Box office worldwide grosses since 2015:
TFA - $2.068 billion
TLJ - $1.333 billion
TROS - $815 million
Rogue One - $1.056 billion
Solo - $392 million
Total revenue for those 5 films - $5.664 billion. Total budget for those 5 films - $1.285 billion. Profit - $4.379 billion. Value given to Lucas in exchange for Lucasfilm - $4.4 billion, with half that in cash, half in stocks. And the ticket revenue from TROS will easily keep climbing for a couple months at minimum.
I realize this is a total pipe dream, but I would love to know who *exactly* was pulling the strings for Disney here. There are names...JJ, Kennedy, Pablo, etc. that we can all tag and associate with the construction of the plot and the final product. But terms like "Disney meddling" and "corporate" beg for much deeper detail. Like who?
Who exactly felt they had the knowledge, the right and the judgment to alter significant parts of the final film? What was their reasoning and motivation? Did they really think appeasing Reylo fans with that kiss, at the cost of the most unnecessary and out-of-character moment of TROS, would work in their favor? Two women run a podcast called Skytalkers, and there are no two bigger Reylo fans than those two. TROS gave them exactly what they wanted, and since its release, those two have done nothing but openly mock, and throw shade, at TROS.
It's bizarre. And keep in mind, this is the same corporation that has produced The Mandalorian.
Who are the people/persons responsible for final cut? Final cut is usually a pretty strong negotiating point between a director and a studio. It's often a make-or-break detail for one side or the other. If Disney truly re-cut the film after JJ's final cut, JJ could very well have grounds for a breach-of-contract suit, one he'd likely win. Then again, as much as large companies jump through hoops to avoid lawsuits, it's hard to imagine anyone at Disney being that brazen.
I consider both JJ and Rian Johnson to be gifted storytellers and talented filmmakers.
I wish nothing but success for them both in the future, and I hope Star Wars benefits from their talents in the future.
The detail I just can't get past in all this is...what's the best story to tell post-ROJ that involves the Skywalker-Solo family? What's the next natural evolutionary direction for those characters? As someone who's education and professional career centers on writing and communication, I have a hard time composing a story that easily picks up where ROJ - that of the ultimate fairy tale happy ending - left off.
The most obvious answer to me is to follow Luke on a journey to re-establish the Jedi Order. There are plenty of story notes that could hit. Antagonists can be found in every corner. They don't necessarily need to be part of a Nazi-like oppressive government. Followers of the Sith lore - shown in shadow in TROS - could provide a nice natural enemy here, and something for Luke to play off of as he searches for students. That's a damn compelling story right there. Even Ben Solo's turn, the key catalyst in all of the ST, was virtually ignored by Disney until the newly released Rise of Kylo Ren comic. THAT was the best story to tell, and would have been ideally suited as the centerpiece of an Episode 7.
Part of Disney's challenge was in the natural aging of the 3 principle actors involved. Had Ep. 7-8-9 been filmed during the prequel era - 1997-2005 - they'd all be much more viable action-oriented characters and gives a storyteller many more options for where to steer those characters. But their hands were so tied because of how old - and sadly, the loss of Carrie Fisher - everyone was.