It feels like the Naruto fandom is just winding down now. Most old-school Naruto fans don't really care for Boruto, and I think that fans of Boruto don't hang in the same places. And nobody really cares about the novels.
Yeah, next gen had a shitty start with "Bolt" the little dipshit painting the monument like the far more justify Part 1 Naruto and "Salad" who basically just stalked him for an afternoon and infamously needs glasses. And Gaiden, remarkably, made things worse in almost every way.
Executives are in it to make money, not art, and often neither understand the artists or audience, nor care, as long as the money comes in (and no-one involved does something that offends them in some way). If the sequel series is bringing in more money than they're spending, they will keep making more, and if it isn't but some exec has his or her reputation riding on it, they'll keep burning yen on a sunk cost fallacy.
While true, nostalgia will be a thing in 10 to 15 years, we WILL see either a reboot or further continuation in our time, all continuations have proven that fact, and if Naruto is dying down is so slow that we will still see some more movies and arcs of Boruto, this horse still has a few miles to go
Honestly, while I feel like Hinata was the best 'fallback' I always felt like a random civilian outside of konoha would be the best. Wouldn't treat him like an idol, wouldn't treat him like a moron, or someone that needs policed/punished/etc, there wouldn't be any baggage from his childhood, wouldn't be any political issues, etc etc.
I really feel like they should have gone with someone who hadn't been obsessing over him for over 10 years. It doesn't send a good message to the female readers. Preferably someone who he'd actually spent a decent amount of time talking to, or had a healthier history with.
Naruto shipping is crap honestly, because he didn't really talk to anyone in canon save for crushing on Sakura, and realized in the end she never cared for him that way. The only other hint of romance outside movies was Hinata's confession.
That's pretty much it. Female charcters may as well have just been cardboard cutouts for as much development they got in the manga.
Always thought the movies and games were trying to not so subtle remind the author that romance was a thing and you know, maybe he shoudl look into it sometime. Ditto for developing fighting styles for characters who never really get to fight, like Ino. Hundreds of manga chapters and we still never got to see her in a full on brawl outside the exam.