It's a new audience in a different world where sexuality, racial dynamics and the way we live are largely different than the '70s and '80s. Representation on-screen has to reflect that off the screen, especially in a galactic saga, and it's only fair directors tell stories that the franchise hasn't seen before. Sadly, if Abrams does that, fans will say he replicated Johnson's mistakes, but if he goes nostalgic again, he's either repeating his formula or backing down from haters and doing what they want (see: the opposite of Johnson).
As you can see, it'll always be a no-win scenario. Now, Abrams might be set to win fans over by returning Episode IX to its roots, as it has been billed as the Skywalker Saga. It'll curry the favor of fans who have been immersed in Star Wars for so long and make up for the new trilogy barely touching on the family -- even with the demise of Luke, the descent of Kylo Ren and General Leia Organa being a war hero.
But with Carrie Fisher passing, Abrams may have no choice but to move beyond that lineage, although we can still see Luke's Force Ghost aiding Rey and opposing Kylo to maintain that Skywalker presence. Still, you can't help but feel that the "let the past die. Kill it, if you have to" line Adam Driver made famous in The Last Jedi will be the philosophy moving forward.
It appears, however, that these fans want Abrams to stick with the Skywalkers, no matter if this approach comes off limited and boring. Focusing on the old guard, plus mending loose ends fans loved in The Force Awakens -- such as the Knights of Ren returning, doing a U-turn and making Rey's parents important or offering an origin for Snoke -- could be the key to appeasing those who found these points unforgivable in Johnson's movie. They may seem small, but they could go a long way.
Ultimately, for Abrams to carve out something satisfying, apart from a proper farewell to Luke and Leia, characters like Chewbacca, C3-PO and R2-D2 (who all have had diminished roles in the current trilogy), need to be phased out smartly. To boot, if he kills Lando the same way he killed Han Solo, expect fireworks online.
Ironically, just like the Force, Abrams has to achieve a balance, which'll involve giving the new stars -- Rey, Finn, Poe -- a workable and organic conclusion. We don't know if we'll be returning to any of them in the future, in later movies or Disney+, but as it stands, whether we like them or not, they're just as important to the Star Wars Universe. To make everyone content, Abrams has to mesh them well with the legacy characters. After two films, though, we see that's easier said than done. Only time will tell, but it's obvious dedicated fans will criticize Abrams for going either way.