Following the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many fans were excited to see the ways in which Star Wars: Episode IX would continue some of the narrative and thematic trajectories that film touched upon, resulting in some fans thinking Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams intentionally negated elements of its predecessor, though actor Greg Grunberg confirms that Abrams had nothing but positive things to say about writer/director Rian Johnson. While this might not change the fact that Abrams did follow a different path than some fans were expecting, Grunberg emphasized that it wasn't an intentional decision to negate The Last Jedi with any sort of malice towards that film or Johnson himself.
"I was shocked. This is part of Star Wars, which is finding conflict," Grunberg shared with The Hollywood Reporter of fans thinking Abrams actively attempted to contradict The Last Jedi. "People are going to make things up. I never heard one disparaging thing from J.J. about Rian. Rian is a brilliant storyteller and filmmaker. It's one of those things where if you pay attention to the film and engage with it, all it does is keep that story going. But, I'm glad you're asking me because I would absolutely tell you if there were moments here and there. And there weren't. There just absolutely weren't."
He added, "If anybody was going to try and dig that out of J.J., it'd be me. I wanted to work with Rian so badly, and it just didn't happen. So, I would be looking for any reason to go, 'Oh yeah, well,' but J.J. loves that guy. He loves how creative and how brilliant he is."
The nature of fandom and the release strategy of these films play a major part in the narratives some fans try to create, regardless of the intent of the creatives responsible for bringing the story to life.
In the two years after the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, audiences theorized about Supreme Leader Snoke's origins, only for those details to prove irrelevant when he was killed in The Last Jedi. That film also claimed that Rey didn't come from a famous lineage, a notion they believed for two years until The Rise of Skywalker revealed she was actually a descendant of Emperor Palpatine. However, now that the Skywalker Saga has concluded and the entire sequel trilogy can be witnessed as a cohesive narrative, there is less of an investment on the part of the viewer as well as fewer expectations.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently available on Digital HD and hits 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st.