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‘Star Wars’ fans worldwide mark the date: ‘May the 4th be with you’

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Don't be shocked if you saw Darth Vader or Chewbacca walking down your street Sunday. Thousands of fans around the globe were shouting ”May the 4th be with you” in a worldwide celebration of “Stars Wars” day.

Faithful followers of the famed film franchise co-opted the date years ago, in part because it mirrors its famous “May the force be with you” catch phrase.

With the cast of newcomers for the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII” announced last week – Mark Hamill,Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will return as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo – there was plenty for fans around the world to celebrate, and they did.

Among Sunday's events: Special Star Wars themed rugby matches in Australia; “Star Wars” running events in BrazilArgentina and Mexico; character appearances in London; fan events events in ShanghaiChina and an “intergalactic takeover” of the Roman Colosseum in Italy. The festivities weren't limited to this planet. R2-D2 helped the International Space Station deliver a special message to fans around the world through a collaboration with NASA and Space Center Houston. Former British Margaret Thatcher, of all people, gets an assist on making the day as well, according to author Alan Arnold, who chronicled the making of “The Empire Strikes Back” for Lucasfilm in 1979.

Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain's first woman prime minister,” he noted. “To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”

Lucasfilm, the film company that created “Star Wars” wasn't behind the fan-driven event, but has embraced its spirit and the Internet has fueled its growth in recent years. The official blog at StarWars.com, as well as the official Star Wars social media channels on Twitter (@starwars, hashtag #MayThe4thBeWithYou) and Facebook help spread the word and showcase fan activity. 

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