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May the fourth be with you

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May the fourth be with you

Makeshift lightsabers stand at the ready for the lightsaber combat demonstration.

Makeshift lightsabers stand at the ready for the lightsaber combat demonstration.

Makeshift lightsabers stand at the ready for the lightsaber combat demonstration.

Makeshift lightsabers stand at the ready for the lightsaber combat demonstration.

Rune Torgersen, Online and Social Media Manager

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May 4, or “May the Fourth,” is considered a holiday by fans of the “Star Wars” movie franchise. This is because the date sounds like the series’ slogan, “may the force be with you,” when spoken out loud. Fans all over the world use this day as an opportunity to dress up as their favorite characters, re-watch the films and generally celebrate the culture the franchise has spawned.

 

CWU campus activities hosted a series of events today, May 4, in celebration of this occasion. Among these was a lightsaber combat workshop led by stage combat professor George Bellah, who teaches in the theatre department at CWU. Bellah based the workshop on broadsword stage combat techniques, which is what the original “Star Wars” trilogy grounded its combat in as well. The main difference between stage combat and real combat, according to Bellah, is the signaling and exaggeration of attacks to allow one’s opponent to read the motion and guard against it. Approximately 7 people attended the event.

The workshop focused on a series of attacks and parries performed with pool noodles that had been decorated to resemble the franchise’s “light saber” weapons. The pool noodles were selected for safety reasons, according to Bellah, who stressed that even though the makeshift weapons may have appeared harmless, a wrong motion might still have done some damage. A portion of the workshop was dedicated to weapons safety, in order to avoid any injury.

The evening also featured a game of “Beat Saber,” a virtual reality experience based on rhythmically slicing through flying blocks with weapons that greatly resemble lightsabers. Several songs from the “Star Wars” soundtrack were playable at the event.

The final event of the evening was a showing of the movie “Fanboys,” which revolves around a group of friends trying to visit director George Lucas’ home to view “The Phantom Menace” before its official release. While the movie itself is occasionally satirical, it is also meant as a nod to the more dedicated fans of the series.

Anthony Zarazua, campus activities event coordinator, specifically requested to work on the event because of his love for the series. In his opinion, the franchise is just as relevant now as it ever was.

“Star Wars, from the prequel era to now, has grown so much,” Zarazua said. “The fandom is still alive, as you can see, people stand in line for the movies and stuff. It’s incredible.”

Bellah agreed, attributing the series’ popularity to the hard work of its creator, George Lucas.

“I think the genius thing that George Lucas did was give the direction to his creative team to make the universe look used. That made it different than everything that came before,” Bellah said.

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