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.
Today 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 — like the 2021 premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, on Disney Plus.
In 2021, 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.
To celebrate May 4th, 2023, Disney is dropping exclusive merch and is premiering both Star Wars: Visions volume 2 and Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures will premiere on Disney+.