To many kids, Hondo is a known character. And they know Kylo Ren more than Darth Vader. These are the movies that this generation is growing up with. Disney isn't making a land for 40 year olds, they are making a land for kids and their parents. Disney has always aimed young for their core enticement. Its one of the reasons Alien Encounter didn't work because it was one of the few things not aimed at kids. My students are incredibly excited to see Kylo and Hondo. They love Po and can't wait to see his X-Wing. They are also incredibly excited to have their parents buy them pricey new lightsabers and merch. Disney isn't making the land to appeal to us, its making the land cool enough for all ages to enjoy but with characters and ideas the kids will recognize.This is what I find silly. Disney pays 4 billion for an existing story, so they can tell a new story. Then they base all their merchandise for the property off their new story. Why not just skip the buyout in the first place? Seems like a waste of 4 billion to me if you have no interest in using the most popular characters in the series.
It would be like Disney buying Marvel and making all of their films based off of new super heroes they created instead of the old ones. When people think of Star Wars they think of Chewie, C3P0, Darth Vader, Luke, Leia, and R2D2. These characters that Disney created have only been around 4 years and were not even in any films by the time when the land started planning. Hondo who is a character made for a children's cartoon (I had to look it up) is the big AA for the ride? I guarantee you no one in the crowd over the age of 10 knows who he is.
Only nerds are into the "Universe of Star Wars". I grew up loving Star Wars and had seen all the tapes multiple times and had a ton of the video games but never did I care about the "extended universe" which is what this area is. A movie's universe is a setting but the characters and their interactions are what make a movie interesting. A setting that is "based off the universe of Star Wars" doesn't hold much appeal to me. I am going for some of the merchandise and the rides.