It's Star Wars Day! Here are 5 surprising facts about fans of the series

A young fan with a Stormtrooper mask looks on during a festival marking Star Wars Day
A young fan with a Stormtrooper mask looks on during a festival marking Star Wars Day   -  Copyright  ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP or licensors
By Jonny Walfisz

4 May 2011: Happy Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you. 

If you don’t get the pun, you’ve clearly been living under a rock or deep within a Sarlac pit. 

The annual day celebrating all things Star Wars has arrived and we thought for today’s Re-View, we’d take a look at just how wild Star Wars fandom gets.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Weirdest use of “May the fourth be with you”

Star Wars Day is ubiquitous today. Officially first celebrated as an organised event at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2011, the phrase was already well established. Shortly after the first film’s release on 25 May 1977, Star Wars fans came up with the nifty pun on the catchphrase “may the force be with you”.

You might be surprised at the first recorded reference to the phrase though. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman elected Prime Minister of the UK. Thatcher’s Conservative Party ran an advert in the London Evening News writing words more sinister than anything Darth Sidious ever uttered: “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

VINCE BUCCI/AFP
Star Wars creator George Lucas (L) poses with Star Wars characters R2D2 and C3POVINCE BUCCI/AFP

Most expensive collectible

One of Star Wars creator George Lucas’ biggest strokes of genius was demanding he’d retain the merchandising rights to the series instead of a bigger pay cheque during production of the first film. The toys and memorabilia that Star Wars generated has made more money for Lucas than all of the films combined.

While Lucas has made bank selling endless figurines, people have also paid extraordinary sums for film memorabilia. The highest price paid for a collectible was $2.76 million in 2017 for an R2-D2 droid, made of parts used during the original trilogy.

Biggest fan collection

There are a lot of people out there with impressive collections of Star Wars memorabilia, but no one is responsible for a bigger one than Steve Sansweet. The 77-year-old American switched from a journalism career to become a marketing director at LucasFilm in 1996.

Eventually becoming head of fan relations, Sansweet acted as a liaison between fans and the Star Wars brand, turning up to conventions and amassing his own collection of memorabilia. In 2013, Guinness World Records recognised his collection of over 300,000 Star Wars items as the biggest in the world. The collection is housed by his non-profit museum Rancho Obi-Wan in California.

AFP
Steve Sansweet, owner and self-proclaimed CEO of Rancho Obi-WanAFP

Biggest Lego set

Star Wars pulled a blinder when it teamed up with Danish toy company Lego to create movie tie-in sets. The crossover has been so successful it’s spawned it’s own series of films, TV shows and video games.

The ultimate Star Wars collection is incomplete without the pinnacle set. With a whopping 7,541 pieces, the 75192 Millennium Falcon set is the biggest Lego Star Wars set in history. There’s also a dedicated Guinness World Record for the fastest assembly of the gigantic set, achieved by Germans Johannes Roesch, Kathi Stutz, Ralf Johannes and Gabriel Cabrera Parra in a breezy 2 hour 51 minutes 47 seconds.

Lego
75192 Millennium FalconLego

Most appearances in the films

Disney has announced that more films are coming, but as of writing there are 11 Star Wars feature films. The original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, the sequel trilogy and two standalone anthology films make up the Star Wars feature film canon.

Across all these films, there is only one actor who has had a role in every single one. The English actor Anthony Daniels has played the charmingly camp robot companion C3-PO in 10 Star Wars films. He also makes a cameo appearance as Tak in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, putting the total up to 11.

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