no one could ever fully replace "our oracle for over 50 years"
I agree. The situation now will not allow for another Freddie-type figure. Fred's situation was unique. He lived at a time when he could read and study for hours at a time in isolation like some medieval monk and then appear and reveal his deep findings/insights largely unchallenged.
For one thing, the JW realm was more isolated and insulated from outside scrutiny then. Franz could write one of his "deep" books and JWs were awed by it as if it was beamed from Heaven. However, very few non-JWs ever saw it, and those who did and who criticized it had no good medium through which to communicate such a criticism. Also, the few JWs who felt that something was wrong had no effective way to find out that there were others like them and to communicate with such ones.
The internet and modern technology changed all that. Now, as soon as a new JW publication comes out, it's on the internet and immediately gets analyzed and criticized by many who have no fear or JWs and are not in the least intimidated by them or their GB.
Because of his oracle statue, it seems that even GB members were for the most part reluctant to challenge him. It's kind of like when a CO comes to a congregation, what he says usually is accepted unchallenged because of his position, even if some disagree or sense that something's wrong with what he says.
There were a number of factors that led to Fred's achieving the status of oracle within JWdom. He had some education, he evidently had some intellect, he lived at a time in history that was ripe for end-times prophecy, he was friends with Knorr, there was no internet, etc. The dynamics of the Knorr/Franz relationship contributed a lot. Knorr had power, but wasn't the scholarly type. He needed the nerdy Franz for that. Franz was perfect for the role. He was quieter, more private and socially awkward, nerdy, kind of odd, etc.; he just seemed to fit the description of what some picture when they think of oracles, gurus, geniuses, etc. Knorr and Franz needed each other; they complemented each other. Also, the power structure was different back then. At that time the Watchtower Society president was viewed as the boss. That was Knorr, but Franz was the oracle, and he had the backing of the boss, Knorr.
The power structure now is such that the president isn't even a member of the GB, and the last time I checked, was not even a partaker. Rule now is supposedly by the GB, who are all supposedly equal.
Time and internet exposure are more and more showing JW theology to be wrong, and JW history is being more exposed and analyzed than ever before. JWs will never again be able to teach the deeper, detailed, intricate stuff; they have to keep it simple now because they know they will torn to shreds if they try that deeper Franz -type stuff. The walls have come down; JWdom is no longer insulated and isolated from scrutiny and criticism.
Maybe one GB member will be a little stronger than the others; maybe there will be an alpha, but I just don't see how there could ever be another Freddie.