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Who Came Up With the Brilliant Idea to Call May 4th Star Wars Day?

Over the years, May 4th has become known as Star Wars Day, thanks to a clever pun involving the franchise's most iconic line.

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This Tuesday is May 4th — otherwise known as Star Wars Day among many fans of the space-opera franchise. 

But how did this informal celebratory day come about?

According to Newsweek, much of the credit should be given to the London Evening News. On May 4, 1979, the newspaper congratulated Margaret Thatcher, who was then an aspiring prime minister candidate, for winning the UK parliamentary election. Two years following the release of the first Star Wars film (Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope), the publication decided to riff on one of the most notable lines in the movie: "May the force be with you." In welcoming Thatcher, the newspaper's headline instead read, "May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations."

Related: May the 4th Be With You: Quotes on Building an Empire From George Lucas

Though Newsweek admits that someone else might have come up with the pun before the Evening News did, it argues that the paper should be credited for popularizing it.

Interestingly enough, Star Wars creator George Lucas and his production company Lucasfilm largely stay away from officially promoting the festivities that take place every May 4th. Since Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, however, Newsweek points out that the Star Wars franchise has more actively embraced the faux holiday, organizing Star Wars-themed parties and events at its theme parks and releasing new Star Wars content on May 4th. Today, for example, The Bad Batch, the latest film in the franchise, will premiere on Disney Plus. 

Last month, the streaming service announced that it would celebrate Star Wars Day with a fan art takeover. It also released a special Star Wars Day release called The Force Awakens From a Nap, featuring popular Simpsons character Maggie Simpson. 

Justin Chan

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Justin Chan is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, he was a trending news editor at Verizon Media, where he covered entrepreneurship, lifestyle, pop culture, and tech. He was also an assistant web editor at Architectural Record, where he wrote on architecture, travel, and design. Chan has additionally written for Forbes, Reader's Digest, Time Out New YorkHuffPost, Complex, and Mic. He is a 2013 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where he studied magazine journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @jchan1109.