I don’t really agree that TFA set up any of that, and I didn’t at the time either from 2015-2017.
I didn’t believe that Rey’s parents or Snoke were going to be connected to anything. At the time, I was downright confused why anyone thought it would be this big mysterious reveal, although in retrospect there was a lot of ancillary media that seemed to support that. TFA’s novelization has Kylo say “It is you” about Rey. But the Last Jedi is a sequel to the Force Awakens, not its novelization.
I don’t think TLJ contradicts TFA on Finn’s arc or on the political situation. Until TRoS came out, I expected the political situation post-TLJ to be more of a power vacuum than the First Order controlling everything, TLJ said the First Order was going out trying to conquer the galaxy, they didn’t say the First Order had the level of control that the Old Republic or the Empire had.
Hux’s role is the only main difference between TFA and TLJ I think is actually there, but it’s minor enough that I really wouldn’t call them disjointed because of it.
I don’t see how the Producer of the Last Jedi could’ve had little to no role in its development.
But the overarching story of the prequels has good bones.
If you keep stripping down the prequels, you’ll eventually get to a point where they sound good. But you can describe the Room as a heartbreaking tragedy of a man and his ex going through a nasty breakup, and that’s certainly in there, but it’s not the experience you get when you watch the movie.
You don’t have to strip the prequels down nearly as far as the Room. But Revenge of the Sith is not a heartbreaking Shakespearean tragedy yaddah yaddah yaddah, it’s a soulless cash grab where they took the backstory to the OT and played it absolutely straight as an arrow, with almost nothing new or interesting you can get from this movie that you couldn’t get from an exposition scene from the OT.
Attack of the Clones, the prequel which sounds best IMO when you strip it down, isn’t actually a thrilling adventure in where Obi-Wan uncovers a conspiracy to undermine civilization itself as Anakin and Padme fall in love while running for their lives. The conspiracy plot line doesn’t go anywhere and Anakin and Padme’s plot line gets dropped in favor of spending a surprisingly large portion of time showing Anakin and Padme sitting around doing pretty much nothing at all.
The Last Jedi is far more deserving of the “Good story, bad execution” title than the prequels. The Last Jedi has a compelling story about the legacy of the people and events of the Star Wars Trilogy, which is unfortunately undermined by bathos too much, but it’s still there.
The Force Awakens, I think it’s the weaker of the two, but because it doesn’t really have as much substance as the Last Jedi. Maybe that’s “Meh to okay story, good execution”. Maybe we can fault it for that, but the first movie in the other two trilogies were a lot less complex than the latter two movies, and they were both probably for the better for that. It was an enjoyable movie and the Last Jedi picked up the slack for it.
The Rise of Skywalker is the one that’s rotten to the core, fundamentally broken, but that’s its own fault. The first two sequel movies were coherent, and gave ample opportunity for 9 to be as cohesive, but that’s where they dropped the ball.
Speaking of which, one cool thing about 7 and 8 that was missing for 9 was the metanarrative about the IRL legacy of the OT told through the in-universe legacy of the OT. Pretty much everything interesting about 7 and 8 was dropped for 9.
If there was ever a sequel trilogy to Lord of the Rings
I don’t think the Star Wars Trilogy and Lord of the Rings are really comparable in this regard. The story of LotR is the culmination of history itself in-universe, but the Star Wars Trilogy feels relatively self-contained. The nature of sequels to either of them would be very different.