The 40th anniversary of ESB has made me start to wonder what the world would be like right now had we gotten Splinter of the Mind’s Eye as the film sequel to SW77 instead.
I like ESB in a vacuum (both as it’s own film as well as the middle chapter of the OT), but I feel that some of the rather dark story choices it made (mainly Vader being Luke’s father) is what set the franchise on a bad path in the long run. ESB turned SW from a space opera into a soap opera (or a “family saga,” as Lord Lucas likes to say it). And ever since then, people have been arguing about what SW should and shouldn’t be.
Splinter and anything afterwards would’ve been boring, sure, but at least we wouldn’t have cared so much, and the fandom at large wouldn’t have become so toxic.
ESB, despite being an absolutely GREAT movie on its own, put SW on an unreachable pedestal from that point onward. Ever since then, nobody can decide whether SW should keep “growing with its audience” or stay as a “kids thing.”
Sorry for ranting. Just wanted to get that out of my system!