I think they have to stick to a few tropes. Doesn't matter what the franchise is the fans will turn in you if they expect ABC and serve you XYZ.
No change is bad, so is blowing up the world.
If you want to get away from the Skywalker's a different era is a way to do it for original stories. The old republic era is popular dues to the KoToR games.
Several of the old EU characters pre Disney sometimes polled higher than OT characters. I think Thrawn beat Vader once in a poll. The holy Trinity of EU characters would be Thrawn, Mara Jade and HK-47 if I had to guess. Canderous and Jaina Solo would probably be up there as well.
I said previously I would have cherry picked the old EU, for new canon the KoToR era would have been part of it. Star Wars was making millions on years with no new movies and the EU was fueling it. That's a lot of disgruntled fans to PO.
The new characters can't win polls on Starwars.com lol.