Star Wars: A Sri Lankan Story
By Paramie Jayakody
The Fourth of May to the average person is just another day. It might be a work day, in which case said person would wake up, bright and early, shoo off the birds chirping and then begin their daily work routine. If not a weekday, then it might be a weekend, where said person would forgo waking up early and sleep til the crack of noon, wake up, and go back to sleep.
However, if you’re a Star Wars fan, the story takes a complete twist. Why? Because the Fourth of May is Star Wars day. Confused? Well, let me explain. A common phrase seen in Star Wars movies is “May The Force Be With You”. Now add a bit of wordplay to today’s date, and you get “May The Fourth Be With You”. Get it now?
A brief rundown of Star Wars
Considered one of the most iconic space-opera franchises, Star Wars kicked off in 1977 with the original Star Wars movie (somewhat confusingly titled Episode IV). Under the direction of George Lucas and Lucasfilm, Episodes V and VI were released in 1980, and 1983 under the titles of The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, respectively. Since then, the Star Wars movie saga has seen a prequel trilogy, namely Star Wars Episodes I-III under the titles of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. But the story doesn’t end there. There’s also the sequel trilogy consisting of Episodes VII-IIX, titled The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.
Artwork by Nivanka Fernando aka seafaring_vessels_art
The original trilogy and prequel trilogy follows the lives of Luke Skywalker, his mysterious past, the seeming death of his father and an intergalactic war between the Rebel Forces and the Galactic Empire. Along his journey, Luke finds new friends, falls in love, discovers the truth about his past and has to make brave, bold decisions about his future. The sequel trilogy set a long time after the original trilogy sees Luke much older and introduces new characters to take the franchise forward. It also brings back a number of beloved characters but we also bid farewell to some characters as well. While many people share different opinions of how the movies should be viewed, the most common method is to watch episodes IV-VI, then I-III and then VII to IX. Overall, the 9 episodes of the Star Wars franchise are a rollercoaster of emotions and will have you glued to your screen as you see the fate of the “rebel scum” and their battle against the seemingly invincible forces of darkness.
But how does the 4th of May Fit into all this?
Well, think of the 4th of May as the one day of the year where every Star Wars fan gets to go absolutely nuts and relive their fandom in any way they can. Just to give you a rough idea of how large the Star Wars fanbase is, according to Global Web Index, 1 in every 4 internet users worldwide are Star Wars fans. Delving a bit deeper, they also go on to explain that North America plays home to the largest population of Star Wars fans with 1 out of every 3 internet users identifying as a Star Wars fan.
Sri Lanka too is no stranger to Star Wars. In fact, our little country has quite a thriving Star Wars fan base as well. Not sure if I’m pulling your leg? Well, all you need to do is take a look at some of the premiers held at cinemas in Sri Lanka, namely Scope Cinemas and Savoy Cinemas.
Image Credits: Luke Photography
Yes, these are a few of our very own geeks who went through painstaking trouble to create their own lightsabers, along with matching Jedi/Sith costumes. Why? Because they are all die-hard fans of the franchise. Thanks to Cinemas in Sri Lanka acquiring the rights to show the Star Wars films on pretty much their global launch days, Star Wars fans both young and old can watch the movies in glorious 3D and even pose with some of the cosplayers as pictured above, taking the experience to a whole new level.
But that’s not all. Star Wars merchandise also enjoys discounts on Star Wars Day from places such as Red Dot Geek, Nastars, Kiddies Corner and numerous other stores to satisfy every Star Wars fan's wildest dreams. Geek HQ, a geek inspired restaurant in Colombo, Sri Lanka actually had a Star Wars week just before the premier of Star Wars Episode IX. Each day of the week was dedicated to one episode of the Star Wars movie franchise. That pretty much is proof that Sri Lankans are huge Star Wars fans. On a global level, Lego makes it a point to stock up on the most popular Star Wars lego sets and even give free Lego Star Wars sets if you spend a certain amount on Star Wars Lego products. It doesn’t get much better than that if you love both Star Wars and Lego.
If you want a more laid back approach to Star Wars Day. then you can start by just watching the movies with your friends and family. Due to the current pandemic, you might not be able to watch it all in the same place, but you can sync up with your star wars friends and watch it together from the safety of your individual homes.