Viewing "Light" and "Dark" as the ONLY kind of balance is a rather narrow perspective.
Now, that having been said, I do prefer the idea that the Dark Side lives on after Palpatine's death, because it creates more interesting stories (sadly, most EU authors have told crappy stories about it.)
I wish the movies were more clear on the whole Dark-Side-as-cancer theme. As you point out, it would have made the extended universe more difficult to conceive, but it also would have made for less of the lazy logic that pervades the limited amount of EU content to which I've been exposed.
For instance, the main thing that bothers me about the KoTOR-verse (including, perhaps even especially within, SWTOR), is the frequent and nearly consequence-free switching between Fallen and Redeemed. Anakin is redeemed in the movies, but the huge cost of his fall (and his redemption, which he fails to survive) is exhaustively documented for the audience. He's also the only example.
In the games? Too often the Dark Side's influence is a transparent plot device, excusing the heinous acts of some characters when it's convenient. "You slaughtered 1,000 people, but it's ok because you're all better now.
" At other times, the Dark Side's (apparently) exculpatory properties are totally ignored for no obvious reason. The subtext is pretty unattractive when you think about it: the Jedi apparently have the (self-serving) authority to excuse their comrades for any bad act. In theory, you could have Jedi running around robbing people blind and they could resort to the Dark-side-made-me-do-it
defense. Johnny Cochran, eat your heart out.
In real life, if we had a class of super-human beings whose very source of power could at any moment make them homicidal maniacs, then they'd not only get locked up after they turned bad no matter what apologies they offer; we'd have a real dilemma about how to treat them even pre-corruption. In any case, it'd be a very
uncomfortable situation, a situation that the games don't adequately explore, IMO:
- Obviously there are inconsistencies in any story that the audience can and should overlook. I don't mean to say that the DS/LS plot quirks ruin the games, just that they represent one area of the story that cause a little cognitive dissonance. The idea that the movies describe a temporary abnormality
in the Force, induced by a great villain, makes sense to me. The idea that the Jedi are champions of a Force that can randomly turn you into Hitler (and back again) as a rule? Not so much.
* - A small added disclaimer: My criticism is limited to the games because they're the only EU material with which I'm immediately familiar. The last time I read an EU book was about twenty years ago (Zahn's first Thrawn trilogy). From what I've heard, I haven't missed much. The intent here isn't to single Bioware out. If anyone deserves blame here, I think it's George Lucas, for introducing the redemption theme without qualifying it in a plausible way before authorizing the production of countless movie-spin-off products.