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

By Kara Santos Published May 04, 2021 12:58 pm Updated May 04, 2022 11:25 am

May 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 the commemorative 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 Wars Day back in 2011.

Festivities 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 of Star 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 to Star Wars, Disney World was the perfect place to celebrate Star Wars Day on May the 4th, with special events and themed snacks like Lightsaber Churros and Millennium Falcon Chocolate Pops.

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.

Last year, the streamer launched the animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, as part of the Star Wars franchise, acting as both a sequel to and spin-off from the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

What's in store for Star Wars Day 2022?

Various events are happening around the world to mark Star Wars Day 2022 including a temporary and free LEGO Star Wars exhibition at the Centre Culturel La Place in Paris organized by Xbox France, LEGO and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

While most Star Wars fans would love nothing more than to celebrate the day aboard the Galactic Starcruiser, there are various ways fans can transport themselves to a galaxy, far, far away while observing Star Wars Day at home.

Disney Plus subscribers can make the most of this day, with the many films and series about the space saga available on the streaming platform, including Star Wars episodes 1 to 8, The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, Star Wars Visions and more. 

To mark Star Wars Day 2022, Disney Plus is launching a brand-new series, Disney Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett, dropping on May 4. The behind-the-scenes special will focus on the making of the show about the legendary bounty hunter’s return to Tatooine with mercenary Fennec Chand.

The latest series Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor reprising his role from the Star Wars prequel trilogy alongside Hayden Christensen is set to stream on Disney Plus later this month on May 27.

Also dropping on May 4 is the first issue of the comic mini series Star Wars: Obi-Wan. The issue, published by Marvel Comics, was written by Christopher Cantwell and was illustrated by Ario Anindito.

Video game publishers are celebrating Star Wars Day with massive discounts and gaming deals on both modern and classic games on various platforms including PCs and consoles. Among these include Jedi Fallen Order, available 75 percent off, Star Wars Battlefront 2 for 80 percent off on stores, Star Wars Squadrons for 75 percent off, or even an "EA Triple Pack" including Jedi Fallen Order, Battlefront 2 and Squadrons for 70 percent off. Offers are only available from April 29 to May 10, 2022.

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