The story of Princess Luna has been among the fandom’s biggest headcanon sources from the very beginning—a sad story of a younger sister who went mad with jealousy and tried to plunge equestria into eternal night. An older sister who banished her to the moon for a whopping one thousand years. Some fans think Celestia is a liar—history is written by the winners. Some are wondering if there was more to the disagreement. Many are upset that Luna’s dream-watching ability, brought up in Sleepless In Ponyville, makes it seem like ponies sleeping through her night shouldn’t have been a big deal.
I think that Luna’s crisis was an existential one. It was the realization that she is ultimately unnecessary.
Ponies are meant to relish in their destinies. A happy pony will discover their destiny at a young age, and work to fulfill their place in society with satisfaction. But is every pony necessary? Are their destinies all helpful or even unique?
In Magical Mystery Cure, we saw that Ponyville needs a competent weather pony—that without Pinkie Pie, the town goes to shit—that only one pony can truly manage the apple farm—that the animals will only respond to Fluttershy. But you know, the absence of Rarity didn’t cause a city-wide fashion disaster. And how would things be without Twilight? Probably the way they were before she arrived. The only significant loss is that Winter Wrap Up will still be late every year.
I mean look at me. I’ve got an analysis cutie mark, and I make videos about MLP on the internet. What I contribute to society is great, but it isn’t necessary. Even though I do something unique that only I can do, my doing so isn’t really necessary. And there are plenty of people doing necessary jobs that anyone could do.
My point is this—when Princess Luna was banished to the moon, Equestria was just. Fine. Celestia controlled both the sun and the moon. Luna was completely forgotten about. No one cared.
This is Luna’s existential crisis. She spent her life doing a thankless job that she wasn’t even needed for, and instead of enjoying herself, she grew bitter and rebelled. She tried to leave her mark and bend the world to her will. And when she wouldn’t listen to reason, she was imprisoned.
Luna’s dream-walking ability poses some interesting questions. While she was on the moon, was there somepony else to fill this role? Did one or more dream-walking ponies emerge over the years? Or did Equestria suffer under their crippling nightmares, without even realizing it? Was Luna blind to her own usefulness and necessity?
These days, a lot of us wonder what we’d do without the internet. Will the next generation of Equestria wonder how the old generations made it through life without the guidance of Equestia’s Batman? And while we’re on this train of thought, will Twilight come to fulfill a similar role, bringing Equestria into the quad-princess Golden Age? I need to write a fanfic, don’t I?