May the 4th Be With You: Emagine Canton Plays All 9 “Star Wars” Movies

You don’t have to go to a galaxy far, far away to see all nine Star Wars movies. 

All you have to do is go to Canton.

The Emagine Canton will show “Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga May The 4th Movie Marathon.” The two-day movie marathon that will take place exclusively at Emagine Canton on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, which is also Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you” is a pun of the iconic Star Wars line, “May the Force be with you”). 

The Emagine Canton will be the only movie theater in Michigan and one of only 14 movie theaters in the United States to show all nine “Star Wars” movies. 

The festivities kick off May 3 at 7 p.m. when doors open. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in costume (no masks or weapons/props are allowed) to this exclusive event. The movie marathon will show all nine movies beginning at 8 p.m. with 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” The marathon will conclude at approximately 7 p.m. on May 4. Furthermore, in addition to the nine films, guests will get an exclusive first look at Disney+’s “The Acolyte,” the new “Star Wars” TV series, scheduled to debut Tuesday, June 4. 

Guests are encouraged to stay for all nine films. Tickets cost $65/seat or $130/cuddle chair. Limited concessions will be available throughout the night and breakfast options will be available the morning of May 4.

“Emagine’s tagline is the magic of movies and more, and we strive to go beyond just providing a standard movie-watching experience. By offering unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else, Emagine aims to create special and memorable experience for its guests,” said Emagine Entertainment CEO Anthony LaVerde. 

“Star Wars” is the creation of visionary writer/director George Lucas, who introduced the world to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Darth Vader (David Prowse with University of Michigan alumnus James Earl Jones providing the voice), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness and later Ewan McGregor), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), among many other colorful characters that have become household names.  

Jones is proud to be remembered as Darth Vader, perhaps the movie series’ most recognizable character and one of moviedom’s most recognizable villains. 

David Prowse had a southwest London accent. Lucas wanted a different pitch. Orson Welles was too recognizable, so Lucas chose the guy from Mississippi who used to stutter,” recalled Jones. “I was only the special effects. David did all the work; he was the one in the hot costume.”

The first movie, “Star Wars” (now officially called “Star Wars: A New Hope), debuted on May 25, 1977 in a small number of theaters because not many were confident that it would do well at the box office. However, the movie became a blockbuster hit that became the highest-grossing film of all time at $775 million (the budget was $11 million) until 1982’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”

Lucas used Joseph Campbell’s novel, A Hero with a Thousand Faces, as the basis for “Star Wars.” This book details the elements of great myths. The fundamental underlying story of “Star Wars mirrors patterns of existence that are common to all humanity: The hero leaving his surroundings (in this case, Luke leaving Tatooine) to explore a strange and dangerous new world is akin to children growing up and becoming adults. 

“Star Wars” started a global phenomenon and changed the face of how movies were made and marketed. Before “Star Wars,” the summer was considered an off-season for movies. However, “Star Wars” pioneered the concept of the summer blockbuster, forever altering the release strategy of Hollywood studios. It became one of the first 25 films selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1989

“I remember seeing “Star Wars” the week it came out and it blew me away; it’s no surprise it’s an institution nearly 50 years later,” said Farmington Hills native and “The Simpsonsshow runner Al Jean. 

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Not only did Star Wars spawn two sequels in the original trilogy – 1980’s “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (co-written by U-M alumnus Lawrence Kasdan and considered the best movie of the entire movie series) and 1983’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi(also co-written by Kasdan) – it also spawned a media franchise. This includes toys, comic books, novels, video games, posters, games, trading cards, cartoons, TV shows, T-shirts, pajamas, bedsheet, cereal, et al. 

Movie tie-ins were very uncommon prior to “Star Wars,” nor were cross-promotional items like toys, something that is now commonplace with many tentpole movies, such as “Jurassic Park, “Batman and the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Star Wars” was the first film to prove that a movie’s merchandising rights could be just as valuable as the movie itself.

After 1983’s “Jedi,” Lucas stated that he planned to do prequels. People waited 16 years for “The Phantom Menace.” Its much-hyped release elicited mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Despite that, it was 1999’s highest-grossing film. To date, its worldwide box office gross exceeded $1 billion. “The Phantom Menace” was followed by 2002’s “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clonesand 2005’s “Star Wars: Episode IIIRevenge of the Sith.” While these other two movies also received mixed reviews, they were nonetheless blockbuster hits at the box office.

In 2012, Lucas sold his production company, Lucasfilm, Ltd., along with Star Wars and his other intellectual property, to Disney. In 2013, Disney announced that J.J. Abrams – who rebooted the “Star Trek franchise in 2009 – would direct 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It grossed $2.1 billion at the box office and was followed by 2017’s “Star Wars: The Last Jediand 2019’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” From a story perspective, the sequel trilogy was better-received than the much-maligned prequel trilogy.

“It’s a generational thing,” Jones said. “Kids who saw the movies then now have kids and grandchildren and it goes on from generation to generation; it becomes part of the culture.”

Under Disney, an anthology series of “Star Wars” movies was also released: 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story (these two movies will NOT be included in the marathon). Disney also released several “Star Wars”-related TV series, including “The MandalorianandThe Book of Boba Fett,” et al. 

“The original Star Wars trilogy did something that had never been done before: It combined the spirit of old-time science-fiction narratives with modern, high-end production values,” explained Wayne State University film professor Dr. Steve Shaviro. “Before television, movie theaters often showed serials – episodic narratives with a new, short installment every week – before the feature films they were screening. Some of the best-known and best-loved of these serials were pulp science-fiction, such as “Flash Gordon” and “Buck Rogers.” These serials were hugely popular, but they were made on shoestring budgets and had very low production values. They were something extra for people who went to the movies mostly to see the feature films.”

However, with the rise of television in the 1950s, movie serials were no longer made as a result. 

“Lucas’ genius consisted in telling the same sorts of stories as the old movie serials but doing so with high production values and state-of-the-art special effects,” Shaviro said. “The original three “Star Wars” movies had all the traditional emotional highs and lows that audiences loved, but at the same time they had a lavish, high-tech look and feel that neither television nor ordinary-scaled movies could match.”

Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga May The 4th Movie Marathon May 3-4

The Emagine Canton is located at 39535 Ford Road in Canton. The film schedule for the movie marathon at the Emagine Canton is as follows:

  • 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
  • 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
  • 1:05 a.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
  • 3:40 a.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: A New Hope
  • 5:55 a.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  • 8:20 a.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: Returns of the Jedi
  • 10:50 a.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • 1:25 p.m. on Saturday, May 4: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 5: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Tickets for this exclusive “Star Wars: The Skywalker Sage May The 4th Marathon” event are available now and can be purchased online at, at the Emagine Canton’s Box office, or through the Emagine App.

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