Matt pays a visit to the galaxy far, far away:
I was watching Star Wars IV: A New Hope last night on television, and somehow it occurred to me for the first time that a new generation who watches the six movie cycle starting with The Phantom Menace is going to wind up with a very different perception of the story than the original audience got. This is true in terms of a few big plot points, like that whole thing about Darth Vader being Luke's father, but also in terms of some broader atmospheric points. The beginning A New Hope is cloaked in a sense of mystery. For all we know old Ben Kenobi really is just a crazy old man and Han Solo's skepticism about "hokey religions" is justified. The audience rides along with Luke throughout the film, learning to trust in the power of the Force. New audiences won't have that experience, they'll already know much much more than Luke does about the Jedi, the Empire, the Skywalker clan, etc.
Maybe this will be true of the general public, but I can promise you this much: In the Douthat household, the prequels don't exist - not now, and certainly not in a future where I'm charged with introducing a new generation to the Skywalker universe. Indeed, I intend to carefully vet all of my children's friends to ensure that there's absolutely no risk of a playdate or sleepover bringing them in contact, even fleetingly, with Jar Jar Binks, Count Dooku, the midichlorians and Padme Amidala, Queen of frickin' Naboo.