The Star Wars sequel trilogy is going to go down in cinematic history as a huge missed opportunity. Disney and Lucasfilm had the money, the talent, and the ambition, but made the bizarre decision to improvise their way through a movie trilogy rather than plan it out in advance.
The result was thematic whiplash between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, followed by a panicked retreat into nostalgia in the terrible The Rise of Skywalker. Now fans on r/StarWars are wondering if things would have been better if Lucasfilm had picked a single director for the trilogy.
Most agree, even if they’re neither a fan of J.J. Abrams nor Rian Johnson. Though they don’t say it’d have been “much better”, there’s a consensus story would at least have made more sense. This uneveness is identified as the main flaw in the trilogy, with a reply saying that it’s “inconsistency that verges on self-sabotage”.
Others argue that Rian Johnson’s take on Star Wars would likely be a lot less hated if he’d been given the entire trilogy to develop it. As a reply points out, “he wouldn’t have to rely so much on “subversions” and “deconstruction” because he could focus more on telling his own story”. We’re with them: The Last Jedi has a lot of interesting and necessary criticisms of Star Wars, but it doesn’t work as the sandwich filling between two thick slices of fan service.
It’s also pointed out that The Rise of Skywalker‘s flaws may stem from J.J. Abrams not expecting to be called back and his experience being colored by The Force Awakens’ difficult production. Whether he really wanted “the whole experience over and done with quickly and safely” is known only to him, though it’s clear that the big finale suffers from a crippling lack of confidence in the sequel trilogy story.
Let’s at least hope that Lucasfilm learned some hard lessons from how this all went down, and that if they embark on a future Star Wars trilogy they’ll at least map out the major plot beats for all three films and not try to wing it.