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Every year on May 4th, tens of thousands of people around the world unite in appreciation for one of the greatest sagas ever told.  For May the Forth is Star Wars Day.  A day we at the Varsity Hotel Cambridge always look forward to celebrating.

A Long Time Ago…

Star Wars is a cultural icon of such immense scope and impact upon the world that it has few (if any) true competitors.  Some might argue that the sheer number of people who have read or watched the works of Tolkien puts it right up there.  While others might point to the 25 films of the James Bond franchise spanning 60 years as a contender.

But in truth, they are mere minnows compared to the immense saga that is Star Wars: 11 full length feature films spanning decades; several live action series including one of the current gems in the SW crown, the Mandalorian; and hundreds of hours worth of animated series which will be added to today with Tales of the Empire.

Yet that is only the tip of the Star Wars iceberg.  There have also been literally hundreds of full length novels written on the Star Wars universe.  True, some have been of somewhat dubious quality.  But others are some of the greatest stories out there with some truly outstanding characters such as Revan, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Yet the influence of Star Wars goes a lot deeper than that.  Because so many of the characters, outfits and props are instantly recognizable icons the world over.  When a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers silently strode onto a British talent show a few years ago, they needed no introduction.  Everyone instantly knew who and what they were.  Which made it even more hilarious when they started dancing a few seconds later…

Everyone knows what a lightsabre is.  Kids (and adults) the world over have whirled sticks around making the sound effects.  The concept of the Jedi has become so well known that every census sees a significant number of people mark down their religious affiliation as “Jedi”.  An Imperial Star Destroyer is a vessel so iconic it has become the benchmark for fictional starship comparisons.

And the characters!  Even in the beginning we had Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Yoda and the Emperor.  But to these over time we can add Anakin Skywalker, a more fully fledged Obi-Wan Kenobi, Maul, Padme, Ahsoka, and the Mandalorian.  Characters who have captured our hearts and minds and creative visions for decades.

Here at the Varsity Hotel we can do little more than stand back in awe of the grand spectacle that is Star Wars.  But on today of all days, may the forth be with you.