This introduction surveys the prospects for developing a systematic comparative approach to Austronesian syntax and outlines the benefits of such an approach for syntactic theory. We begin with a brief overview of Austronesian languages, focusing on some typologically unusual aspects of their grammar, and the theoretical explanations that have been proposed for these features. We then survey the articles in the rest of this volume and the theoretical questions they address. A novel feature of this special issue is that each article is followed by a commentary by another Austronesian linguist which engages the same issues from a different perspective. The pairings of article and commentary should give readers a window into the study of Austronesian syntax and its current contributions to linguistic theory.