I was lucky enough to pick up the Final Orbit TPB when it came out.
Ellis definitely knew what he wanted to do from the first page - dumping half the cast, rearranging everything, and all the while swinging around to the idea that Stormwatch should go after the causes of superhuman terrorism, which is the real instigator of the conflict in Change or Die. And he's building towards that in smaller ways across those first few issues as well. The one where Stormwatch Black infiltrate the town, and the Synergy solo story are the first mention and appearance of
BlissWish, respectively, for example. And they're slap bang in the middle of Ellis figuring out his own voice. He had the message he wanted to send, he just hadn't quite figured out how to phrase it for that first six months.