If you’re a movie fan, then you know that modern American cinema is all about the franchise. The more movies and stars you can fit, the better. But every sequel means more story and more characters for audiences to remember. That’s why movies should have pre-credits scrolls. The device might be most closely associated with the Star Wars universe, but maybe the makers of The Fast and the Furious or the Marvel movies should start thinking about incorporating that nifty trick themselves. These are all films that require a recap, and what better way to do that then with a pre-credit scroll?
By the time you get to the third film in a franchise, no one knows what’s going on in the series anymore. And if you do, you don’t want to answer everyone else's questions. It’s better for fans' collective sanity if every movie that’s part of a franchise opens with some kind of pre-credit scroll that reminds viewers of any pertinent information. When it comes to movies that need a pre-credit scroll, exposition is welcome.
By the end of 2017, there will be 17 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU is more than just a franchise - it encompasses multiple series focusing on individual superheroes, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and more.
Keeping Marvel's events, heroes, and mystical objects straight from film to film is nearly impossible. What's more, movies in the MCU are meant to reward trivia nerds with easter eggs and obscure references. Rather than a pre-credits crawl, these movies might benefit from just showing bullet points covering character information, how they tie into the rest of the universe, and everything that happened previously in whatever iteration of a Marvel movie you're watching.
The Alien series has a certain cachet, thanks to the work of award-winning directors like Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But the films also go in seemingly bizarre directions - just look at how the spare horror of the original film somehow morphed into two Alien Vs. Predator movies.
The mythology connecting the Alien movies was thin at best: big slimy alien with acid blood gets on ship, bloody mayhem ensues. But then Ridley Scott returned to direct Prometheus and its follow-up, Alien: Covenant. Suddenly, audiences had to remember what exactly the Space Jockey was, and who made all those replicants in the previously unrelated film Blade Runner.
A pre-credits crawl sounds pretty good when you're tasked with explaining the Alien universe to a significant other who doesn't care about science fiction.
It's hard to believe at this point, but when The Fast and The Furious series started in 2001, it was about L.A. drag racers stealing TVs. Eight movies in and counting, the franchise is more about Vin Diesel outrunning submarines and Dwayne Johnson punching his way out of prison.
Sequels are about escalation: everything has to be bigger, longer, and in the case of this franchise, things have to be driven on exponentially more insane surfaces. If you think that you can skip a few of the Furious films and know what's going on, then you're going to be more lost than Dominic Toretto without his GPS. Characters are introduced, shuffled around, and switched from good to bad with blurring speed, and callbacks to movies that are more than a decade old can leave you in the dark. A pre-credits scroll that appears in the dust kicked up by screeching tires could help clue the audience in.
One theme park ride inspired five Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The films follow Johnny Depp's bewigged Captain Jack Sparrow, but from there the connections are as loose as they are insane: mermaids, zombie pirates, and krakens all appear at one point or another. Usually, everyone is after some random trinket, but mostly the films serve as an excuse for Depp to chew scenery and earn Disney money.
The Pirates franchise seems naturally suited to a pre-credits crawl. It could be written across an old-fashioned scroll, or perhaps a treasure map.