Fans hoping that the new Star Wars films will in some way reflect the Expanded Universe canon developed over the decades in books, comics and video games will be disappointed to learn that Lawrence Kasdan, who will be writing a stand-alone Star Wars film, is throwing that all away. The LA Times talked to Kasdan, and they have a quote and a paraphrase from him:
[Kasdan isn't] focusing on his previous scripts or on the extended “Star Wars” universe in his approach to writing the new film.
“I’m trying to start fresh,” he said. “There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they’ve been missing, and we’re hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it’s all new.”
That's good news, since pretty much everything in the Expanded Universe is junk. And it's also good news because the promise of something new might mean Kasdan won't be trodding the same Small Universe grounds that have made the Star Wars films feel absolutely claustrophobic.
Another positive quote from Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, indicates that he gets why the Prequels sucked, and he'll be trying to avoid their pitfalls:
“The ones I worked on were a long time ago, and they had a slightly different feeling than the ones that followed,” he said. “The first three, ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Empire’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ are all sort of more about people than the ones that followed. ‘Empire’ appeals to people, I think, because it’s the second act of a three-act play, and everything sort of goes to hell during the movie. And when you leave, everyone is in trouble, and that is the best part of the story to write. And people responded to it. Irvin Kershner was a completely different kind of director than George, so the movie’s much darker than the first ‘Star Wars.’ It’s more edgy.”
That really sums it up - the Prequels aren't about people. They don't have the kind of characters we loved in the original trilogy. I don't know that Kasdan's recent output proves he can be the guy to deliver those kinds of characters, but knowing, as they say, is half the battle.