Does anyone here think that either one of these two things will happen in the next 10-30 years. Will the sequel trilogy receive more love in the next 10-30 years by the fans, or be more divisive, kind of like the prequels?
Well, they say ESB and RotJ were both divisive upon initial release, for different reasons, but are now just as loved as the original film (ESB much more so, for many).
The PT was in some ways a reversal; where people said they liked each film upon initial release, but then admitted shortly after that they were “blinded by the hype.” Then, over the course of a decade-and-a-half, those films went on to be universally disdained by the general public, along with a very vocal segment of the fanbase (that were mostly Generation X’ers that grew up with the OT). Now that Millennials are older and have more of a voice on the Internet, however, the PT is beginning to now develop more of a positive reputation, since many Millennials grew up with the PT and consider it to be “their Star Wars.”
Also, both Gen X’ers and Millennials now have the Disney films to compare them to, which aren’t necessarily “better” or “worse.” They just have “opposite problems,” so to speak. For instance, the PT is often criticized for being too different, too slow, too exposition-y, too much of one man’s unfiltered vision, etc. Whereas the Disney films are often criticized for being too similar, too fast, too “empty” (not enough exposition to explain the worldbuilding), too much of a “committee think tank” feel with no clear auteur leading the vision, etc. It’s all a matter of preference, really.
If we wanna break it down even more, Gen X’ers seem to forgive TFA’s derivative-ness more so than Millennials (from what I can tell). TLJ couldn’t “play it safe” again and couldn’t really integrate more of that PT feel for the Millennials since it had to work off of TFA, which established a very OT-like feel. So the only thing really left for the movie to do was burn it all down both literally (Resistance reduced to just a dozen people on the Falcon, “big bad” killed off one movie ahead of schedule, etc.) as well as figuratively (the tree burning, “let the past die,” etc.). So, unless you’re into deconstructionism, you’re probably not gonna be into TLJ, especially if you’re a Gen X’er who’s super-sensitive about “their Star Wars.”
I think for current generations, the ST’s longterm legacy will depend on how IX turns out. They could try to win back the Gen X’er’s by tying it full circle to the OT, or they could try to win over Millennials by tying it full circle to the PT somehow, or they could try as hard as they can to make everyone happy by tying it all full circle into both of the old eras in different literal and figurative ways. If they manage to pull something like this off, it might make most current haters feel that maybe the ST was worth it in the end after all. We’ll see, I guess.
…Or, if they really wanted to be bold, they can just forget about everything we once knew and fully embrace the idea of doing something completely different, but this would probably mostly only resonate with kids growing up on Star Wars right now and onward, and given the current state of the fandom, I don’t think that’s what Disney wants to do right now. Not anymore, at least. Maybe they were leaning that way back when Trevorrow was at the helm, but certainly not now.
With that being said, I think future films like the D&D series and the Johnson trilogy will look to aim more towards contemporary and future audiences (Gen Z and beyond). That same audience probably enjoys the ST also cause they’re growing up now on it, so that’s “their Star Wars.” So when they take over from Millennials in a decade or so as the primary voice of the Internet, the ST will develop a “retrospective love” type of relationship, much like the PT is now.
TLDR Version: Gen X’ers and Millennials will eventually phase out, and with them, so will a lot of the hate for the PT and ST, respectively.