Holy Sith, you guys, Star Wars Day is upon us again.
“May the 4th” is a day for all lovers of Jedi, the Resistance, the Skywalkers, the Hutts, Boba Fett, Gamorrean guards, Maz Kanata, General Grievous, Rancor Keeper and Snap Wexley to unite and celebrate all there is in the galaxy far, far away. (Why May 4, you ask? Why, it’s right there in the date, a play on “May the Force be with you.”)
This Star Wars Day is kind of special because it’s arriving just before the next film to hit the big screen, the young Han Solo tale “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (in theaters May 25) with Alden Ehrenreich as the cosmic smuggler and Donald Glover as the smooth gambler Lando Calrissian. (Tickets are on sale now at Fandango.com, Drafthouse.com and more theater chains.)
The franchise has remained beloved to generations of fans since George Lucas’ original 1977 “Star Wars,” which means more than 40 years of various ways to get your “May the 4th” on. Here are some of our favorites:
Watch the movies. Or, more likely, watch them again.
If you can believe it, there are some people who’ve never seen “Star Wars.” So now’s the time to get busy and watch all nine movies to get ready for Solo. For the rest of you nerds, revisit them any way you want. They’re on digital platforms now. (Fun fact: According to Amazon Prime Video, the original 1977 “Star Wars” is the most repeatedly streamed film of the saga.) Blu-rays and DVDs, too. Chances are, some of you still have old VHS cassettes. To go really old school, dust off the laser discs.
And we do suggest you watch the original 1983 edition of “Return of the Jedi,” rather than the later special edition that took out the Ewoks’ celebration song and inserted Hayden Christensen (aka prequel Anakin “Darth Vader” Skywalker) into the Dead Jedi Club at the end.
Binge out on various Star Wars animation.
Don’t sleep on the cartoons that have been busy expanding the Star Wars universe over the years. Six seasons of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” on Netflix showcase a pre-Vader Anakin and other Jedi during the prequel era, while the more recent entry “Star Wars Rebels” focused on the Rebel Alliance just prior to the events of the first Star Wars film. Start catching up on all four seasons on iTunes, Amazon or YouTube before the pilot-centric Star Wars Resistance premieres in the fall.
Let the blue milk flow.
Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had blue milk on their breakfast table back on Tatooine, and you can enjoy it as well with these recipes. StarWars.com has a whole section of food-related fun for those who want to party hearty, from Chewbacca noodle rolls to Crystal Fox scones. And the folks at Genius Kitchen have put together some eats including Millennium Falcon Pizza and Porg Rice Balls.
Read the further adventures of Han and Lando, plus Poe and Vader.
If the new “Star Wars” trilogy hasn’t been exciting enough, the recent launch of various comic books — most of them pretty rad — have fleshed out stories not seen in the movies. The flagship “Star Wars” title, which is coming up on its 50th issue in July, catches up with our heroes between the original movie and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Darth Vader puts the spotlight on everyone’s favorite Sith Lord, while the Poe Dameron series tells the story of Oscar Isaac’s X-wing pilot before “The Force Awakens.” And for those who prefer prose — or are ridiculously excited for Solo — Daniel José Older’s new novel Last Shot catches up with Han and Lando as older gentlemen.
Try out a virtual-reality adventure.
If you’re living in or traveling near Southern California (Anaheim or Glendale), Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or London, check out The Void for a neato Star Wars VR experience. Secrets of the Empire immerses players in a Rebel intelligence mission on Mustafar, disguised in Stormtrooper outfits and taking orders from snarky Rogue One droid K-2SO.
Buy something fun and extremely nerdy.
Lots of places discount their Star Wars merch on May 4, and StarWars.com has a roundup of all the coolest stuff, from Chewbacca bandoliers for your dog to fuzzy Vader slippers. If you’ve got time on your hands (and a lot of shelf space in your house), Lego is debuting its very large collectors’ series Y-wing Starfighter. Maybe you’ll finish it by the time Star Wars: Episode IX comes out in 2019!
For those who’d rather give than receive, Lucasfilm just launched Roar for Change: Post, like or share your take on Chewbacca’s signature howl on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #RoarForChange before May 25, and the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative will donate $1 to UNICEF. Do it for Chewie, y’all.
Brian Truitt, USA TODAY