I'm no screenwriter, but I strongly disagree with the premise that the problems were introduced by TLJ or that it "dismantled TFA". Having rewatched/watched all three films within the last weeks, I can say that most of the most contentious points about TLJ were introduced by Abrams itself in TFA, or were even transposed from the OT. From Luke "vanishing" and living like a hermit, to Rey's background. As for Snoke being killed, I seriously fail to understand how is that a problem. It only sets up Kylo as a more powerful presence and sets the stage for him to be the main focus. Why do we need another "big bad"? IMO, TLJ opens up a lot more possibilities for the story to follow through, which makes some of the choices Abrams make in TROS all the more baffling.The Nameless One wrote: ↑Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:10 pmI fully understand that this operates on a spectrum, their are clearly exceptions to the math, but it's clear that the critical trajectory of TROS is a direct result of TLJ's reception - something shook Disney. The critical reception towards TROS points towards the problems TLJ introduced in terms of concluding this trilogy. TLJ dismantled TFA - like, what is Abrams supposed to do now that Johnson killed his big bad, Snoke? Revive Palpatine or whatever, lol. The big problem with TLJ is it was conclusive, and that's not the role of the fulcrum in a trilogy, there is not a lot of room for development past it's point so the writers of 3 are left with a monumental task of re-piecing the trilogy together in some cohesive manner. Combined with TLJ's overall, all things considered, reception, this equates to playing it safe as is the critics suggest. Nothing about TROS's reception surprises me, TLJ is an impossible movie to follow up, and I don't exactly consider this a fault of it as an individual thing... I'm fine with TLJ's anarchy... but it doesn't play nice with others
It's also worth noting the box office math. TLJ made significantly less than TFA, word of mouth obviously being a proponent to that. I'm sure Disney wasn't pleased with the receding returns.
Which leads me into my next point, and where I put most of the "blame", if we're to call it that. I'm seriously dumbfounded as to what was Disney's plan with this trilogy in terms of story. For a company so big and so apparently in control of their products, it's just inexplicable that they might give such free reign to their directors/writers without so much of a template or roadmap, a blueprint for the story and the characters. Sure, now that we have two Abrams-directed films with Rian Johnson stuck in the middle, his feels like the odd one out, but that wasn't the plan in the beginning. Where would've Colin Trevorrow taken the story if he had directed Episode IX? It's as if Disney wanted to give creative freedom to the filmmakers, only to pull the reigns after the fact. If TLJ was so contentious to their "plan", why did they greenlight it? Why didn't they rework the script, reshoot scenes, etc.? They did it with Rogue One and Solo. But no, it was only after the polarizing reactions started coming in that they decided to back down, and not commit to their already released product. In that aspect, I agree that TROS is a direct result of TLJ, or at least to the reaction to TLJ.
In the end, it all boils down to Abrams trying to go back to what he feels was the story he started in TFA (a story he wasn't meant to finish in the first place), but I really put the weight of the blame on how Disney handled the logistics of the whole trilogy to begin with.