A major EU character could be joining the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX. Lucasfilm has been very successful in relaunching Star Wars. While they're experimenting with standalone stories, they're still moving the Skywalker Saga forward. However, the decisions made in Star Wars: The Last Jedi left the fandom divided, leaving it up to J.J. Abrams to come back and try to finish off this trilogy in strong fashion.
There isn't much known about Star Wars 9 at this point, which comes from the overall secrecy surrounding the franchise, but also thanks to the changes Episode IX has undergone. Abrams only returned to direct after Colin Trevorrow exited, and the story had to be completely retooled following the death of Carrie Fisher since Leia was set to have a major role. It looks like they know what direction to go now, and it may just bring a major EU character into canon.
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That Hashtag Show reports Star Wars: Episode IX is looking to cast a new prominent female character. The role is described as a female lead and is looking at actresses between 40-50 years old. The part that will catch the attention of most fans is that she's currently being called Mara, as in possibly Mara Jade (Luke Skywalker's wife in the now non-canon novels).
Before we get into whether or not this could be Mara Jade and how she could be used if it is her, this character may fill the role left void by Leia. Those involved with the franchise have looked at the trilogy as giving a major role to the original stars. The Force Awakens gave Harrison Ford a big role and his sendoff, and The Last Jedi did the same for Mark Hamill. It was expected for Leia to have a similarly large role in Episode IX, but that is no longer an option. However, it appears they still want some sort of older female character (possibly to help mentor Rey) involved, and that's where "Mara" comes in.
In the EU books, Mara Jade is a former assassin for the Emperor, before becoming a Jedi Knight and marrying Luke. That is not a part of Luke's canon backstory however, so if this character is Mara Jade, it'll be a different take on the character - possibly even with a new name. Mara is just her name in the casting calls, and movies traditionally change them for the actual film. Lucasfilm has even done something similar by making Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) a new take on Jacen Solo aka Darth Caedus. If they do the same for Mara, her name could be different, but the backstory and force abilities could still be part of her.
As for how this character will factor into Episode IX, it is too early to tell. She could be a mentor figure to Rey and another force user she's met in the time since The Last Jedi. But, maybe she could even be another villain that works with Kylo. With production set to begin this summer, it shouldn't be too much longer before more story/character details are revealed, and the actual role is cast.
Source: That Hashtag Show
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019