The Atlantic has a bit about what George Lucas’ vision for what Star Wars: Episode VII might have entailed. The quote below appears to be attributed to the Vanity Fair Bruce Handy interview, but I don’t recall reading this in the interview or the cut segments for that matter:
[Abrams] said Lucas’s treatment had centered on very young characters—teenagers, Lucasfilm told me—which might have struck Disney executives as veering too close for comfort to The Phantom Menace and its 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker and 13-year-old Queen Amidala. “We’ve made some departures” from Lucas’s ideas, Kennedy conceded, but only in “exactly the way you would in any development process.”
The article is full of negative slights against George Lucas and it makes it hard to say how accurate and exacerbated certain aspects of Lucas’ treatment really were. They never stop to think that blaming a nine-year-old Jake Lloyd for things they didn’t like about The Phantom Menace is fairly inappropriate. I for one don’t think Amidala’s age in The Phantom Menace was a controversial moment, especially in comparison to Anakin being a child. I don’t see a connection between a nine-year-old in The Phantom Menace and teenagers in The Force Awakens being an issue. Both Rey and Finn really aren’t that far from teenagers in the film and the casting call still called for teenagers for the female parts.
The media that celebrates ripping the prequels to shreds will probably turn their sights onto the sequel trilogy after a little bit of times goes by and the hype dies down. Entertainment reporters forced to cover Star Wars when they aren’t interested in it will become colder and colder. Embracing this relationship and attempting to separate Star Wars from itself (the prequels from the original trilogy from the sequel trilogy) will surely bite everyone in the ass eventually.
As time moves on, hopefully we learn more about how different Lucas’ approach to the story was. I doubt it will be better or worse. Just different. We will also need to know what his ideas were for the second and third installments in the sequel trilogy to understand if they were very viable or not. At the end of the day, Lucas sold the project and moved on, so I don’t think there’s any reason to treat that territory as sacred either.