Over at twitchfilm.com Matt Brown has written an article called Destroy All Monsters: Stop JJ Abrams in which he argues that a Star Wars film focusing on the ageing characters of the original films would result in a well-meaning nostalgic wankfest that will ultimately end up as a crushing disappointment.
What the audience wants is to see Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo again. The problem is, that's impossible. Those characters are gone. They are a creation of celluloid well over thirty years ago. Without conducting the requisite thought experiments, though, the audience - and J.J. Abrams - will continue to "want" to see their heroes again, right up until the moment that they do. At which point, I think, a rather horrible collision between wants and needs will take place, right up there on the big screen.
I can't help but to think how rickety Ford was as Indiana Jones in Crystal Skull and how I kept thinking while watching, what a mistake it was to put him in that garb again. He didn't seem to fit that role anymore. Neither did Karen Allen. The fond memory clashed with the akward reality and Shia LeBeouf just made everything worse.
I am not saying it is impossible to pull this off. A great script can make everything right but those are rare. You do really end up risking turning off a younger audience who doesn't give a shit about those characters while simultaneously destroying the memories of those for whom those characters mean everything.
Let's just say I don't envy the person or persons writing this film. They are on the thinnest tightrope imaginable.