sorry I’m just now responding to this!
I actually had a paragraph in my original draft of this that mentioned the 4,5,2,3,6 viewing order. I cut it out for the sake of length, but I’m a big advocate of that order myself. I think episodes 2&3, though admittedly flawed, are pretty underrated and contribute a super compelling background for the main trilogy.
However, I’m not so sure Luke’s teetering with the dark side necessarily damns him to fall into it. I’d say that those elements of the story just bolster the tension around his choice. I personally don’t see enough grounds to say with a sense of finality that Luke went to the dark side. (Especially not with how VII continues the story.) Certainly, there is a great case to be made that he wrestled with and even used dark force powers. But at the end of VI, after hacking away at Vader, Luke refuses to fight. He ultimately chooses a different path than Vader. I think that’s validated by Luke’s last conversation with Vader where Luke says, “I won’t leave you here. I’m going to save you.” To which Vader replies, “You already have.” I think that coupled with the apparitions of Yoda, Obi Wan, and Anakin in the last scene also seem to show that Luke is one with the force in the same way that they are, which I think, implies a leaning towards the light side judging from their affirmative nods.
Of course, I think the conflict is what makes Luke such a good and interesting character. His conflict is both internal and external. That internal battle though, like you’ve pointed out, does easily get overshadowed by the bias that the good guy is obviously going to be good. That machete order does a much better job of showing how it’s not that black-and-white.
Thanks for the response — that’s a really encouraging point when considering it all in the context of passing through the abyss or trying to make sense of one’s call. I think it’s vitally important to remember that everything isn’t always so cut-and-dry. And that God can write straight from crooked lines.
This is another article that is super good about the value and parallels in the new trilogy. It’s overwhelmingly long, but it’s worthwhile.
How George Lucas used an ancient technique called "ring composition" to reach a level of storytelling sophistication in…www.starwarsringtheory.com
And please do use it! I’d be happy to know it’s helping someone.