May The 4th

Star Wars Lego Minifigs standing on Canon camera

Happy Star Wars Day

We couldn’t resist a little photo opportunity for a day that brings many people much joy! Here’s a quick overview of the special day.

In 1977 a science fiction opera was created starring a bunch of fresh-faced actors and a movie villain played by both white and black actors at the same time. Something seemed special about this movie that turned into a trilogy, and then a saga over the following decades. It has inspired animals to be named after it, fan culture to become a celebrated event, and even charity groups.

The one day of the year you get to say ‘May the 4th be with you’ to anyone and everyone had an unlikely start. On 4 May 1979, Margaret Thatcher first took office as the UK Prime Minister. Her party included the headline “May the fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations.” in an article published the same day in The London Evening News.

After this the fandom took over and started to celebrate multiple conventions and screening parties were organised, a Star Wars Holiday Special was filmed (and only ever broadcast once), 10 follow up films, 2 television films about Ewoks, several cartoon series, books, comics, role playing games, board games, video games and so many toys you couldn’t count them.

Long before Marvel partnered with Disney, they produced comic lines about the exploits of the characters and side characters of the film franchises, the stars appeared with the Muppets, and have even been referenced in parodies of their roles in other films like Spaceballs.

The fans themselves have even become creators of films spawning a new form of fan fiction called Fan Films, these have been celebrated by the original Star Wars creator George Lucas. The most famous of these was a 1997 short film called Troops (Time magazine listed it as one of the Top 10 Star Wars fan films in August 2010). Since the film was first launched online it gained so much attention the cast and creators have been offered work within the official Star Wars projects.

Since 2013 Disney has celebrated May the 4th in their theme parks and through their online services, and special interest groups have been formed like the 501st Legion.

The 501st Legion was a group founded for fans to share their home crafted armour online, but through diligent management and promotion at conventions it grew into more than 14,000 members with an even larger base of affiliates spanning the entire globe. Lucasfilm has even incorporated the name “501st Legion” into their official canon with appearances in books, toys, cartoons and video games.

Share your ideas for pictures on May the 4th this year, or if you prefer to live on the Dark Side tell us about your Revenge of the 5th ideas.

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