When Star Wars came back to the big screen with The Force Awakens, the series essentially threw out decades of stories about what Luke, Leia, and Han were up to after Return of the Jedi. When those books and comics were stripped from canon, some fan-favorite original characters went with them, perhaps most notably Mara Jade, Luke Skywalker’s wife. Now, there’s a rumor that suggests she might be in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, but don’t get your hopes up.
According to That Hashtag Show, Lucasfilm is looking to cast a female lead” between the ages of 40 and 50 named “Mara.” Fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now officially known as Star Wars Legends) can’t help but think this is Mara Jade, the redheaded would-be Jedi master who was first introduced in the 1991 book Heir to the Empire. Mara Jade began her career as the Emperor’s Hand, a Force-sensitive operative who reported directly to Palpatine. After his death, though, she eventually turned to the light side of the Force, marrying Luke and having a son, Ben Skywalker. Decades later, she died during a duel with Han Solo and Leia’s son, Jacen Solo, who had turned to the Dark Side.
She’s a popular character, but as you might guess from reading that brief summary of her Expanded Universe bio, there would be some issues with bringing her into current Star Wars film continuity. Luke Skywalker is dead, and Han Solo had a different son, similarly named Ben, who ended up killing him.
The author who first created Mara Jade, Timothy Zahn, said it was unlikely that Mara would ever make it to current Star Wars canon, although there is some precedent. Grand Admiral Thrawn, a genius Imperial tactician who was the main antagonist of Zahn’s three acclaimed Star Wars books, was a villain in Star Wars Rebels. But, there would need to be many, many more changes to Mara’s character in order to fit her into the movies, and at that point, would it even be Mara Jade anymore?
If there’s a redheaded Force-user who maybe once served as an Emperors Hand, that’s really more of an Easter egg than an actual canon appearance. Plus, That Hashtag Show is just reporting a rumor, at this point, so the whole thing could be bunk. Even if Lucasfilm is casting for a “Mara,” it’s possible that wouldn’t be the character’s final name in the film, as was reported to be the case when Rey and Kylo Ren were first cast under bogus names.
There’s really very little chance that Mara Jade will make it into Episode IX, but considering how some fans thought a weird rock in The Force Awakens was her headstone, any rumor about her is going to set off alarm bells. Who knows, though. Maybe she’s Rey’s mom, and J.J. Abrams really is dedicated to undoing the best twist in The Last Jedi.