Astronauts watch Star Wars in space
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have revealed they have celebrated Star Wars Day by screening one of the sci-fi movies.
"Just watching @starwars. In space. No big deal," Nasa tweeted from one of its official accounts adding the hashtag #Maythe4thBeWithYou.
It is not the only recent tie-in. Members of a forthcoming expedition to the ISS posed as Jedi knights for their official photo earlier this year.
The choice of film surprised some.
"You picked the wrong one!" tweeted Angel Dominguez, referring to the fact that a photo sent from the satellite shows Mace Windu's battle with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in the prequel Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, rather a scene from the original trilogy.
— ISS Research (@ISS_Research) May 4, 2015
The ISS was recently fitted with a high-definition projector, which the astronauts also use for video conferences and displaying computer software.
Commander Scott Kelly revealed last month that the team on board had also used it to watch the space disaster movie.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) April 25, 2015
Such stunts only add to the series' value by keeping it in the public eye. Disney is set to be the beneficiary of the latest publicity, having bought the rights to Star Wars from its creator George Lucas in 2012, along with other movie rights, for $4bn (£2.6bn).
Analysts are expecting that the first in a new series of films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will set a new box office record when it is released in December.
One expert quoted by The Hollywood Reporter has forecast it could make more than $500m in its first three days in cinemas.
However, efforts to further extend the franchise have faced a setback with news that the director of a planned spin-off is no longer involved.
"I've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities," Josh Tank said in a statement published on the official Star Wars site last week.