May the Fourth be with you: What is 'Star Wars' day?

May 4 is unofficially 'Star Wars' day, in which fans gather together to celebrate everything about the franchise. As you might have guessed, this particular date was chosen purely so that fans could say "May the Fourth be with you".

Origins of May the Fourth

Fans have been celebrating the day for quite some time - but where did it all begin? It's believed that the very first reference to 'May the Fourth be with you' was when Margaret Thatcher won the election, becoming the first female prime minister. To celebrate, her party took out an advert in the London Evening News which said: "May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations."

'Star Wars' day has become much more widely celebrated thanks to the birth of the internet, because it's easier for fans around the world to interact with each other. Now, even the likes of Walt Disney World Resort and Lego Land host special events to mark the occasion.

Other than the pun, why is it in May?

May is actually a very significant month for the 'Star Wars' franchise. The very first film, now known as 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope', was first released at the cinema on May 25, 1977. Every following 'Star Wars' film has since come out in May. Although weirdly, Episode VII won't follow suit and is instead set for a December release date. Father of the franchise, George Lucas, also happens to be born on May 14, 1944.

How do fans celebrate?

Everyone chooses to celebrate the day in different ways. Some might decide to watch all the films back to back, others play with their favourite Lego 'Star Wars' sets. Many fans even decide to get together with each other, dress up as their favourite characters and have a lightsaber battle. If they can't get together, they might send each other gifts or cards instead - homemade Death Star cookies are always bound to go down well with fellow Jedi.

'Star Wars: Episode VII'

After Lucasfilm sold the 'Star Wars' franchise to Disney, the studio announced a new trilogy of films would be on the way. Not much is known about 'Episode VII' yet, but the cast has just been announced. Famous faces such as Andy Serkis ('The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey') and Domhnall Gleeson ('About Time') will both be making an appearance.

However, all 'Star Wars' fans really care about is the fact most of the original cast will have a key role in the film. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are back to play the trio of heroes: Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Plus, the comedy pairing of Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker will be reprising their roles of C3PO and R2D2. Han Solo's best friend and favourite Wookie, Chewbacca, will return too, as Peter Mayhew will be donning his hairy costume again.

Now that you know what 'Star Wars' Day is, it's time to celebrate it. If you haven't seen the films, perhaps you should change that this weekend; that way you can join in and proudly proclaim: "May the fourth be with you!"

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