in a way, i can see why they went this route. If they did new stories, we'd be griping about everything having to be undone once the new movie hit. Similar to what happened to the old DC comics Star Trek series. They did tell new stories but then had to line the series back up with the latest movie coming out, which i remember people whining about.
This way, they can tell old stories but in a new way, without stepping on the toes of the next movie, especially with Orci there to help guide the book.