In early May 2019, the California State Legislature voted to officially declare May 4 as “Star Wars Day,” because apparently just typing “May the 4th Be With You” on Twitter every year wasn’t enough for them. Oh yeah, and it was also because Disney’s billion-dollar park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was going to open at Disneyland later that month.
But obviously May 4th was known as Star Wars Day well before a bunch of assembly people decided to co-opt it in celebration of
an increase in Anaheim’s tax revenue a theme park. (If you don’t get it, then first, HOW??? And next, it’s a joke based on a line from the OG Star Wars flick, when General Dodonna tells the rebel fighters “Then man your ships! And may the Force be with you!”)
But when did this become a thing? According to Lucasfilm historian Lucas Seastrom, Star Wars Day has “no single point of origin […] no official commencement year, no formal dedication.” But weirdly, Seastrom does pin the earliest use of “May the 4th Be With You” to, uh, British politics.
On the Star Wars website, Seastrom wrote that on May 4, 1979 — the day that Margaret Thatcher took office as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — the London Evening News ran a full-page ad that read “May the Fourth be With You, Maggie. Congratulations!” (For reference, Star Wars was released less than two years earlier, on May 25, 1977.)
So there you go. Happy Star Wars Day to those who celebrate. And, uh, have a good Wednesday if you don’t.
Featured image courtesy of: Lucasfilm LTD.