We all knew there were more movies coming...Disney doesn't drop $4 billion for no reason.
I was excited when heard they were going to do VII, VIII, and IX as a continuation with the old characters. Then we found out their inclusion was simply a cynical way to get 40- and 50-somethings back in the theater. What surprises and bothers me the most is the contempt Disney has shown towards the old characters and the old fans once they got us there.
The gruff pirate who woos the princess? Sorry, didn't work out. Stuff happens. Oh, and his kid kills him, and he falls down a pit. The starry-eyed farm boy who grows into a mature, powerful Jedi and brings the second most evil guy in the galaxy back to the light, ridding the galaxy of tyranny? Yeah, sorry...that didn't work so well either. He ran away and hid. And oh yeah...we killed him too. His classic lightsaber he got from his old man via his mentor that we took the trouble to bring back? Broken in half. Yo boy Ackbar, who is completely insignificant but is for some reason a fan favorite? We brought him back for you! Psych! He's dead now too, zero fanfare. At this point I completely expect Chewbacca to get blown up in the Falcon with R2 and Threepio aboard, just to finish wiping the slate clean with a giant "Eff you."
It's been a positively spiteful treatment of the old characters. Unexpected? Sure, and I guess some view that as a positive. It would also have been unexpected if Leia left politics to sell Tupperware, or if Hux and the First Order burst into a Bollywood song-and-dance. Unexpected doesn't necessarily mean good story telling.
Disney probably should have just launched into stand-alones. Rogue One was well received. They also could have launched directly into a completely fresh trilogy like Rian Johnson is doing next. Even if that were to disappoint, there'd be far less kickback from fans. As it is, they've given us the worst of both worlds...brought the old characters back, and then treated them like shit to make way for the new.
Kylo Ren says "Let the past die. Kill it if you have to." The problem is, we didn't have to.