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WJBD - Entertainment - May the Fourth Be with You: It's "Star Wars" Day This Sunday

May the Fourth Be with You: It's "Star Wars" Day This Sunday

David Livingston/Getty Images for AFI(NEW YORK) -- Sunday is May 4th, and thanks to a terrible yet fortunate pun, it's also known as Star Wars Day -- as in, "May the Fourth Be with You."  For several years now, Star Wars junkies worldwide have adopted May 4th as a day to celebrate their favorite sci-fi movie saga.

How did May the Fourth start?  Well, one of the first known uses of the pun came on that day in 1979, and involved, of all things, the election of Margaret Thatcher, who became Britain's first female prime minister.  To celebrate her victory, her party took out an ad in the London Evening News, with the message, "May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations."

From there, May the Fourth became a fan-fueled grassroots tradition, but the first organized celebration took place in Toronto, Canada in 2011. Lucasfilm has now actively embraced May the Fourth, and many businesses and other partners have come on board for special promotions and parties. This week, ABC's sitcom The Goldbergs will have a Star Wars theme to mark the occasion.  ABC is owned by Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars in 2012.

One reason Lucasfilm is now a huge supporter of this fan phenomenon is that May in general has always had meaning in the Star Wars universe: for starters, all six films debuted in May, starting with the original Star Wars, on May 25, 1977.  Principal photography on the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie, Episode VII, will begin this month, and George Lucas' birthday is May 14.  Walt Disney World Resort will host its popular Star Wars Weekend beginning May 16.

This year, there's even more excitement about May the Fourth, thanks to the recent announcement of the cast for the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII. The news that Luke, Leia and Han -- Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, respectively -- are all back on board for the new film is almost certain to bring back fans who may have been disenchanted with the prequel movies released over the past decade or so. Also returning are Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2-D2.

New Episode VII cast members include veteran actor Max von Sydow, Lord of the Rings motion-capture star Andy Serkis, Girls star Adam Driver, and Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac, as well as Domhnall Gleeson, whom you may know better as Ron Weasley's brother, Bill, from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2.  John Boyega, who appeared in the 2011 British sci-fi flick Attack the Block, and Daisy Ridley, who's appeared in the British TV series Mr. Selfridge, complete the cast.  The movie will debut in 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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