The biggest complaint of the Force Awakens is that “it’s a cynical mass produced cash grab with no vision behind it that deserves to burn FOREVER!”. I would argue against that, but I would get off topic.
So, very intelligent man-person, if Disney knocked on your door and asked you to write Episode 7, what would you do?
Keep some things in mind. Originality is not ALWAYS a good thing. I’ve actually seen TV shows and movies get so focused on being original that they forget to make a good story! The prequels is one of them (just search up “star wars ring theory” on Google).
Kylo Ren, while his story is very similar to Darth Vader’s, is one of the greatest villains of all time and the best Star Wars villain. Trust me I’ve been around. I’ve swung with the best. The Joker, Michael Corleone, Norman Bates, even Darth Vader. Villains are measured by how they affect the characters around them. When Kylo Ren is created, it literally ruins the life of all of our heroes from the OT.
Kylo Ren is a villain that breaks all the rules of villain screenwriting and somehow does it right. He is not an all powerful force yet there somehow still a sense of danger. He is an angsty teenager that somehow does not make you want to rip your hair off and throw it through a wall. Angsty people are maybe the hardest type of character to write!
The beauty of that final lightsaber fight is that (at least for me) you care about all the characters in that fight. Even though he’s fresh from commiting one of the worst crimes imaginable, I still felt bad for Kylo Ren. The guy’s clearly confused, probably has mental problems, and has definetly been brainwashed. You ever heard of a villain like this?
Moral of the story, definetly keep Kylo Ren. His character is a combination of all the logical paths the main players of the original trilogy would take : Luke would train Jedi, Han and Leia would have a kid, and the Sith and the Empire would return one way or another. Kylo Ren also does not work without someone like Snoke : somebody to punish Kylo when he makes a mistake and to bring him to the dark side in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, he’s a very original character.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher are old. Come up with some younger new heroes (though not a 10 year old like Anakin in Episode 1).
The prequels are still canon, so any New Jedi Order is going to be an emotionless robot snooze-fest. Work around the prequels.
Avoid politics. The original trilogy is primarily based on the American Revolution, but there is ZERO talk of space taxes. It’s kept visual. From the first shot of the original Star Wars, we know what’s going on. The Empire is just made a lot more like the Nazis than the British (though there is plenty of Imperials with British accents).
WHAT I WOULD DO :
Finn would definetly be more prominent. I would go over his training with his squad a little more and give him more personality. You could even take some inspiration from the book “Lost Stars” and give him a love interest who stayed a stormtrooper.
Unnecesary similarities with Episode 4 would be out. No BB-8 or Poe Dameron. I would introduce the map to Luke by having Rey somehow scavenge the starmap to Luke on Jakku, which gives her more agency and cement her as the protagonist. There would be more unique worlds and new ship designs. Starkiller Base would stay though. How else can you make the First Order a big threat?
I would make it more obvious that Rey’s memory has been tampered with. I really like the theory that Rey was a student of Luke’s Jedi Academy that Kylo Ren could not kill (so he altered her memory to make her think that her parents left her on Jakku and not him).
I’d like for there to be a Grand-Admiral-Thrawn-esque droid that hates all organic life due to beibg discriminates against for so many years. In Episode 9, there can be a happy ending where droids get rights.