Following “May the fourth be with you” aka Star Wars Day, May 5 is also a holiday for Star Wars fans. The name comes from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Learn about the history and origins of the day here.
The Star Wars franchise, centered on a film series originally created by George Lucas, has had a resurgence of popularity recently with the release of the first installment of a sequel trilogy that began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens along with spin-off films like Rogue One. The franchise originally began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981). It was followed up by the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005 and that’s where Revenge of the Fifth gets its name from.
Learn about the history and origins of the Revenge of the Fifth below!
1. Its Development Comes From Star Wars Day, Which Started With British PM Margaret Thatcher
According to the Danish news DR TV, the pun was first acknowledged on May 4, 1979 by the London Evening News, who congratulated former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on her inauguration day by writing the headline “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie.”
At the time, the Star Wars franchise was about two years old.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died in April 2013, served as PM of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She is recognized as not only being the only woman to have ever held the title but also as the longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century as well. She was nicknamed as “the Iron Lady” due to her uncompromising, conservative politics. The nickname would later become the title of a 2011 biographical film about Thatcher, starring Meryl Streep in the title role.
After the clever coining of the day by the London Evening News, various celebrations were held for Star Wars Day around the globe. However, it was never officially recognized in the years to follow, even with the subsequent release of the two follow-ups to the inaugural Star Wars film.
The Empire Strikes Back was released a year after the phrase was coined on May 21, 1980.
Return of the Jedi came out three years later on May 25, 1983.
2. Toronto Held the First Organized Star Wars Day Celebration in 2011
The first organized Star Wars Day was on May 4, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Toronto Underground Cinema. It now has a Facebook page which advertises the annual event.
The inaugural day included trivia, a costume contest with celebrity judges, and other celebrations of all things Star Wars.
However, other places quickly replicated Toronto’s celebration and now there are many different locations of Star Wars Day celebrations every year, including an official Disney one.
3. Revenge of the Fifth Started in 2012
After the success of its inaugural organized celebration, fans started calling the following day Revenge of the Fifth the following year, according to MTV.
The celebration shares the date with the Americanized, Mexican holiday of “Cinco de Mayo.” While not a major holiday in Mexico, the date commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867), writes History.com. Typical celebrations include indulging in margaritas and tacos.
4. Disney First Officiated Star Wars Day in 2013
Disney purchased the film rights to Lucasfilm in late 2012, taking ownership of the lucrative franchise from its creator George Lucas. It quickly integrated the franchise into its theme parks, and since 2013, Disney Parks have celebrated the holiday festivities of Star Wars Day.
Disney is also working on Star Wars Land at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida. According to the Los Angeles Times, construction of both locations of the land began in April 2016. The land at each park will each encompass 14 acres, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
5. A New Film Comes Out This Year
Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi comes out in theaters on December 15, 2017. It follows Episode VII, which came out on December 18, 2015.
The new film will be the first Star Wars film to be released following the death of Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia Organa. Fisher died on December 27, 2016, following a medical emergency she suffered while on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
Following Fisher’s death, an official from Lucasfilm confirmed to TMZ that she had no scenes left to film for Episode VIII However, Fisher was expected to return for Episode IX and it is currently unclear how her death will affect the sequel trilogy’s original storyline.