Mara Jade creator Timothy Zahn says he is unaware of a potential appearance by the character in Star Wars: Episode IX. After being purchased by Disney in 2012, Lucasfilm made the controversial move to rebrand the Expanded Universe as Legends and start an official canon anew. This meant fan-favorite stories and characters weren't part of the actual Star Wars timeline, though the new films and TV shows have gone to great lengths to incorporate certain elements from Legends. This year's Solo had plenty of examples for die-hards to spot.
Arguably the most notable instance of Lucasfilm cherrypicking from Legends was when Grand Admiral Thrawn was included in season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. The villain was originally created by Zahn for his Heir to the Empire trilogy. Another memorable character who first appeared in that book was Mara Jade, who eventually became Luke Skywalker's wife. Fans have long clamored for Mara to become part of the canon, but nothing has come into fruition yet. A new Star Wars 9 role is rumored to be called Mara, but Zahn doesn't know if it's the Mara Jade or not.
In an interview with the Talking Bay 94 podcast, the author said he's unaware if Mara Jade is in the Episode IX screenplay. However, he would be interested in seeing the character make the leap from Legends to canon, as long as it was the right fit:
"If there was a generic, or organic, spot for her to fit into a story...I promise people, I will pitch it to the Lucasfilm story group, and then, it's their decision whether to allow it or not."
It's worth mentioning that Zahn has some creative control over how Mara is used in Star Wars materials. He has the ability to block any brief cameos for the character, so if Mara is ever to appear, she will have a significant role in the narrative. Many fans would likely agree that is the best course of action. It would be a colossal disappointment if Lucasfilm confirmed Mara for anything (be it a movie, book, or comic) and it turned out to be nothing of value. Zahn, understandably, has a great deal of attachment towards the character and wants her to be used properly. Odds are, if Mara Jade was part of J.J. Abrams' plans for Episode IX, Zahn would have been tipped off by now.
That being said, Dave Filoni left Zahn in the dark about Thrawn when writing that third season of Rebels. It was only towards the tail end of production on the episodes the author was made aware of the plan, as Lucasfilm pitched Zahn the idea of writing a prequel novel. So, something similar could be in store here, and Zahn just doesn't know about it yet. Abrams holds a great deal of reverence for Star Wars, so if he wanted to use Mara Jade in Episode IX, he would ensure she had a significant part to play. It'll be interesting to see if anything happens on this front, but for now, it looks like Mara's canon debut will have to wait for another day.
Source: Talking Bay 94
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019