Are you ready to celebrate May the Fourth? Do you know what to say when someone says may the Force be with you? One of the most popular phrases in Star Wars, it is often confusing to know the best way to respond. From what the phrase means to its first appearance in Star Wars, here is everything you need to know about how to respond to may the Force be with you.
How Do You Respond to May the Force Be With You?
The best way to respond to someone saying “may the Force be with you” is either “may the Force be with you” or “may the Force be with us all”.
That said, one of the most popular responses is “and also with you.” This is the same response used in many Catholic masses during the sign of peace.
Less commonly, some reply with “always”. This plays off Obi-Wan Kenobi’s line in A New Hope about the Force always being with Luke.
Is There a Canon Response to May the Force Be With You?
Strictly speaking, there is no single canon response to the phrase may the Force be with you.
In most instances, there is no direct response. For example, the Jedi Council will often say this as a farewell to those in attendance.
Other times, the reply is either may the Force be with you or may the Force be with us all. We see Anakin and Obi-Wan reply this way a number of times.
However, there are a few instances where characters replied, “And also with you”. This includes X-Wing pilot Carson Teva in The Mandalorian and Senza Mulak in The High Republic book The Rising Storm.
Common May the Force Be With You Responses
While it is completely acceptable to give no response, here are the most common ways to reply to may the Force be with you:
- May the Force be with you – This is the most common response, especially between Jedi. When responding to a superior, the name of a master is often appended to the response. For example, Obi-Wan adds “Master Yoda” while Anakin Skywalker simply adds “Master” when talking to Obi-Wan.
- May the Force be with us all – This response is inclusive of everyone and is most commonly used in uncertain times. For example, Mace Windu says this version to the Jedi Council during the Clone Wars.
- And also with you – A popular fan response, it is rooted in Christianity and was not initially connected to the Star Wars universe. However, it was such a common response that it was actually included in both The Mandalorian TV series and The High Republic novel The Rising Storm.
- Always – A less popular response than “and also with you,” some fans will reply “always.” This response is influenced by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s statement, “The Force will be with you, always,” in A New Hope.
Since even Star Wars does not seem to take itself seriously, you can reply however you think best fits the situation.
What Does May the Force Be With You Mean?
May the Force be with you is a phrase used by the Jedi Order. The exact meaning of the phrase varied depending on the circumstance.
It was most frequently used to wish one another favor with the Force during a mission or task. While the Jedi usually did not believe in luck, this can loosely be interpreted as wishing someone courage or good luck.
There are also a few examples of Jedi using it as a general greeting and farewell. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker seemingly use this meaning in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
The phrase is also used by non-Jedi. This most notably includes members of the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire and the Resistance against the First Order. In these cases, it usually means good luck.
The phase also has a number of variations that generally share similar meanings. Most commonly, the word “us” is used interchangeably with “you,” allowing the speaker to include themselves in the sentiment.
Occasionally, the phrase is altered to “the Force will be with you, always” or just “the Force will be with you.” In this case, it is meant more to give someone confidence and hope. Trust in yourself and the Force, and you will accomplish your task.
For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi says this to Luke Skywalker aboard the Death Star before leaving to disable the tractor beam. Kenobi later repeats this line to Luke during the Battle of Yavin. In both cases, Luke trusts his instincts and the Force and is ultimately successful.
Chirrut Îmwe, one of the Guardians of the Whills on Jedha, used a variation of the phrase, “May the Force of Others be with you.” It is unclear at this time if this is something unique to the Guardians of the Whills or if it was used by others as well.
It is possible that non-Force users use this version of the phrase to mean trust that the Force will guide you, even if you cannot feel it.
Who Says May the Force Be With You?
The phrase may the Force be with you is most commonly used by the Jedi Order. Although the exact origins are unclear, the Jedi Order already uses the phrase during The High Republic era.
Many Jedi, including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Mace Windu, say, “May the Force be with you,” throughout the Star Wars films, television shows, books, and comics.
Members of the Rebel Alliance, including Leia Organa, Han Solo, Admiral Ackbar, Admiral Raddus, and Jyn Erso, used the phrase during the Galactic Civil War. It is unclear if this was a personal preference or if the phrase was used by the entire Alliance to Restore the Republic.
Bounty Hunter Din Djarin used the phrase during a conversation with New Republic X-Wing pilots. Peli Motto also said the popular Jedi phrase to Din Djarin as he left for his first test flight in his modified N-1 starfighter.
May the Force be with you was also used by at least some members of the Resistance against the First Order. Leia Organa said, “May the Force be with you,” before Rey left in search of Luke Skywalker. Vice Admiral Holdo also said it to the Resistance pilots fleeing the Battle of Oetchi.
What Is the First Appearance of May the Force Be With You?
May the Force be with you first appears in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Often incorrectly attributed to Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Dodonna is actually the first to say it.
At the end of his mission briefing, Dodonna says, “Then man your ships. And may the Force be with you!” to the Rebel pilots. Moments later, Han Solo repeats the line after telling Luke Skywalker he is leaving.
In 2005, the American Film Institute included the line at #8 on the most quote lines in movie history on their 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes list. And despite its popularity, may the Force be with you is only spoken two times in A New Hope and just four times in the entire Original Trilogy.
Obi-Wan Kenobi never says the line in the Original Trilogy. However, he does say the variation “The Force will be with you, always” in A New Hope. Kenobi does not say the more iconic phrase until Attack of the Clones.
In fact, Luke Skywalker is the only Force-sensitive person to say “May the Force be with you” in the Original Trilogy. It was not until The Phantom Menace came out in 1999 that a Jedi uses the phrase.
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