The origins of May the 4th

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Star Wars Day
Star Wars Day
Informal commemorative day for the Star Wars franchise
Observed by
Star Wars fans
May 4
Origin of Date
Pun "May the Fourth be with you", a play on the franchise's catchphrase "May the Force be with you"
The phrase "May the 4th be with you" was first used in 1978, one year after the release of the original Star Wars movie, according to a post by Lucasfilm historian Lucas Seastrom. However, the first official application of the phrase to the May 4th date came in 1979, when the U.K. Conservative Party paid for a newspaper advertisement saying "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations!" to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's election victory. Star Wars fans began celebrating May 4th more widely online over a decade ago, and the phrase "exploded ... and it kept growing" according to Steve Sansweet, former head of fan relations at Lucasfilm. The Walt Disney Company began officially recognizing the holiday after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012. While the date is now embraced as an annual Star Wars celebration by Lucasfilm and Disney, it did not originate from them. The pun "May the Fourth be with you" playing off the famous Star Wars line "May the Force be with you" led to the organic growth of the date as a fan holiday. The month of May also has other significance for Star Wars, with the original movie premiering on May 25, 1977 and creator George Lucas's birthday on May 14. So in summary, while the first recorded uses of the phrase date back to 1978 and 1979, Star Wars Day on May 4th grew into a major fan-driven celebration in the 2000s and 2010s before being officially embraced by Disney and Lucasfilm after their 2012 merger. The date's origins stem from wordplay on the famous Star Wars catchphrase rather than any official designation.
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