Not Having An Overall Story In Place Or Using George Lucas’ Ideas
One would think that creating direct sequels to the most popular trilogy of movies of all time would be a slow and delicate process. It wouldn’t be something to take on unless a clear, and worthwhile story was in place that had a clear beginning and a cohesive middle that lead to a decisive ending. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen with the sequels. They decided to go with a telephone game type of style that let each writer pick up where the other left off.
JJ Abrams wrote the first episode, Rian Johnson the second, and then Abrams came back to finish things up with the third installment. While Abrams arguably does wrap everything together, he clearly retcons some things in The Last Jedi, which makes it obvious an overall story arch was not in place.
The biggest issues are Rey’s parents, Snoke, and the return of Palpatine. It’s Abrams’ own fault for leaving The Force Awakens open-ended. He wanted intrigue and mystery surrounding the character of Rey, even if deep down he always wanted her as Palpatine’s granddaughter. Rian Johnson made her come from nothing, and then Abrams changed it to his original vision. Again, while being clunky, the explanation in Rise of Skywalker works.
Snoke is a very similar situation. He’s introduced but not explained in the first chapter. He is then abruptly killed in the second chapter, and hastily explained in the third chapter. If an overall story was in place, bits and pieces could’ve been revealed about him instead of trying to backtrack and make his existence sensible.
The Emperor’s return is in the same boat. If he was going to be the big bad from the start, hints of this should’ve been planted in The Force Awakens. His entire return to life could’ve been the goal of Kylo Ren and his followers that could’ve been attempted all trilogy long with it eventually being accomplished in The Rise of Skywalker. Instead, the resurrection was clearly an idea that came in late in the process and was crammed into one film.
It is also surprising Disney didn’t listen to George Lucas’ original vision for the Sequel Trilogy. He had his own ideas about where he wanted his story to go, but Disney wanted something else. Sure George’s Prequel Trilogy wasn’t all that great, but one can’t say they aren’t original. If you are going to continue the story of the Skywalkers, one would think you’d want the man who created them to have some say in the final story. It is worth wondering if someday we will get George’s Episodes VII-IX, whether it be in comic form or some animated series.