Whatever you want to call this brand-induced holiday — May the 4th, Star Wars Day, something else I haven’t even thought of — the fourth day of May is a time when we celebrate a galaxy far, far away.
It’s because of the wordplay, you see. „May the Force be with you“ sounds an awful lot like „May the Fourth be with you,“ so Star Wars things happen. While the phrase itself has been kicking around in the world since the earliest days of the series, the celebratory aspect of it — like most weird holidays that exist today — is a product of the internet.
Before we get into all the various options you have for celebrating Star Wars, a little scene-setter: Disney kicked off the day with a big, exciting trailer drop for Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is coming to Disney+ on May 27.
Looks like a good time, right? The series brings star Ewan McGregor back to the role he first tackled in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. It picks up in the years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a time when Obi-Wan was tasked with watching over and protecting a young Luke Skywalker, the son of his former apprentice Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader. This is Star Wars 101 type stuff, but a refresher never hurts.
Watching Star Wars
The most obvious thing you can do to celebrate on Star Wars Day is…watch Star Wars! That’s very easy in today’s world thanks to Disney+. There’s a whole entire category devoted to the series placed in a very obvious location on the streaming service’s homepage. Clicking that is your first step into a larger world (of content).
The Disney+ Star Wars page contains, for starters, every single movie: All nine releases in the so-called Skywalker Saga, including the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, and the Sequel Trilogy, plus Rogue One and Solo.
There’s also a bunch of TV stuff. From the pre-Disney+ era, there’s The Clone Wars and Rebels, plus Genndy Tartakovsky’s excellent Star Wars: Clone Wars series of shorts from 2003. Joining those are several more vintage options from the Original Trilogy era: the Droids and Ewoks animated series, plus the two made-for-TV Ewoks movies, Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor. (Sadly, the original Star Wars Holiday Special is a no-show.)
‚The Last Jedi‘ is the third best Star Wars sequel
After that we have the post-Disney+ era of streaming-only releases: Two seasons of The Mandalorian; one season of The Book of Boba Fett (which might as well be The Mandalorian Season 3); the animated Clone Wars and Rebels spin-off, Star Wars: The Bad Batch; and the superb anime anthology series, Star Wars: Visions.
Credit: Lucasfilm, Ltd.
You might think we’re done, but we’re not. Did you know Disney+ is awash with kid-friendly Star Wars programming? In addition to the vintage cartoons, there’s the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated shorts that feature some of the most important and impressive women in the Star Wars universe; the BB-8 shorts series, Star Wars: Blips; the Star Wars Resistance animated series; and a whole mess of Lego programming, including a cheeky take on the aforementioned Holiday Special.
Just in terms of hours, we’re already way beyond what anyone could reasonably watch in the space of a day. But there’s one more bucket of Star Wars content worth noting: documentaries. It’s a smaller collection here, but in addition to behind-the-scenes looks at Book of Boba, Mandalorian, and Galaxy’s Edge that are native to Disney+, you can also check out the excellent vintage documentary, Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. For anyone who’s curious about the series‘ history, that feature-length deep dive is well worth your time.
While Disney+ isn’t necessary to watch Star Wars things if you already own any of these on home video, creatures of the internet who don’t subscribe and have shunned disc-based media still have options. For one, you can rent or buy all of the movies in a purely digital format (such as right here on YouTube) and most of the TV content that isn’t native to Disney+.
A total beginner’s guide to Star Wars
For the truly fearless who want something wildly different — and also free — I’d recommend Star Wars: Uncut and its follow-up, The Empire Strikes Back: Uncut. These fan-made, crowd-sourced projects were conceived by Casey Pugh and the small crew he worked with to bring them together. Each Uncut re-tells the story of the first two Star Wars movies, but the feature-length videos are made up entirely of one-minute slices of scenes that have been recreated by fans.
Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Contributor via Getty Images
There’s nothing quite like the Uncut projects. It’s one of the purest expressions of Star Wars fandom imaginable, just a total labor of love on the part of Pugh and the army of Star Wars aficionados who contributed. Both videos are also entirely free to watch from beginning to end. If you really want to celebrate the community surrounding Star Wars, take the time to dig into Uncut.
Playing Star Wars
Some people like to watch their faves and others like to engage a little more directly. Star Wars has had a spotty history with video games in particular, but in more recent years we’ve seen a wave of projects re-establish the series as a wonderful platform for interactive experiences.
The biggest gaming event tied to 2022’s Star Wars Day is a two-week celebration inside Fortnite. Running from May 3 until May 17, the event spans both the free and paid sides of the game. For those willing to buy some V-Bucks, Fortnite’s primary form of in-game currency, Epic Games is bringing back all the non-Battle Pass Star Wars content that’s ever been sold in the Item Store.
That includes the more recent Book of Boba Fett pack, which dropped in late 2021 once the Disney+ series was in full swing. But it also includes a pair of Sequel Trilogy packs featuring characters from the final three-movie arc of the Skywalker Saga.
