As I type this article on May 4th, 2022, businesses big and small are on social media to show off their Star Wars merchandise for ‘Star Wars Day’.
No matter where I go on the internet, I am inundated with all things Star Wars. Whether it’s advertising for rugs, clothes, sports bottles, local restaurant promotions; it seems like I can’t avoid it. I also noticed folks I follow on social media, coming out of the woodwork to share a picture of themselves wearing that one ‘Star Wars’ shirt they own.
May the 4th is that one event that everyone knows will be trending online, so they put out their Star Wars stuff on to try to get eyes on their business or profiles. It feels like everyone is doing it for the ‘likes’.
STAR WARS DAY
It’s the “holiday” that came out of nowhere and struck the internet like a Reek charging a Geonosian pillar. We all know why May the Fourth is a thing, but for those uninitiated, it just happens to sort of sound like “May the Force”.
Pretty clever, internet.
It seems to be something that came about over the course of the last five years or so. And every year, it gets under my skin. This has gotten so big that even news reporters seem to have been FORCED into celebrating it, as seen in a cringeworthy montage on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Fan Since Childhood
I have been a Star Wars fan for more than the past few years. In fact, I was born a mere three months before Star Wars was released in May 1977. As you can see, I have been a Star Wars fan my entire life.
From 1983 to 1999, there was very little new Star Wars content to latch onto. Sure, there were a few live action Ewok TV movies, a couple of cartoons and few books and video games, but The Dark Times, as they came to be known, was a trying time for a kid who was a fan of the franchise. I had nothing to comfort me, but a few toys and my VHS copies of the original trilogy. And even worse, they were the pan and scan version.
The good thing about the VHS tapes was that they contained information on the box about how much the films made at the box office, who directed them, a brief synopsis of the film and most importantly, the release dates. Star Wars and Jedi (which is how I referred to those films), both came out on May 25th of 1977 & 1983 respectively. Empire came out on May 21st.
My ‘STAR WARS DAY’
Since this was all before the age of social media, there weren’t a lot of folks to talk Star Wars with. I felt like a kid on his own in a world without Star Wars. So, I had taken it upon myself to create a day to celebrate Star Wars. That day would be May 25th. My ‘Star Wars Day’.
For the last few decades, I would celebrate by watching the films every May 25th. The date was so important to me, that I launched my Star Wars podcast (Live Action Star Wars) on it. As you can imagine, I was over the moon when I found out that SOLO: A Star Wars Story was going to be released on May 25, 2018. Then, it was announced that the brand new Obi-Wan Kenobi show was going to premier on May 25th, 2022 aka My ‘Star Wars’ 45th anniversary! It was nice to see that Lucasfilm still celebrated Star Wars on the day that meant so much to me for decades.
But then came the second announcement that Kenobi would be moved to May 27th. Well, that kind of sucks. I really liked that the character returned exactly 45 years after he had premiered on the big screen.
Tradition killed for a trend?
Wow, Lucasfilm and Disney really did it this time. How dare they? I realized that they started doing all of their announcements, toy reveals and the Kenobi trailer release on May the 4th.
The more I write about May the 4th, the more I get worked up. How dare Lucasfilm, Disney and all these other corporate entities disrespect May 25th? How can they just decide that this “punny” May the Fourth thing be the day they latch onto?
It’s complete and udder Bantha poodoo.
Screw the corporate machine for taking away my day! It feels like another Hallmark holiday cash grab for everyone involved. I just don’t like it. It makes me mad. I want to go on the internet and scream at every single Instagram influencer in an Ahsoka Tano shirt. I also want to shout at all of these kids on my lawn and tell them to keep their trending garbage out of my Star Wars!
But here’s the thing.
They are actually enjoying the day, and celebrating Star Wars. They are happy. The general public may not have Star Wars on the brain every day like I do, but there is this fun date to look forward to, and remind themselves how Star Wars still brings has the ability to bring joy.
A Plethora of Star Wars
I spent my entire childhood looking anywhere for a Star Wars fan to call my friend. It was impossible in a world where there was no new Star Wars content or social media. Since 1999, we have 8 films, three live action television series, several animated shows, video games, books, comics, toys, adult collectables and so much more!
There is so much Star Wars out there to ingest. In fact there may be too much. And with that much content, it’s impossible to like it all. Not all of it is for everyone. There’s no way it can be for everyone. A Star Wars Resistance fan may not care for The Last Jedi, while a Rise of Skywalker fan might hate Jedi Temple Challenge. There is just too much out there for all of us to agree with. So maybe I do hate “May the Fourth”. So what? But it doesn’t mean I have to get worked up about it. It’s just one day. I should just let them have their fun, because I know that there will be another Star Wars thing around the corner within a few months that I can’t wait to participate in.
Take Your Pick
The point is, even though you may not like a specific Star Wars thing, there is still plenty of it available for you to love. You don’t have to like May the 4th, you don’t have to like SOLO or Kathleen Kennedy or The Rise of Skywalker or CGI Tarkin, but you also don’t have to scream about it. There is no reason to give into hate. You are allowed to pick and choose what to enjoy and what to celebrate without tearing other people down. I am not a fan of reading the EU novels, but why get in the way and tear down someone who does?
There is plenty of Star Wars to go around and if you don’t like something that someone else does, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a conversation about why they gravitate towards those stories. You just might learn a thing or two about something, or you might learn something you have missed upon your initial viewing.
There is already enough division going on in the world, and Star Wars shouldn’t be one of them.
Happy Orthodox Star Wars Day to all who celebrate. For those that don’t, we can still be friends. Because when it comes to Star Wars, we shouldn’t give into hate, and we should all celebrate the love.
Written by: Ralph Apel
Ralph Apel can be followed on Twitter and Instagram: @CasinoSkunk