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4 Things To Know About This Year's May The Fourth Star Wars Day

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4 Things To Know About This Year's May The Fourth Star Wars Day
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Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)'s "Star Wars" franchise has become a phenomenon in and of itself and has been a money spinner for the company.

Wowing The Audience

The films of the franchise have appealed to people of different demographics due to a host of factors, including its appealing characters, the immersive universe, the action-packed sequences and the enthralling special effects. A unique achievement for the company is that the franchise has maintained its cultural relevance from the release of its first installment in 1977 to the latest installment, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Realizing The Monetization Potential

The success of the franchise can be traced back to its active fan base, whose engagement with material and content related to it opens up a window of opportunity for Disney.

Apart from ticket sales, the company enjoys revenues through sales of merchandise, licensing and home entertainment products, as it taps into all avenues of monetization.

May 4: Commemorating The Star Wars Day

One effort to keep the franchise fresh in people's mind and imagination is the observation of the "May the Fourth be with you" day. This is a pun on the iconic expression and catchphrase of the franchise, "May the Force be with you," which is said by several "Star Wars" characters.

May the fourth is being celebrated as Star Wars Day by fans of the franchise, with the ritual of observing the day to celebrate the famed franchise gaining traction with the spreading of a message through media and grassroots celebrations.

The earliest recorded usage of the phrase was in 1979, when the Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher won the general election in the U.K. in the May 3 elections and was on the threshold of becoming the first woman prime minister of the nation. This was mentioned by author Alan Arnold when he was chronicling the making of 1980 film, "The Empire Strikes Back."

A congratulatory message in the London Evening News on May 4, 1979, read like this: "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations."

Happenings Around The Event

Though the initiation of the celebration has come from the fans, the franchise seems to have subscribed to it. StarWars.com, as well as official "Star Wars" social media channels, promoted with the hashtag #StarWarsDay, helping spread the word and showcase fan activity.

Official partners also offer sales, giveaways and exclusives, and host parties and other activities to honor the day. A few ways in which fans observe the day include hosting movie marathons, sharing greetings on social media and cooking "Star Wars" recipes.

4 Things 2017 Has In Store For May 4

  • StarWars.com has offered several promotional deals for merchandise such as the new Poe Dameron Black Squadron helmet, 25 percent off on select "Star Wars" gifts with the purchase of $15 or more and FREE Limited Edition three-piece "Star Wars" pin set with a purchase of $15 or more of select "Star Wars" gifts at participating Hallmark Gold Crown stores.
  • Gaming deals such as 77 percent off select gaming titles across mobile and console platforms, including classic titles like "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," new favorites like "Star Wars: Puzzle Droids"; allowing the download of the full version of "Jabba Flow" from the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
  • Streaming of the complete 40 Years of Star Wars panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, featuring Kathleen Kennedy, Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen and others.
  • Appealing to the palate with sumptuous Star Wars recipes.

Offering ideas to celebrate the day in style, freelance writer Kelly Knox has recommended five news ways to celebrate the event:

  • Find a friend who's never seen "Star Wars" and invite them over to watch A New Hope in honor of the anniversary.
  • Cook a "Star Wars"-themed recipe.
  • Learn to play a new-to-you "Star Wars" tabletop game at your local game store.
  • Volunteer to organize a May the Fourth event at your local public library.
  • Read a "Star Wars" story to your kids for bedtime.

The Dark Side

The day has its share of critics too. A "Say No to May 4th" Star Wars Day attack ad from 2013 has a few points to make concerning why this day shouldn't be celebrated with the fanfare seen today.

The ad says the rebels who are glorified through the celebrations are traitors, and the greeting about the force is used for mind control, levitation of deadly weapons and haunting of living after death, which it says is not a reason to celebrate.

The ad ends by stating "Say yes to the empire...say no to Jedi...say no to rebels and say no to May the 4th."

Whatever the arguments and counterarguments may be, one thing is for sure: The Star Wars Day celebration is here to stay, given the kind of massive and fanatic fan following the franchise boasts of.

May the Fourth be with you!

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