'Rise of Skywalker': 8 Star Wars Extended Universe Characters Who May Cameo
As summer slowly turns into fall, Star Wars fans shockingly have less than six months before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters and all of our dreams come true. Recently, fans of the red-eyed Grand Admiral Thrawn got really excited about a new canon novel — Thrawn: Treason — in which more of Thrawn’s backstory is fleshed-out, blue skin and all. Famously, Thrawn comes from what is now known as the “Legends” canon of Star Wars, which nineties kids used to call “The Expanded Universe” or “EU” for short.
But, could other characters from the EU still come back? Because The Rise of Skywalker is a cinematic ending to the story of the Skywalker family, it feels like it’s the last chance for certain Skywalker-adjacent characters from old books and comics to reappear, even in small cameos. So, thinking about that, here are eight characters from the weird-old-days of Star Wars EU, who could, if you think about it hard enough, totally pop into The Rise of Skywalker and say, “hello, there.”
Speculative spoilers might follow.
8. Dash Rendar
Though the N64 game, Dark Horse Comics series and novel by Stephen Perry are not canon, the 1996 multimedia event Shadows of the Empire did bizarrely end-up in on-screen canon in one very specific way: Dash Rendar’s ship, The Outrider can be seen leaving Mos Eisley spaceport in the Special Edition of Star Wars: A New Hope. By extension, this means Dash Rendar is canon, right?
Who is Dash Rendar, did you ask? Well, back in the ‘90s, he was a buddy of Han and Lando’s who also fought for the Rebellion on Hoth. He had sick stubble and a droid co-pilot. I’m not saying Dash Rendar would play a major role in The Rise of Skywalker, but because we know there is a place called “The Thieve’s Quarter,” it’s not crazy to think an older (but not wiser) Dash could be chilling there. Hell, maybe Dash still hangs out with Lando. Who would play Dash in such an absurd cameo? I would say there are two options: Jeff Bridges or George Lucas wearing sunglasses indoors.
7. Luuke Skywalker
Apparently, during the making of The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill got so into the plotlines of old Star Wars novels that he even suggested the idea of Luke’s evil clone from The Last Command coming back and screwing with everyone in the new movies.
Now, you might say, hey, there’s no way Luke’s clone is coming back for The Rise of Skywalker, but have we all forgotten that nobody has bothered to explain if a hand was attached to that old lightsaber of Luke’s when it found its way to Maz Kanata? Yeah, if there’s one story that needs to be explained, it’s this one. And if there’s a severed hand, then, there’s still a way for a Luke clone to exist.
6. Mara Jade
Author Timothy Zahn has gone on record saying that Mara Jade will almost certainly not be reincorporated into real canon anytime soon, but you honestly never know. One persuasive fan theory suggests that Kerri Russell’s mysterious helmeted Zorri Bliss could be Mara Jade in disguise, which is not really as crazy as it sounds.
In the Timothy Zahn books (and several additional books and comics) Mara Jade started her career as an assassin for Emperor Palpatine, became a smuggler and gun-for-hire, and eventually, turned into a Jedi Master and married Luke Skywalker. Not all of her backstory needs to be used for a role in The Rise of Skywalker (I.E. it feels unlikely a new Mara Jade would be retconned as Luke’s wife) but what about the stuff about her being “The Emperor’s Hand?” Because Emperor Palpatine is back in some way-shape-or-form in The Rise of Skywalker, it feels like other aspects of his EU mythology could come along for the ride. And that could mean Mara Jade.
5. Kyp Durron
Putting one of Luke’s students from the Legends version of his Jedi Academy might seem like a long shot, but because the Knights of Ren might be comprised of Luke’s former students, it’s not that crazy to think at least one of them comes from old canon!
In Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy, Kyp Durron is the guy who makes a deal with an old Sith ghost and turns to the Dark Side of the Force. If the character was retconned for The Rise of Skywalker as one of Kylo Ren’s goons, it would make a certain amount of sense. And, we wouldn’t even need to see his face to make the cameo work. Kylo could just turn to one of the Knights and be like, “Kyp, you’re stepping on my cape again.” Or something.
4. Talon Karrde
In Timothy Zahn’s novels, Talon Karrde is pretty much the king of the smugglers. But, the twist is, he’s mostly a good guy. Because The Rise of Skywalker is taking us to a place called “The Thieves’ Quarter,” it seems way more than reasonable that we’d meet some heavy hitters in the underworld. Visually, Talon Karrde had a kind of aging wild west outlaw thing going for him. And, for years, fans have wanted Robert Downey Jr. in the role. Again, even if Karrde existed only in a cameo in The Rises of Skywalker it would be amazing, and visually, he’d be unmistakable for hardcore fans.
3. Lando’s Spaceship, The Lady Luck
Okay. This isn’t a person, it’s a spaceship. But, Lando’s modified luxury space yacht would be an amazing addition to The Rise of Skywalker, so much so that it feels like a person. We know Lando will be flying the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca at some point in the movie, but could he show-up in his slick yacht from the expanded universe novels and comics? Back in the day The Lady Luck was so popular there were even several toys created in its honor. Plus, the ship did appear in the in-canon Solo adjacent novel Last Shot. So, who knows? Spaceship cameos are arguably not that hard to pull off!
Leia’s right-hand-woman in the Star Wars EU! In some ways, Winter predicted Padme’s handmaidens insofar as Winter was one part diplomat and one part super-spy. Back in the rowdy days of the Expanded Universe, new female characters who weren’t Mara Jade were somewhat scarce, which is part of what made Winter so great.
In some ways, Vice Admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi had shades of Winter’s personality, which is just one reason why it sucks she didn’t make it out of that movie alive. But, presumably, Leia has had all sorts of close confidants and advisors in the days since defeating the Empire. Could Winter be retconned for a quick cameo? Even just one scene of a mysterious white-haired woman whispering in Leia’s ear would send thousands of fans into bursts of applause and tears.
1. Grand Admiral Thrawn
As far as contemporary canon is concerned, Grand Admiral Thrawn is no longer a “Legends” character at all, so putting him on this list is probably a little spurious. Still, I’d wager most fans still consider Thrawn to be born out of the EU and not out of his more recent retcon. To put it another way, Thrawn’s in-canon story now excludes the specific stories from which he came, namely, Heir to the Empire,, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command.
Obviously, everything that happens in Rebels and Timothy Zahn’s new novels is real-deal canon, and Zahn’s original Thrawn novels are not. That is, until proven otherwise. Because Thrawn is maybe still alive at the end of Star Wars: Rebels, it’s not crazy to think that some version of the events from Heir to the Empire could have still happened in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. 30 years is a long time in between those movies, and who knows, maybe Thrawn returned from deep hyperspace and gave the New Republic trouble in canon, just like he did in the Expanded Universe.
If so, Thrawn could exist in The Rise of Skywalker in a flashback, one that explains how the First Order really came together. Or, to make it even better, what if Thrawn is secretly an advisor to the First Order? If Thrawn did make a cameo in The Rise of Skywalker, figuring out who would play him is tough. Though, if you ask most fans, they’d probably all agree that Benedict Cumberbatch is kind of the best choice. And, they’d be right.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out in theaters everywhere on December 20, 2019.