Yeah, there was an opportunity with TFA to create likable new characters to take the torch from the old ones, but for some reason they tried to accelerate the process immediately and make a longterm problem, you can't keep running back the same old faces forever, into an immediate crisis. It's inexplicable to me they didn't error on the side of exploiting the shit out of Mark Hamill. Now they're purported new stars want nothing to do with it either... and nobody cares.
You know, the worst part is I actually think they did a great job casting Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and John Boyega in their respectives roles. If the writing and directing had been handled better the franchise could be soaring to new heights right now. Maybe it's like you said and they wanted to go too fast, but I also think at the core of it there's a problem of competence. Abrams just went for the "big feels" without caring about constructing a coherent storyline that would actually support a trilogy. Looking back, I have a newfound appreciation for the kind of reverence and care Peter Jackson showed with The Lord of the Rings.
This has always been the Star Wars EU's problem; the only civilian occupation/creed is smuggler or bounty hunter. I'm strangely fine with that on this program because it's just scrawling in the margins to give me the old school, low stakes Star Wars adventure of the week rather than rehashing the already settled SKYWALKER SAGA and Palpatine for the umpteenth and least interesting time, likely with disastrously bad results.
Personally I have as much investment in any of these characters as I had in Phasma (I had to look the name up). And I find the premise of baby Yoda nonsensical, but I don't care enough to be bothered by it.