Galaxy's Edge Easter egg says "Mara Jade Lives" but is it real 'Star Wars' canon?

While it's fun to think Luke's wife and the Emperor's personal assassin is returning to canon, let's think about think about this new revelation seriously. 

Mara Jade Star Wars

If you’re going to the bathroom at Disney’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge attraction, it’s time to brush up on your Aurebesh!

Actually, nevermind, someone has already translated it, and it turns out, there’s a Disney-planted Easter egg in Galaxy’s Edge that supposedly reads “Mara Jade Lives.”

This revelation has spurred a few pundits to claim that Mara Jade — the primary love interest of Luke Skywalker in those non-canon books you loved in the nineties —is officially now back in Star Wars canon.

But let’s slow our hyperspace fan theory roll, shall we? After all, hokey made-up languages and Disney parks are no match for common sense on your side.

Update: Two senior members of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Pablo Hidalgo and Matt Martin, have said on Twitter that this is probably a fan-made decal, and not an official Easter egg produced by Disney’s Imagineering team. Original story follows.

Here are two ways of looking at this bombshell of an Easter egg and what it means for The Rise of Skywalker:

On Friday, in the Star Wars subreddit, one user pointed out that a portion of Aurebesh writing in at least one Galaxy’s Edge bathroom stall translates to “Mara Jade Lives.”

Notably, this person who did this used the official Galaxy’s Edge app, which translates Aurebesh (the most prominent Star Wars written language) into English. So, this doesn’t look like a hoax. It looks like real-deal Star Wars people put a deep-cut Easter egg referencing Mara Jade and literally put it in the toilet at Disneyland.

As the guy who has famously maintained that the existence of Aurebesh hardly proves everyone in the faraway galaxy can read it, the idea that a huge Star Wars revelation would require someone to read faux-graffiti in a bathroom stall seems both hilariously unlikely and also totally on-brand for the franchise.

After all, people not knowing stuff and a total lack of a paper trail with anything is a proud tradition for all of Star Wars. Hell, even one prominent rumor suggests that a major Rise of Skywalker plot-point revolves around C-3PO translating something nobody can read.

Hidden messages seem to be very big with Star Wars, so it’s hard to discount this out of hand, even if it is a little weird. (Side note: this Star Wars bathroom stunt also feels stolen borrowed from a viral campaign for Handmaid’s Tale circa 2016 at New York Comic-Con, but I digress.)

Okay, so “Mara Jade Lives” is a real secret message at Star Wars Land. What does it mean? There are two explanations.

Mara Jade and R2-D2 in the Dark Horse Comics version of 'Heir to the Empire'Mara Jade and R2-D2 in the Dark Horse Comics version of 'Heir to the Empire'
Mara Jade and R2-D2 in the Dark Horse Comics version of 'Heir to the Empire'

Explanation 1: Mara Jade is being re-canonized and will appear in some future Star Wars project

Recently, diehard Star Wars fans all started donning our tinfoil hats when Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau didn’t rule out the appearance of Mara Jade in the series.

Chronologically, Mara’s return to Star Wars canon could make sense for The Mandalorian, because it’s the same time frame she was active in the old Expanded Universe canon. Also, because Mara Jade was Emperor Palpatine’s secret Dark Jedi assassin in Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Trilogy”, the idea that she’d be instrumental in bringing Palpatine back to life in The Rise of Skywalker isn’t that nuts.

Mara’s creator, author Timothy Zahn, has gone on-record as saying that fans should not expect her to return to the new canon. But because his Grand Admiral Thrawn was rebooted for Rebels, it seems like anything is possible.

Also, because Mara Jade ended-up marrying Luke Skywalker in the comic story Union, only to be later murdered by Jacen Solo, retconning her biography into new canon wouldn’t be that hard.

For all intents and purposes, the new Jacen Solo is Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. What if the same exact thing has already happened sometime before The Force Awakens? If so, Rise of Skywalker could — in theory — have Mara Jade Skywalker appear either in a flashback or as a Force ghost.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Stormtroopers
First Order Stormtroopers march around Galaxy's Edge.

Explanation 2: Because Galaxy’s Edge contains at least one other non-canon Easter egg, this means nothing

So now that we’ve gotten the unbridled fan optimism out of the way, let’s get ready for that dose of hard reality, colder than the snow on the Ice Planet Hoth: This probably means nothing. If Mara Jade was returning to canon in a big way, it feels like Disney and Lucasfilm would just come out and say it. That’s what they did with Thrawn! Keeping Mara Jade in a “mystery box” doesn’t make sense, because the only people who care about this character are really hardcore fans, meaning, if she does pop-up in Rise of Skywalker, I’d wager general audiences would be very confused. I mean, just imagine your mom saying: “Oh cool. Mara Jade. Yes, I heard this was teased-out on some corporately sponsored bathroom graffiti!”

Also, and most damningly, it’s hard to know if everything in Galaxy’s Edge is actually canon. In fact, there is at least one huge thing that 100 percent isn’t canon: There’s a huge spaceship called the First Order Tie Echelon, which is only there because it was designed for Colin Trevorrow’s aborted version of Episode IX. Yep, Galaxy’s Edge has one, very big Easter egg that is certainly not canon, because it comes from a version of Episode IX that never got made. This fact alone should make everyone very suspicious that Disney is planting secret messages about Star Wars canon in bathrooms.

Still, if this does turn out to be real, or if Mara Jade is rebooted for legit Star Wars canon at some point in the future, hardcore fans can say, without irony, that Disney dragged the beloved Expanded Universe out of the toilet.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

The Mandalorian debuts on Disney+ on November 12.

Media via moredevine, Dark Horse Comics, Lucasfilm, Marvel, StarWars.com, Lucasfilm/Random House