While rumors of Mara Jade appearing in Star Wars 9 have generated attention in recent months, it's unlikely the fan-favorite character will appear in the upcoming film.
Mara Jade is one of the most popular characters from Star Wars Legends; first introduced as an assassin for Emperor Palpatine, she later becomes a Jedi Master and the wife of Luke Skywalker. She was eventually killed by Jacen Solo, the son of Han and Leia, after he turned to the dark side.
The approach of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars 9, which recently announced its full cast as production is primed to begin, has once again sparked chatter that Mara Jade-Skywalker will find her way into the new canon. Despite months of speculation, however, it has become increasingly clear that there is little-to-no proof to support the theory that Mara Jade will appear in Episode IX.
The Mara Jade Rumors Explained
Mara Jade's inclusion in Star Wars 9 was first rumored after Lucasfilm reportedly put out a casting call for a female lead, age 40-50, named Mara - seemingly a reference to Mara Jade.
Reports that Keri Russell had been cast in Star Wars 9 helped to fuel the fire. She fits the Mara casting, so while some have suggested that Russell will play Rey's mother, others have speculated that she could play the new version of Mara Jade (some have even proposed that Russell will play Mara Jade and Rey's mother). Because Keri Russell is a high-profile actress, fans have assumed that she would have a major role in Star Wars 9, which lines up with Mara expectations.
Mara Jade's popularity within the Star Wars fandom, of course, also played a major role in encouraging conjecture. She wouldn't be the first Legends character to be reinstated into Star Wars canon. Grand Admiral Thrawn, who like Mara Jade was created by author Timothy Zahn, became the most notable Legends character to return to Star Wars canon after he appeared as a major antagonist in Star Wars Rebels seasons 3 and 4. Like Thrawn, Mara Jade is popular enough among fans to motivate Lucasfilm to bring her back to Star Wars.
Why Mara Jade (Probably) Won't Be in Star Wars 9
Despite the buzz around the possibility of Mara Jade appearing in Star Wars 9, it seems unlikely at best that the Legends character will make it to the big screen. While Lucasfilm seems to have acknowledged the character with an audition name, audition names are rarely the actual names of characters - especially with secretive projects like Star Wars 9. Similarly, while Keri Russell's casting promises the introduction of a new major female character, her involvement does not remotely signal that the character of Mara Jade will appear in Star Wars 9.
Even if a character named "Mara Jade" was included in Episode IX, she would be so far removed from her Star Wars Legends persona that she would be a different character entirely. The timeline would be wrong for her to be the Emperor's Hand, and she couldn't be Luke's wife. Even if the character shared her name with the Jedi Master, she wouldn't be the Mara Jade that fans have come to love over the years.
Timothy Zahn, the creator of Mara Jade, has stated that he was not consulted about the use of the character of Mara Jade in Star Wars 9. Zahn is open to Mara Jade returning to Star Wars, but he wants her role to be organic and meaningful, rather than a fan-service cameo. There are plenty of opportunities for the character of Mara Jade to be re-introduced to the Star Wars canon — but Episode IX isn't the right time or place.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019