Star Trek cheated the hell out of by doing its recast in a wholly different, new continuity and some fans still went nuclear over it.
LFL has spent a lot of time over the last 20 years successfully convincing a good few fans that everything was both canon and not. Disney continued with that too. The problem is that part of the fan base is too wedded to the idea for a divorce to be practical.
The reality is there’s no way to deliver a single product that would satisfy a fan base as diverse as SW, but does it follow from that that TFA - or TLJ - had to be the route taken? I don’t think so. I think it’s accepted that a new enemy by default means something went wrong, but the ST went pretty far with it by: Having the new Jedi killed off-screen, Han and Leia’s kid go bad, with a hinted backstory of them as abusive parents, though Kylo’s origin is so murky I don’t think anyone really knows save that Snoke also was involved(1), killing off the Republic off again.
(1) Some of the bits in the TLJ novelisation suggest a potentially good story of how Luke and Snoke crossed swords, probably over Ben. It needs a ton of development to work though.