Anakin Starkiller said:
Yes, there is a through-line, but Carrie Fisher’s death is irrelevant. Leia’s role in the trilogy has always been fairly minor, and her role in DotF could have easily been rewritten around the footage they had. Lucasfilm clearly had a problem with the script itself. I’m inclined to believe it’s the way it handled Kylo.
I don’t think Fisher’s death is irrelevant, There was a strong insistence on figuring out some way to keep her character in the story despite the fact the actor had died. I do agree the handling of Kylo was also a very big problem, but even bigger was the apparently not-up-for-debate guideline that you couldn’t write Leia out of the movie. It simply wasn’t an option. And it should have been. The movie was apparently begun (and re-begun) with Leia being responsible for whatever redemption Kylo was going to have. At no point did anyone even try to concieve of a story where Leia wasn’t in it, or that Kylo wasn’t redeemed. Removing huge, story-changing options like that from the storytelling process really hurt the movie’s potential.
On-topic: Has there been any discussion about moving the Chewie & the Boys chess scene to after Rey says “Rey Skywalker” but before she gets back on the ship? Because I still think that jump cut where the suns literally shift across the screen is not good. Unless that jump cut isn’t in the movie anymore (I haven’t seen the most recent workprint). I think you need a scene placed in there so it doesn’t look like a mistake in editing just occurred. Because that’s what it looks like now. I remember someone earlier saying “it suggests the passage of time” but it doesn’t really do that. It just looks like teleporting suns. That’s not suggesting anything clearly other than “we cut something out of here and didn’t put anything back.”