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May the Fourth Be With You—Star Wars Holiday

When did May 4th become the Star Wars holiday? It’s not even the release date—that was May 25, 1977.

I looked it up, and it somehow has to do with Margaret Thatcher? Oh well.

Above is the new Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer, which I’m sure everybody has seen twelve times already.

If I was a kid today, I would LOVE the abundance of high-quality Star Wars programming today. In the late 1970s, we had to settle for the very inconsistent Marvel comic books, the (pretty good) novelizations, the excellent radio shows, and the somewhat goofy Kenner toys to entertain ourselves in the long three-year gap between films.

And yet...that original Star Wars world promised so much adventure and magic. There really was nothing else like it. The nooks and crannies of each environment—just the backgrounds of the Ralph McQuarrie designs—promised so much imagination and wonder.

One consequence of all the shows and extended-universe books, comics and games is that very little is still “mystified.” The third guy on the left in the cantina scene has had his life story immortalized in a limited-edition comic series.

But in the late 1970s/early 1980s it was all wide open. Who was Darth Vader underneath the mask? That question alone was a source of endless fascination.

It really is the phenomenon of the J.J. Abrams “mystery box”—you’re dying to open it, but once you just isn’t as fun anymore. Nothing can be as beguiling as the magical possibilities of your own imagination.

I really don’t mean to complain. It’s more like I’m fascinated by the process by which something intangible and mysterious becomes known and therefore ordinary.

Here’s some more of my rambling about “So Much Star Wars.”

And here’s some more on what it was like to be infatuated with Star Wars in the 1980s.

Have a great Star Wars day! And in the words of another George Lucas project, “Buy more. Buy more now. Buy...and be happy.”

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