The ST is about stopping their respective returns.
In the end, what that turned out to mean was “Kill Palpatine again because we didn’t do it last time.”
It’s still different from the OT. The “similarities” between ANH and TFA are also different. I’d rather take a natural progression of the story than just making the ST about some random shit with Snoke and Kylo Ren or Thrawn or Maul or the Yuuzhan Vong or whatever.
Thrawn as the villain would have made perfect sense as a natural progression for the post-RotJ era. Having a new Imperial leader emerge in the power vacuum, one who isn’t a Sith, who takes control of the shattered Empire makes perfect sense and wouldn’t undermine the OT.
Palpatine being secretly alive for the whole 30 year gap and having his pickled Snokes in jars is out of left field and is not a natural progression. It renders the OT irrelevant, and makes the Skywalkers irrelevant in their own saga. The fact that Palpatine canonically saw Vader’s betrayal coming and was prepared for it is ridiculous on its own.
Also, let’s not kid ourselves here. TFA is extremely derivative to the point of near plagiarism. The script was rushed out very quickly with the “soft reboot” approach in mind.
Having Thrawn would’ve made the ST disconnect from the PT and OT, unlike Palpatine. Stopping Palps’ return is a natural progression that lines up with the previous two trilogies and ties the saga together. Imagine if Voldemort was killed off in Book 5 and Snape took his role for the final two. There would be no consistent overarching villain. They wouldn’t feel like legitimate series finales to the other 5.
And no, Palps’ return isn’t out of left field. He has a desire for immortality, as established in Sith.
And no, Palps’ return does not ruin the OT. Anakin only did it to save Luke, and you’re somehow fine with it in Civil War, Logan and Infinity War.
And no, TFA is not a rehash of ANH. Yes, it takes similar elements, but that’s because it was necessary for the characters and story. For example, Starkiller is a way of showing that the FO is more advanced than the Empire. Kylo killing Han is different from Vader killing Kenobi - whereas Vader killed Kenobi specifically because he was a Jedi, Kylo killed Han because he didn’t want to be conflicted anymore but it didn’t work and traumatized him even more.
The fact that Palpatine canonically saw Vader’s betrayal coming and was prepared for it is ridiculous on its own.
By that logic, the Holdo maneuver is perfectly explained by the shield things or whatever in TLJ’s novelization. We’re judging the movies on their own merits.
That’s a little less compelling than the way you describe it.
Ah, yes, making sure that the personification of the metaphor for the current generation being affected by and facing the same struggles and battles as the previous one is gone once and for all is not compelling. Ah, yes, the new generation facing the same threats as before and defeating them in their own way or with the right lessons learned or whatever shit happens is not compelling.
Except what reason do we have to believe that Palpatine is gone for good this time? At least Dark Empire, for all its issues, bothered to explain how the heroes were able to prevent Palpatine’s return in future stories, ensuring that he could never come back to life. After TRoS, though, what is there to stop Palpatine from just possessing a new body somewhere else? Is he going to be like Sigma from Mega Man X and just keep coming back over and over again until it becomes comical?
Rey didn’t kill Palpatine in hatred. That’s the point. She even says as much earlier: “All you want for me is to hate. But I won’t. Not even you.”