You are really bad at this whole film analysis thing, aren't you?
TFA and TLJ, TLJ in particular, are all about the Star Wars fandom and how it has mythologized the original trilogy. That's the metaphorical hook here. When Han says in TFA that, "It's real. All of it.", that's him talking straight to you, that's JJ Abrams telling you that, yes, everything you thought about how good the OT was and how magical it was is all real and justified.
TLJ is the next step. It's about how Star Wars has been better in our memory than it actually was in reality; it's telling you, straight up, that the magic of those films is still there, but it's futile to recreate it verbatim; You might end up in an okay place, but it will never be a good place again. You need to reinvent it, make it matter to you personally, in order for it to be actually good.
Have you considered the possibility that I thought about that, and thought this meta to be so short-sighted and stupid that it would mostly piss off everybody seeing the movie? "I have no clue how to do the stuff Lucas managed, and don't even want to try! Lower your expectations!" Yeah, good luck with that.
What the films are telling you is that this window dressing doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it's Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader and the Empire vs Luke, Leia and Han and the Rebellion or Snoke, Kylo Ren and the First Order vs Rey, Finn, Poe and the Resistance: There's always going to be fascists, and there's always going to be people brave enough to say ¡No pasarán! and stand up for themselves and everyone else.
If what hooks you into Star Wars are the worldbuilding aspects, yeah, then these new films aren't going to be for you, because Johnson thinks that characters and how they change and act is more interesting than figuring out exactly which school of Sith Snoke belonged to. And, let me be absolutely clear on this: The fact that these are open questions is JJ Abrams' fault. He could have provided answers, but chose not to, expecting someone else to actually do the heavy lifting and finish his thoughts for him instead of telling their own story. If you think what Johnson did was disrespectful, I think that what Abrams did was worse.
If it's about the window dressing, how about the further simplification: we drop the needless act of any space setting or any characters to begin with, and settle down to the realm of written text. How's this for the best seller, I reckon it's gonna be yuuuuge.
1) Good guys clash with bad guys and lose
2) Good guys regroup and clash again with bad guys, and win.
That's all. There, far more simpler and no window dressing. No need for fancy movie equipment or high paid actors! Clever, huh?
How many film scripts and concepts have you sold to Disney recently? I'm just asking because I am not sure that whatever experience you have is entirely transferable here.
No, not with Disney. I'm preparing my own book of my research and engineering field to be published in the near future. However, I do have some years of experience of selling certain R&D ideas to the top brass of certain international companies. And let me tell you, they typically are the easier audience to sell to. It's the R & D department that is usually a greater challenge, but also more fun. I don't see a reason why the setting would be any different in movie & entertainment industry.
Wait, are you under the impression that the films want you to think that Kylo Ren is an intimidating or even effective figure?
I mean, fair enough, people were thinking that the Prequels were trying to portrait the Jedi as good....
I thought Jedi were portrayed more as a police there, with a rather understandable degradation over the last 25 000 years. But the execution, oh the execution of the prequels... But humor me why would Snoke keep Rey around otherwise, if he isn't supposed to be even effective? To have a force sensitive pet to berate? Or to have a fall guy available if plans don't come to fruition? Ren isn't even good at lip service to stroke Snoke's ego, so he isn't even good as a yes-man. Although, yes, we probably haven't yet seen a mentally unstable emo that ends up killing his dad and nearly offing his mum so I guess that's a first.
As for Karajorma, I wasn't aware Rian Johnson had publicly complained about the backstory being unavailable for him. Unfair yes, but it doesn't matter in the end. That statement also means the story line was open and he HAD the time to fill in what he needed for the second installment. He could have left parts of it open. Instead he chose to wreck it all, invalidating the point of watching the first movie in the trilogy. Now this really is quite unprofessional and amateurish, and this in a series of movies famous for their continuity! Did he really even spare a second of thought to what it would do with respect to the general reception of the trilogy? Besides, what did Disney ask Abrams to do? Direct the first movie of a trilogy is one thing, but what does that contract say about the entire story line? If it wasn't part of his contract, there's your answer. And having seen enough corporate BS for my life time, I wouldn't be particularly surprised if this actually happened.
I have been in a situation where my senior colleagues screwed up a design of a system and barely managed to make it work in the end. I joined the project later, and was supposed to improve it with the assignment basically stating "make it better but don't change anything". Did I quit? No! I pulled it through, and the customer was quite happy about my performance and I got more work from them later. I do have to thank one of my senior colleagues for pointing out an obvious truth at one particular moment of despair: if I fail and make it worse, then what will happen is that it will be me who will be blamed more than the earlier screw ups. Funny thing is, the reality works in a way that the guy who fails after the first will absorb the blame from the first part. Understanding this is part of being a professional. You don't always get dealt with four aces in the hand, and you can't let that discourage you.
What I'm saying is what Rian Johnson did here is a very risky move, which, if it fails, can be career ending. He essentially becomes a quitter who couldn't. Second installment in the trilogy (I'd expect) would contain more of the plot weaving and character development. If Johnson is good in that, he pretty much got a blank slate to work with! And that's more what a writer usually gets in any series! But the result on the character development front is abysmal, with or without the background plot. Deal with the hooks as well as you can in the first ten minutes of the movie, and get on with it to make the rest of 1 h 50 minutes great would be the sensible choice. It was crucial to do the background development in the second movie of the trilogy, since the third one will not have enough time to handle it all, and it will also look very weird there. I don't think this mess is recoverable any more, and I wouldn't be particularly surprised if JJ Abrams threw in the towel here.
By the way, where does TFA state Luke became a hermit and ran away? I recall the opening text crawl said he has disappeared, but not much else. Having checked it today, the ending scene in TFA looks quite different in tone than how it continues in TLJ.