What’s really interesting is with Gareth Edwards and Lord/Miller, Disney really went down their throats. They had numerous reshoots because they were disappointed with the director’s vision.
With J.J. it was less obvious, but they surrounded him with so much “protection”- teaming him up with Kasdan, and constantly mentioning how they were trying to return to the OT as a subtle jab at the PT’s wackiness.
But here comes Rian Johnson, and Disney absolutely loves him. All through the documentaries for TLJ Kennedy goes on and on about Rian is perfect for the job and his vision is perfect for Star Wars. It’s bittersweet knowing what’s going to happen. One thing we can all agree on is TLJ was the most divise of the Disney SW movies- so it is surprising for the one where they have Rian the most creative freedom to be the one it turns out was most deserving of reshoots (to play it safe).
I know we’ve heard they planned the trilogy out, but TFA and TLJ really don’t play well with each other. TLJ feels like it is making a statement, for better or worse, that the derivative elements of TFA need to go. Maybe on paper that sounded good but in practice it really feels like Rian is changing all of J.J.’s plan. Hence why 9 seems more like a one-off movie (bringing back Palpatine) rather than a conclusion to a trilogy.
So much this.
JJ had “a map to Skywalker” as if Luke Skywalker were some static feature of a planetary landscape, rather than somebody who travelled to a specific destination for reasons unknown. Because giving any further detail might prohibit the other films in the series from having a free hand. But this makes the writing of TFA annoyingly vague, and leads the film to focus on more derivative elements, like Starkiller Base.
Rian saw Snoke (rightly) as derivative, and so killed him off. But he did so via a sudden assassination that conveyed his dislike for the very idea of the character. This retroactively casts TFA in a bad light for focusing on Snoke as a big threat, and also leaves unanswered the question of how & why that guy came to upend the GFFA.
Now JJ is back, and is scrambling to do something with Palpatine because he can’t use Snoke anymore. This back-and-forth is leading to successive films where the narrative elements are working against each other, rather than helping each other tell a grander saga.