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‘May the 4th Be with You,’ Star Wars Day explained

By Kara Santos Published May 04, 2021 12:58 pm

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know thatMay the 4th marks Star Wars Day, an informal commemorative day observed annually celebrating George Lucas’s Star Wars media franchise.

The observance originated from the obvious pun "May the Fourth be with you," a variation of the popular Jedi phrase catchphrase “May the Force be with you” from the Star Wars films, the originaly trilogy of which was released between 1977 and 1983.

Star Wars Day eventually evolved as a way for fans to pay tribute to the epic film franchise created by George Lucas.

Though they had nothing to do with the creation of thecommemorative day, Lucasfilm and parent company Disney have since embraced it as an annual celebration of all things related to Star Wars with special releases and events for fans.Lucasfilm even released an official marketing logo for Star WarsDay back in 2011.

Festiviities don't just fall on the 4th of May.The observance has carried over in the same spirit of the original catchphrase, for the "Revenge of the Fifth/Sixth" the following days.

Taking the pun a step further, May 5 evolved into “Revenge of the Fifth,” a play on Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, a day for fans to join the “dark side” and celebrate other villanous characters from the Star Wars films rather than Jedi.

Others choose to celebrate this one day later, on May 6, citing "Revenge of the Sixth" as a better wordplay on “Sith” while other refer to the 6th as "Return of the 6th" as a play on the trilogy aspect of the Star Wars films, and so as not to conflict with Cinco de Mayo.

How Star Wars Day is celebrated

According to a Danish national radio online news site, the phrase tied to Star Wars Day was first used May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the UK. Members of Thatcher’s Conservative party published a full-page advertisement in the London Evening News congratulating the new Prime Minister, which read: “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

Over the years, Star Wars geeks have celebrated the fandom in a variety of ways in social media and on television, usually in the form ofStar Wars movie marathons, and by cosplaying as their favorite characters from the franchise.

The first organized Star Wars Day events were held at the Toronto Underground Cinema on May 4, 2011. Sean Ward and Alice Quinn organized the celebration, which included an Original Trilogy Trivia Game Show; a celebrity judged costume contest and Star Wars tribute films and parodies screened.

On Star Wars Day 2015, astronauts in the International Space Station watched the Star Wars films.

The Walt Disney Company, which purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, has officially observed the holiday since 2013 with special Star Wars events on May 4 at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

With an entire land devoted toStar Wars, Disney World was the perfect place to celebrate Star WarsDay on May the 4th, with special events and themed snacks like Lightsaber Churros and Millennium Falcon Chocolate Pops.

Last year, on May the 4th 2020, the finale of The Clone Wars was made available on Disney Plus along with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and an eight-episode documentary series titled Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.

What's in store for Star Wars Day 2021?

While we still can't go out and celebrate with friends this year, there are still ways you can transport yourself to a galaxy, far, far away while observing Star Wars Day at home.

Lego just launched some new Star Wars builds in honor of the occasion, including an updated build of R2-D2, and Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets.

This year, Disney Plus is showcasing fresh artwork for the Skywalker Saga, spinoffs and shows on their site. Fan art is getting a Disney Plus showcase to mark Star Wars Day with the first showing up Friday on the streaming service's brand page.

The banner artwork by artist Zi Wu highlights the duality of good and evil, showcasing heroes and villains from the entire timeline.

Pieces from other artists will also appear on most of the Star Wars movie and show pages from May 4, Tuesday to May 9, Saturday.

The streamer is also launching a new animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, today, May 4.Theanimated series ispart of the Star Warsfranchise, acting as both a sequel to and spin-off from the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The show's premise follows Clone Force 99, also known as the Bad Batch—a group of elite clone troopers withgenetic mutations who take on daring mercenary missions in the aftermath of the Clone Wars.

StarWars.com has also revealed in-game giveaways, and discounts for both modern and classic Star Wars games includingthe next-gen release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,EA Star Wars Triple Bundle, and more.

May the 4th (and the Force) be with you always.

(Images via LucasFilm, Disney Plus)