Why May 4th is “Star Wars Day” – A Historical Explanation

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Every year, May 4th is known as “Star Wars Day,” a day celebrated by Star Wars fans and affiliates to honor the Star Wars series.

Why May 4th is Star Wars Day

The reason May 4th became “Star Wars Day” is due to a pun on the phrase “May the Force be with You” from the series and “May the Fourth,” referring to the date.

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What is “May the Force be with You”?

“May the Force be with You” is a classic farewell used primarily by Jedi in the Star Wars universe to wish someone good fortune through the power of the Force.

Yoda and Leia’s “May the Force be with You”
What is the Force?

According to the Star Wars official website, starwars.com, the Force is a mystical energy field that connects the galaxy. Individuals sensitive to the Force, such as Jedi and Sith, can use its power to levitate objects, manipulate minds, foresee events, and more.

The phrase “May the Force be with You” carries the wish that the power of the Force will bring good fortune to the recipient. Since Jedi can actually manipulate the Force and perceive its existence. It is thought to be different from the sense of praying in the real world. However, it is difficult for us to understand that feeling.

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History of “May the Force be with You”

Who First Used “May the Force be with You”?

In the film, “May the Force be with You” was first used by General Jan Dodonna, a non-Jedi character, during the briefing for the attack on the Death Star in the first movie, “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” released on May 25, 1977. He used it to wish the pilots good luck at the end of the meeting. Since then, it has become a common greeting mainly used between Jedi in the “Star Wars” series.

Of course, in the fictional world of “Star Wars,” the phrase “May the Force be with You” would have existed for a long time, so General Dodonna was not the first to use it in that context. Rather, the fact that a non-Jedi like General Dodonna used it shows how widely recognized it was even among the general populace.

Appearance in Real-World Media

In the real world, the first public use of the phrase was in an advertisement placed by the Conservative Party in the London Evening News on May 4, 1979, to congratulate Margaret Thatcher on becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The ad read, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

According to an article on starwars.com, Lucasfilm was producing “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” at their studio in London around this time, so they likely noticed the ad.

Even if this phrase first appeared in public on May 4, 1979, it’s a pun that any English speaker could come up with, so it’s likely that Star Wars fans had been using it since the movie’s release on May 25, 1977.

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Hillary Clinton also ended a debate between the three Democratic candidates during her presidential campaign in 2015 with “May the Force be with you.”

This debate took place on December 19, 2015, just one day after the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on December 18, 2015, which was the first new film in the series in ten years since “Revenge of the Sith.” Given the peak excitement around Star Wars at the time, it’s likely she incorporated the phrase into her speech to ride the wave of the franchise’s popularity.

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