The Rise Of Skywalker, desperately trying to course-correct The Last Jedi, ended up being the worst film in the entire Skywalker Saga.
Originally intended to be written and directed by Colin Trevorrow, JJ Abrams -- director of The Force Awakens -- took the helm after Disney fired Trevorrow, allegedly unhappy over the poor reception of his recent film, The Book Of Henry.
But, after the script for Trevorrow's tantalisingly titled Duel Of The Fates was leaked online, fans began speculating that he was in fact removed from the project for an entirely different reason.
Though the script would have had to undergo considerable changes before shooting -- a number of scenes centred around Carrie Fisher's General Leia would have been impossible to shoot after the late star's untimely passing -- the story just seemed superior to what we got in The Rise Of Skywalker, mainly because it didn't spend half its runtime retconning The Last Jedi.
Penned before the release of Episode VIII, Disney didn't know how that fated film would be received, and its divisive response must have shocked the studio. Not wanting to damage the franchise's legacy any further, Disney decided to play it safe by bringing JJ Abrams, master of nostalgia-fuelled pop adventures, back on board.
Jettisoning Trevorrow's vision of a true sequel to the most Marmite movie in the franchise, Disney attempted to please all fans (especially a vocal minority), and ended up with a mess of a movie that pleased no one at all. But oh, what could have been ...
10. It Actually Follows On From The Last Jedi
Love or hate The Last Jedi, it's impossible to deny that the worst way of making a trilogy is writing a final film which spends half its runtime contradicting and course-correcting the one that came immediately before.
Duel Of The Fates looks as though it would have been a proper sequel, rather than an exercise in revision and retconning.
As it stands, the version we got makes the Trilogy feel disorientating, and doesn't feel like a proper conclusion to the story.
While lots of criticism has been thrown at The Last Jedi for its handling of certain concepts, the majority of these decisions are rooted firmly in the events of The Force Awakens. After all, it was JJ who put Luke into exile on Ach-To, not Johnson; Episode VIII's writer and director simply had to flesh out a current reason why he went there in the first place.
Episode VII introduced a tonne of mystery boxes, which had been intended to generate intrigue but ultimately ended up plaguing the franchise. Johnson did his best to sweep these mysteries aside, opening up the sequels to follow its own story rather than simply retreading the story beats that had come before.
If The Force Awakens felt somewhat tacked on to Return Of The Jedi, The Rise Of Skywalker feels as though it awkwardly juts out of The Last Jedi, undoing most of its revelations while simultaneously trying to tell a trilogy's worth of stories at once. Seriously, Abrams should have resurrected Palpatine in the Trilogy's first film if he really ever wanted to have the Emperor back at all.
Duel Of The Fates took the baton from The Last Jedi and ran with it, unveiling a plot Episode VIII made seem inevitable. It followed the journey of Kylo Ren as he continued to rise in power, charting the true might of the new Supreme Leader. The Rise Of Skywalker gave us a movie which tried to be The Force Awakens and Return Of The Jedi at once.
Essentially a self-contained story which just happened to take place after The Last Jedi, The Rise Of Skywalker doesn't feel like a proper conclusion to the Sequel Trilogy, or the Skywalker Saga, at all.
Disney proper did you dirty, Trevorrow.