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May the Fourth has become in recent years a fun date to look forward to. I’ve been a fan of the Star Wars franchise since I was a child, having burned out my family’s VHS tapes of the original trilogy in frequent viewings over the years. I remember looking forward to the return of Star Wars to the big screen with the Special Edition re-release and the Prequels, and with even greater anticipation for the recent Disney-made trilogy, which closes out the 9-episode saga this year.
Instead of simple anticipation, however, this particular “May the Fourth” is given a more somber note with the passing of Peter Mayhews, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in the original trilogy. The actor joins the sadly growing list of deceased Star Wars cast and crew, the biggest names recently being Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker (R2-D2).
It is difficult figuring out what words to say, especially for people who I’ve only known from their work on the big screen. What I can think of is that these people have become a part of history – their performances and efforts have helped to create vast communities that span generations. The universe of Star Wars, which they have contributed to, has given countless hours of enjoyment and inspiration to countless people, of whom I am one.
The effect of their lives has rippled throughout society over the decades since the first movie came out in 1977, bringing countless of fans into a galaxy far, far away – into a story of good versus evil, freedom versus tyranny. It told a story of a simpler time, of simple heroism and drama. Icons of popular culture were born when Darth Vader stalked down the hallway of the Tantive IV to the pale legions of Stormtroopers fighting against the likes of Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Han. The mystique of the Jedi was given form with Obi-Wan and Yoda, and levity carried on the metal shoulders of C3PO and R2D2.
May the Fourth, which became an unofficial-cum-official fandom holiday since it kicked off for the first time in 2011, has been a celebration of joy for Star Wars. And that joy is made all the more meaningful with remembering the people whose lives have been put into creating it for us all. Indeed, May the Fourth be with you.
We remember those that have gone on a different journey in this year’s May the Fourth, because we are reminded also that there are still people who work behind the scenes to bring us this universe in whatever shape or form.
While we acknowledge every single one of those who shaped the whole Star Wars universe. I decided to commemorate, to remember that dates back to only the 2015. The year where the resurgence of the new chapters of Star Wars were seen once again on the big screen. I see that this is the fitting year that we started the commemoration as while we remember the end of the journey of these people, 2015 marked the year where Star Wars is seen again as a beginning of a new journey in this universe that we all fell in love with.
For the complete list of those who worked in the Star Wars Universe predating 2016, you can head here.