Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the fourth be Reichenbach.

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, and you know what that means!

Well, most Americans don't, other that "eat Mexican food and call your happy hour beer 'cerveza.'" But to Sherlockians, it means Reichenbach Day is here -- May 4, the day in 1891 when Sherlock Holmes defeated Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. We may not get May 5th, but we sure have May 4th. All ours. A Sherlockian's day, if ever there was one.

Except . . . a certain other fandom took over our day of celebration, starting back in 1979, when some joker decided to quip "May the Fourth be with you."

Yep, Star Wars Day.

Not "Reichenbach Day," not "Holmes Victory Day," not even "Moriarty Memorial Day."

Star Wars Day.

But Sherlock was here first, right? And you know what that means: We can look for parallels and claim that Star Wars got them from Sherlock Holmes, because he came first.

So, May 4th, Reichenbach Day, the day when Sherlock Holmes was thought to have fallen to his death. And who else did we, for one moment, think was falling to his death?

Luke Skywalker, climax of The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader, obviously symbolizing Conan Doyle, reveals "I'm your father." Luke, in a reverse play on Conan Doyle's making his creation fall to his death, denies his own creator and lets himself fall. Sure, Darth Conan could have used the Force to stop him, but noooo. Sherlock Skywalker has to go so Darth Conan can go back to his conquest of the universe/historical fiction.

The theme of the Reichenbach death-fall continues in the next Star Wars movie, The Return of the Jedi. (Hmm, who else had a title like that? The Return of Sherlock Holmes about eighty years before?)  This time Darth Conan makes sure Emperor Moriarty takes the long fall and Sherlock Skywalker survives, because, plainly, the first Star Wars trilogy was a massive secret symbolic tribute to Sherlock Holmes's victory at Reichenbach Falls. A tribute only exposed due to fan insistence that May the 4th, our Reichenbach Day, be called "Star Wars Day."

It works better as "Significant Deadly Fall That Kills Baddies And Not Good Guys, Though We Might Have Thought The Good Guys Were Dead Day," if you really want to be inclusive to all fandoms. Throw in a few other fandoms with that plot device maybe, if there are any.

But that's just if we Sherlockians want to be nice about it.

May the fourth be Reichenbach Day, after all.

1 comment:

  1. Sherlock is on Ted-ed!