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The Wright Opinion - May the 4th be with you
Seth Wright.jpg

Happy Star Wars week to all who celebrate. For those who don't quite know what I’m talking about, Star Wars fans have taken a bad pun and have turned it into an unofficial holiday of sorts that’s grown from its humble origins and is now recognized worldwide and has been embraced by corporate America.  The day is May 4 and it’s been deemed Star Wars Day because May the 4th be with you sounds a little like the iconic phrase, “May the Force be with you.” That’s right, that’s all it takes to give birth to a pseudo holiday when it involves a franchise as popular as Star Wars.

As someone who takes delight in writing sometimes cringe-worthy newspaper headlines, I appreciate the origin story of "May the 4th be with you." The phrase was first used publicly in the London Evening News on May 4, 1979, the day following the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister. Her political party bought an ad in the paper saying, “May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations.”

The phrase showed up sparingly a few more times in popular culture in the years following and eventually gave birth to a Facebook page celebrating “Luke Skywalker Day” on May 4.  In 2011, the first known organized celebration of Star Wars Day took place in Toronto, Canada at the Toronto Underground Cinema.

In 2013, Disney officially began embracing the day with special sales on Star Wars merchandise, special events at Disney theme parks and an additional focus on Star Wars movies and show premieres on Disney Plus. 

As a big Star Wars fan who has made my fandom known on social media, my in-box gets flooded with special Star Wars Day deals from a wide variety of companies, and the number of companies jumping onto  the momentum of Star Wars Day seems to grow every year. 

As you might be able to guess, as someone who has the opening crawl from A New Hope printed on my basement steps, Star Wars Day is a pretty big event at my house. I wear a different Star Wars shirt each day of the week of May 4 (yes, I have enough shirts for a week and then some) and my wife usually gets into the act too on Star Wars Day. I’ve won two different Star Wars Day trivia contests, one in Murfreesboro and one at Smooth Rapids. Depending on how things went last night after press time at Smooth Rapids, that number could be up to three. 

As if one day devoted to Star Wars isn’t enough, many fans also celebrate today, May 5, as “Revenge of the Fifth,” a reference to "Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith."

So if you’ve noticed and wondered about an up-tick in Star Wars-related content on social media and TV the last couple of days, hopefully I’ve cleared that mystery up for you. May the 4th be with you.

Standard Managing Editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191