While speaking with ET Canada, J.J. Abrams, the Director of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, discussed if the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi altered the plans for TROS in any fashion.
Abrams said, “The story that we started to conceive when we did The Force Awakens, it was allowed to continue. Episode VIII didn’t really derail anything that we were thinking about.”
Now that is a line many disgruntled fans may think is a load of bullshit, because they feel Rian Johnson took a blowtorch to all that they hold dear, and they expect J.J. to retcon the whole flick, but I tend to take him at his word. If you really parse what he said, there’s still room for him to massage certain plot points to his liking regardless of what went down in TLJ.
And he’s right, TLJ is a middle act in a three act play, so most of its plot points are still fluid and can be altered, enhanced, or scrapped altogether in TROS. Nothing is really written in stone outside of the deaths of Snoke and Luke, and I feel Snoke’s casual dismissal will be explained by the return of Palp, and Luke will of course be back and stronger than ever as a Force Ghost, so J.J. can still go in many directions with either narrative. In the end, Carrie Fisher’s death is the biggest cause of a narrative change in TROS anyway, so I do tend to believe Abrams when he says TLJ didn’t really alter his plans.
Although, I for one never liked the three different Directors and Writers approach to this trilogy, but based on what J.J. is saying, maybe, just maybe there has been some sort of general narrative direction for this trilogy after all. I think it was still way too loose, I mean they had to fire a guy over creative differences, but it sounds like what J.J. initially envisioned way back in TFA will still be allowed to carry through in TROS.
You can check out the interview below, which also features other cast members.