Broom Kid said:
I believe the fault lies with Disney and the make-believe “Lucasfilm Story Group” that they created
I just want to say I really appreciate you giving such a measured take on the situation.
It’s Abrams’ fault. It’s his name on the movie, his name as producer, his name as writer. He made the movie. Acting like a larger plan would have stopped him from making a bad trilogy-ender doesn’t make any sort of logical sense (almost as little logical sense as saying the story group was “make believe,” or further, thinking the story group was anything but canon checkers for the creatives). He abandoned “the plan” TWICE when making TFA (both Lucas’ notes and then Arndt’s treatments) and it became a much-loved, well-reviewed success - the highest grossing (domestic) film in history (and likely will be for the foreseeable future).
The beginning third of TFA (The one with most of Arnd’s fingerprints) is widely considered to be the best part of that film, and the last third with the Starkiller (JJ’s invention) is widely seen as the weakest aspect. It’s also a film that only worked at the time because the audience was expecting answers to the mystery box questions, questions that were either abandoned or turned out to be blitheringly stupid.
There being “a plan” for The Rise of Skywalker wouldn’t have mattered one whit, because when he did get the chance to come back, he ignored HIS OWN PLANS (Rey Kenobi, Finn the Jedi, Stormtrooper rebellion) to pursue something completely different. And it didn’t work.
Which goes to show that JJ isn’t a guy with a plan. He generates concepts from the beginning of a story to its end, with most of those concepts withering away as new ones take their place.
Had Abrams made a good movie out of his new on the fly plans (like he did with TFA), none of us would be talking about plans, or “executive meddling” (he’s the executive doing the meddling at the behest of other executives, btw). But he made a bad movie, and now we’re all trying to figure out how it could have happened. But the truth is it happened because nobody bats a thousand. He’s made bad movies before, and he made a bad movie again, this time to end the sequel trilogy. The idea that Disney could have stopped that with a “well conceived plan” doesn’t make any sense. It’s wishful thinking. The dude doesn’t follow plans no matter where they come from, even if “Following the plan” were some surefire key to success, and it isn’t.
Every movie is a risk, and there isn’t some cheat code or safety net to prevent bad movies from coming out of the creative process. It takes work, talent, collaboration, skill, and luck. Every time. No matter what the plan is.
I just fundamentally disagree. I think that a script is important. If you hire subpar writers, you get subpar plans. The best part of TFA was Arndt’s and Kasdan’s involvement. But if you look at the rest of JJ’s filmography, you get the man himself, Kurtzman, Orci, and/or Terrio. This team has never made more than a merely competent film.