroll on half the screen, beginning, "Not long ago in a suburb...." It sets the scene for the song as part of YouTube's Geek Week.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* It should be no surprise that the various ''Franchise/StarWars'' games have opening scrolls.
** ''[[VideoGame/LEGOAdaptationGame Lego Star Wars]]'' has a "story so far" opening scroll for each level that also serves as a LoadingScreen.
** Averted in ''VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando''. Probably have something to do with DarkerAndEdgier.
** ''VideoGame/TIEFighter''[='s=] scroll, set to the Imperial March, makes a rather startling introduction to the game's PerspectiveFlip.
** Exaggerated in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'': not only does each of the game's eight classes have a unique introductory scroll, the loading screen when logging into the game contains a short blurb in the same style (mercifully non-scrolling) that summarizes the player's current class quest.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' opened with Ciel as the PursuedProtagonist. Future games in the series all started with text scrolls summarizing previous games and the events between games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Stargunner}}'', as befits a game where you fly through space blowing things up in your CoolShip, plays the disappearing-into-the-distance version straight until a small tongue-in-cheek twist at the end.
* ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity'' has a normal opening scroll, and a couple of humorous EasterEgg alternates. The sequel ''EV Override'' also uses one, but the third game ''EV Nova'' eschews it in favor of either a non-scrolling text box or up to four splashscreens, depending on the game files used. The open-source EVN clone ''VideoGame/{{Naev}}'' goes back to the opening scroll.
* ''VideoGame/LastScenario'' starts with a lengthy text-scroll explaining the backstory. [[spoiler:It's all lies.]]
* ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' uses one of these. Notable as the only game in the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' franchise to do so.
* All of the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' games use this during the opening. In the [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 first]], it explains humanity's entry into the galactic community, in the second, it summarizes the events and ramifications of what happened at the end of the first, and in the [[VideoGame/MassEffect3 third]], it describes the build-up to and beginnings of the Reaper invasion.
* ''VideoGame/DeadlyTowers'' has scrolling text at the beginning that details the game's ExcusePlot in a surprisingly verbose and well-written way. The game's ending is similar.
* The GameBoy version of ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'' has an opening scroll introduction, before the title screen.
* The Flash game ''Robot Wants Puppy'' (a sequel to ''Robot Wants Kitty'') opens with a scroll about rebels in the year [=20XX=] plotting to liberate Zeta Sector from the iron-tentacled rule of the tyrannical Morgox the Unborn, [[FakeOutOpening followed by the line "Meanwhile, in a completely different galaxy thousands of light years away,]] [[TitleDrop Robot wants puppy]]," then ''[[OverlyLongGag another message]]'' explaining that Morgox the Unborn has literal iron tentacles. Played straight in the third game in the trilogy, ''Robot Wants Fishy''.
%%* Some episodes of ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen''.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Karateka}}''
* Used in the intro of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' to describe how The Saints have [[VillainWithGoodPublicity risen to superstardom and built an entire media empire around gangbanging]].
* ''VideoGame/ImageFight II''
* Present in some versions of ''VideoGame/AnotherWorld''; in particular, the SNES port had a Star Wars-esque "into the screen" opening scroll (probably using Mode 7 graphics).
* ''Browning'', a UsefulNotes/PCEngine game by Creator/TelenetJapan, has a scroll in Japanese with a voiceover in English, even though the game was released in Japan only.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' puts its scrolling intro text at the end of the ActionPrologue.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIIIDraculasCurse'' scrolls through a series of prologue cards with sprocket holes down the sides.
* ''VideoGame/AirFortress'' begins with Engrish text ("On the planet 'Farmel', they had the gloriest days for two centuries, since the stardate had established...") scrolling down over a starfield.
* ''VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga'': The game itself averts this trope by placing the opening text ("In another time in another world...") on a static screen in AttractMode. However, a [[https://youtu.be/-lXV9eanpBY?t=1126 promotional video]] gives it the epic scrolling treatment, with a narrator reading the text in SurprisinglyGoodEnglish.
* Every ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' from ''I'' to ''VI'' has one. One was written for ''VII'' and remains in the demo version, but was excised for the final game, resulting in the [[LeaveTheCameraRunning notoriously extended blank shot of stars]] at the beginning of the opening FMV.
* ''VideoGame/BodyHarvest'': The game starts with an opening scroll explaining the AlienInvasion and TimeTravel themes.
* ''VideoGame/Gamer2'', a sequel to an unfinished short story, has an opening scroll which explains the plot to players who haven't read ''Gamer''.
* The NES bootleg version of ''[[VideoGame/ContraIIITheAlienWars Contra Spirits]]'' inexplicably adds to the original opening sequence this scrolling placeholder text:

[[folder:Web Original]]
* WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob uses these as a ''Franchise/StarWars'' homage in his reviews of ''Film/TheManWhoSavesTheWorld'' (also known as ''[[http://thecinemasnob.com/2009/10/07/turkish-star-wars.aspx Turkish Star Wars]]'') and ''The Tramps in Planet Wars'' (''[[http://thecinemasnob.com/2009/10/17/brazilian-star-wars.aspx Brazilian Star Wars]]''), where he writes up phony backstories to how the movies got made, complains about how much time he spent on finding video editing software that lets him do ''Film/StarWars''-esque text crawls, and [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] his own bullshit {{technobabble}}, wondering how George Lucas comes up with what to write in these crawls.
* WebVideo/CinemaSins adds a sin when this occurs, because "reading."
* ''WebVideo/JoueurDuGrenier'': A text scroll opens the ''Star Wars'' games review, naturally. With plot points actually calling back to the "Alpha V Gelga Nek" storyline from a previous episode.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ironically averted, of all places, in ''[[WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars The Clone Wars]]'' pilot movie, where it is instead replaced with an OpeningMonologue.
* The television show ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' episode "Return of the Snowball" has an opening scroll as a homage to ''Star Wars''. And one of the characters reads it, too.
* The ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuyPresentsLaughItUpFuzzball'' parodies this -- the second installment starts off normally, before BreakingTheFourthWall halfway through.
--> "Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have -- okay, you know what? I realize space is vast, but [[LampshadeHanging this scrolling text is still littering]]. I mean, somebody's gonna run into this thing eventually. Yeah, it might be a thousand years from now, but does that make it okay?"
* Naturally, the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' Star Wars Special includes one, which concludes by reminding viewers that it's not part of Star Wars canon.
* Parodied in one of the ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken Star Wars'' specials, where the opening crawl suddenly devolves into LeetSpeak.
* The third chapter of ''WesternAnimation/{{Wishology}}'' has [[IdiotHero Cosmo]] narrating it. He quickly runs out of things to say.