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.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.