Man, you think it is but it isn’t.
The Neo-Empire, one of Han and Leia’s kids turning to the darkside, a young scavenger girl, a big superweapon, a new big bad, Luke in self-imposed exile, Han dying, these are all elements from George’s treatments for Episode 7. The broad strokes you are complaining about are from George Lucas.
The only thing I think you could complain about is how a lot of the designs are not that different from the OT, the X-Wings and TIE-fighters look pretty similar. Maybe George’s designs would’ve been a little weird, but with fans you can never win and people probably would have complained that it “didn’t feel like Star Wars” just like they did when the prequels came out.
The Sequel Trilogy continues the themes of family and love that the other films had. And actually, I think the Sequel trilogy is resolving issues that the Prequels had through the stories of Luke, Kylo Ren and Rey.
Luke recognized the flaws of the Jedi that the prequels introduced. And yes, we were meant to see the Jedi as flawed. By the end of the film, instead of thinking the Jedi need to disappear forever, he recognizes that the new generation has to learn from the mistakes of the old in order to grow into something better.
Rey and Kylo Ren’s relationship is the poetic inverse of the relationship between Anakin and Padme. It was romantic love that tore the galaxy apart, and I think it will be love between Rey and Ben that bring the galaxy back together. Just like how Anakin’s love for Padme damned him, his love for his son saved him.
I think these new films are truly building off what came before it.
They are implementing the Hero’s Journey made famous by Joseph Campbell, and they are using elements of Jungian philosophy to continue these stories. Things that Lucas used when developing the other films.
If you look at the Hero’s Journey, even though it is used heavily in film/literature today, most heroes don’t complete the entire cycle as Joseph Campbell has it listed in his work.
Luke ended his journey inROTJ around the Ultimate Boon, which is only the end of the second part of the cycle. Luke’s story in the Sequel films continue that off. Read this if you want to know more about it.
Looking at it this way, Luke’s story is really the perfect continuation of his journey. He’s now on the level of great heroes like Gilgamesh and King Arthur.
Luke, Rey, Kylo, all of their journeys reflect the archetypes created by Carl Jung in his life’s work, the ego, the Shadow, the anima/animus. Things that were heavy elements of the OT and the PT, now being continued in the ST. We also see the idea of the assimilation with the Shadow and Rey/Kylo Ren’s story. These archetypes can even be reflected with the political conflict in the new trilogy as well.
I just think you are looking at this new trilogy in a very surface level way, or have been watching to many of the toxic YouTubers who are stuck in a cyclical pattern that have to create videos for that community’s echo chamber. I’m not saying these movies are perfect, but these movies are thematically cohesive with the rest of the saga.
Empire vs Rebels 2.0 was not in Lucas’ story. Sorry.
And I don’t have sources on hand, but I’ve seen convincing arguments on TFN for Luke in TLJ not really jiving with Campbell.
The rest I just disagree with. Also Rey has less reason to fall for Kylo than Padme did Anakin, AKA basically none.