See, I liked Chewie and Anakin dying in the NJO. It gave the series a much different feel, as mentioned several times in the books, it did away with the plot armor the character had all been walking around with. You can't have great drama if you KNOW that the main characters will always succeed.
I didn't even have any qualms about how they died. . . my only complaint is that Anakin had been being built up as the new hero of this story, and Lucas decided that, to avoid any confusion between Anakin Skywalker and Anakin Solo, Anakin Solo had to die. It feels like an insult to the audience's intelligence. Then again, given the exhibited intelligence I've seen from some of that audience, maybe Lucas had a point.