If you’re not a Star Wars fan, you may have no idea what this means. I will enlighten you: it is a play on “May the force be with you,” the “live long and prosper” of the Star Wars saga. Yes, the Star Wars gurus have given fans an entire day for this phenomenon…so Happy Star Wars Day!
Wikipedia says (so we know it’s gotta be accurate–of course, there’s no sarcasm here) that this phrase was first uttered on May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the UK. Legend has it, the Conservative party, of which she was a member, placed an ad in The London Evening News which read, “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.” Please do not hold me accountable if this is not, in fact, a real thing.
The first (only in real-time chronology, not in order of the saga–but that is a very sensitive issue, is it not?) Star Wars film, simply called Star Wars at that time, not A New Hope, was released in 1977. I was a kid then. The local paper had a special showing for their carriers, which included moi. I confess, I was more interested in winning the ten-speed bicycle they were raffling off. Who would have imagined that this was the beginning of such a humungous franchise? I really regret not keeping those packages of Star Wars cards and stickers that came with gum. I can still remember trying to scrape the stickers off the back of my bedroom door. Pretty sure my brother had a pretty nifty collection of Star Wars stuff, too. I wonder whatever became of it?
In sixth grade, one of my classmates did an ‘interest talk’ (kind of like a glorified speech) on Star Wars. We all had to do an art project following it. I decided on a Jawa in pastels. Well, in hindsight, I may have reconsidered my choice as I was pinned with the moniker of ‘Jawa’ henceforth. The similarities were not lost on me: my name also began with ‘j’ and I was short (and perhaps a little on the stocky side). However, I did not appreciate the blank face, glowing eyes, creepy hood, squeaky voice or smell connection.
I remember also, the big deal of going to see The Empire Strikes Back (which, by the way, is my favourite episode, although the two latest would vie for that position) with my aunt and uncle at the premier University Theatre in Toronto which was, at one time, the largest cinema in Canada. They had reclining seats, a giant screen and a-state-of-the-art sound system. My aunt and uncle are awesome. They often took my brother and me on fun adventures.
Wikipedia continues to tell us that the first organized May the Fourth event also occurred in 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, this time at the Toronto Underground Cinema. Multitudinous activities were planned from costume contests to trivia games to a variety of tributes in film.
Obviously, once Disney bought the rights, their marketing geniuses have flooded us with all manner of Star Wars paraphernalia. And with it a renewed hype and hysteria. The masses are awaiting, with bated breath, for the next instalment in the Star Wars adventure.
Anyway, to say the members of my family are fans is a bit of an understatement. My kids grew up watching VHS tapes of the original trilogy and later dvd versions–though the extended edition was always a sore spot for my love. He is a purist. ‘This is how I remember it; don’t mess with it.’ The prequels elicited a much stronger response. For the longest time, he refused to watch them, but in the end, for the sake of his children, he relented. There was no ambiguity as to how he felt about it, though. They are not the REAL Star Wars. Having said that, he has thoroughly enjoyed the last two. I mean, even for a tag-along fan like me, they were pretty epic. Who didn’t cry while watching either The Force Awakens or Rogue One? I won’t mention the questionable side movies: The Star Wars Holiday Special, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, or Ewoks: The Battle for Endor for fear of inciting a riot.
Many a birthday, Christmas and celebration has revolved around Star Wars. Since we moved away, I’ve been sending little trinkets to the ‘kids’ for Star Wars Day. Unfortunately, I forgot this year and there will be no treats in the mail. I’m so sad. It’s such a fun little thing. Two years ago, I sent them these:
Most fans have used Admiral Ackbar’s, “It’s a trap” line. So I sent my kids a mouse trap that I painted with Ackbar’s fishy face. I made cards with an appropriate quote for each inside.
Last year, I couldn’t resist these Star Wars thumb wrestling books at Amazon:
Here are a couple of the other Star Wars-y things I’ve made for them:
My family has a plethora of Star Wars collectibles, toys, gadgets and gimmicks. There’s games: Star Wars Monopoly, Star Wars Catch Phrase, KOTOR, Battlefront, even a Star Wars version of the Angry Birds ‘board game’. There are bobble heads, Christmas ornaments, and masks. Books to read, draw, make thumbprint characters and thumb-wrestle. There are action figures, model ships and lego…oh so much lego. Kitchen accessories and small appliances. Blankets. Gingerbread houses and ice cube trays. Mugs and glasses and travel bottles. Ya. So from our family to yours,
“May the fourth be with you!”