For the Fortnite ignorant, the Item Store sells cosmetic items that alter your in-game appearance. So if you want to dress up as Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, Zorii Bliss, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, Krrsantan, a Stormtrooper, or a red Stormtrooper, those outfits are all available to buy. There are also Star Wars-themed gliders that let you fly into any match on the „wings“ of a Y-Wing Fighter or T.I.E. Fighter.
Credit: Epic Games
Coupled with the big store drop — the Boba stuff is still pretty new, but the Sequel Trilogy items haven’t returned to Fortnite since 2020 — is an ongoing Star Wars happening in-game. Fortnite’s popular and most-played Battle Royale mode has temporarily brought back lightsabers as potent melee weapons, Stormtrooper E-11 blasters as less potent ranged weapons (have you ever seen a Stormtrooper who could aim well?), and a lineup of Star Wars-themed quests that you can tackle to net yourself a free banner for your profile.
Elsewhere, Microsoft kicked off a month-long contest that will end with 12 lucky winners receiving Xbox Series S consoles adorned with custom Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga art. It’s running until May 31, and the rules are simple and clear: Follow the @Xbox Twitter account and retweet the post below, making sure that both hashtags are included.
That’s all there is to it. You got this.
If you’re looking for more Star Wars-focused gaming, that recently released Lego Star Wars title mentioned above is a great place to start. It’s the first time that series has roped together all nine Skywalker Saga stories into one game. And rather than just collecting the previous releases together under a new title, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a wholly new creation. It’s out on PC, Playstation, Switch, and Xbox, too, so there’s a good chance you’re able to play it.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is another great option. It’s an Electronic Arts release from 2019, developed by Titanfall and Apex Legends creator Respawn Entertainment. The original story follows a young former Padawan named Cal Kestis who is trying to survive and find his way during the dark post-Order 66 era when Palpatine and his pupil, Anakin Skywalker, set out to exterminate the Jedi Order and establish the Empire at the top of a new galactic order.
Fallen Order is a third-person action adventure that plays like a mix of Uncharted and Dark Souls. Cal carves a path through Imperial forces in search of deeper truths about himself, relying on his lightsaber, a growing array of Force abilities, and the colorful cast traveling with him. This is a story-driven game that ties to certain mainline Star Wars characters and events in unexpected ways, and it’s a great time beginning to end.
Joystick jockeys who revel in a nail-biting dogfight may prefer Star Wars: Squadrons instead. The 2020 release riffs on a series of classic Star Wars flight combat simulators — best exemplified by the originator, X-Wing, and its beloved sequel, T.I.E. Fighter. But Squadrons is a properly new game, built with all the power and capability modern hardware has to offer.
Credit: Respawn Entertainment
When you settle into the cockpit of whatever fighter you’re tasked with flying, the level of detail in the dials, knobs, and instruments alone is enough to make any serious Star Wars geek squeal with delight. But the thrills that await after you take off are why you’re really here. Squadrons plunges you into asteroid fields, ship graveyards, and knockdown brawls between dueling capital ships. If you’ve found yourself howling at the big dogfighting-in-space movie moments, this is the game for you.
A bunch of games are on sale for Star Wars Day at GameStop — here are the highlights
If blasters, speeder bikes, and pitched fighting in familiar locales is more your thing, Star Wars: Battlefront II provides. The main event here is an online mode devoted to pitting large teams of players against one another in pitched ground battles featuring beautifully authentic digital recreations of props, costumes, and vehicles. As thrilling as it is to watch Luke Skywalker take down an AT-AT singlehandedly in The Empire Strikes Back, it’s quite another thing to do that yourself in Battlefront II.
In addition to the ground engagements, this well-rounded game also features some space dogfighting of its own, as well as a full-featured story mode. That campaign stars Janina Gavankar as Iden Versio, an Imperial pilot who starts to see the truth of her service in the chaotic days following the events of Return of the Jedi. It’s an engaging story featuring some great, new characters and, just like Fallen Order, unexpected yet welcome ties back to memorable Star Wars people and moments.
If you want a one-sentence summation of Battlefront II, it’s pure wish fulfillment that draws on that childhood experience of lining up action figures and imagining their adventures. This game breathes digital life into those action figures, and it’s so thrilling.
Reading Star Wars
There’s a wealth of Star Wars trivia, behind-the-scenes peeks, lore, and more flooding the internet on Star Wars Day, some of it older and re-upped for the occasion and some of it simply new.
Start with this breezy read from NPR about the three vintage radio dramas that were based on the Original Trilogy movies. It’s a wild story that involves the radio rights to the series being sold for a comically low number — just $1! It also gets into the challenges the producers faced in creating an audio-only version of a blockbuster visual spectacle.
Credit: Archive Photos / Stringer via Getty Images
Elsewhere on the internet, the good folks at StarWars.com invited contributors to talk about their favorite Star Wars memories and how they’ve connected with the series over the years. It’s a lengthy read, but a sweet dive into the mindset of our fellow fans as it highlights a lineup of different perspectives and voices.
And of course, Mashable is replete with excellent Star Wars writing from our crack team of writers, including Chris Taylor, who wrote the book (literally!) on Star Wars fandom. Here are some of Mashable’s own greatest hits: