Yeah, it even manages to subvert the fact that it’s a middle chapter, and that’s wonderful. I am so glad that there are few obvious paths forward in this galaxy, because that means that whatever comes next will be different than any previous Star Wars movie.
It could go anywhere, with any time jump. There’s room for our heroes to have years of adventures before facing the final chapter.
Han’s death thus only becomes a stepping stone for Kylo’s ascension to the throne.
And what’s the problem with that? Han’s death and Snoke’s death play two massively important roles for Kylo Ren. Two times in which he has an seemingly impossible choice to make but he ultimately chooses to “kill the past” and ascend further into the dark side. It is interesting and new, and both deaths are done very well. More than anything, the old characters should be there to serve as foils to our new character’s.