Why George Lucas’ Star Wars Sequel Plans Never Included Mara Jade (Despite Her EU Story)

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Summary

  • Mara Jade, a beloved character from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, would not have been included in George Lucas’s hypothetical sequel trilogy due to his inconsistent treatment of the Expanded Universe.
  • Lucas was not fond of Mara Jade’s character, particularly her marriage to Luke Skywalker, despite her importance in the Expanded Universe.
  • Mara Jade’s story and her marriage to Luke Skywalker are exclusive to the Legends continuity, and she does not fit into the current Star Wars canon. However, there is a possibility that a reimagined version of Mara Jade could be introduced in future Star Wars projects.

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The popular Star Wars Expanded Universe character Mara Jade would never have been part of a hypothetical George Lucas sequel trilogy. Before its 2014 rebranding as the alternate Legends continuity, the Expanded Universe was the Star Wars franchise’s official timeline, with Lucasfilm officials often confirming that its lore, narratives, and characters were as canonical as the Star Wars saga films themselves. Despite this, Lucas was notoriously inconsistent in his treatment of Legends, and thus one of its most beloved characters would have most likely been omitted from his version of the sequel trilogy.

Mara Jade was introduced to the Star Wars franchise in Heir to the Empire, the first book in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. Initially depicted as a smuggler and associate of Talon Karrde, the trilogy eventually reveals that Mara Jade was an Emperor’s Hand and the adopted daughter of Emperor Palpatine himself before she left the Sith and the Empire behind. Mara Jade’s redemption arc is one of the Thrawn Trilogy’s high points, and her story continued long after its conclusion, with Mara eventually becoming a Jedi Master in the New Jedi Order. Unfortunately, Mara Jade would never have appeared in Lucas’ canon sequel trilogy.

Related: How Mara Jade Could Have Been In Return of the Jedi (& Why She Wasn’t)


George Lucas Wasn’t A Fan Of Mara Jade Being Luke Skywalker’s Wife

Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade.

While there is far more to Mara Jade’s character than her iconic romance with Luke Skywalker, the two fall in love in Timothy Zahn’s Hand of Thrawn duology and get married in Michael A. Stackpole’s comic miniseries Star Wars: Union. Luke Skywalker notably eschews many of the prequel-era Jedi Order’s outdated and restrictive practices, including their rules against marriage and other attachments. Luke’s attachments ultimately allowed him to defeat Palpatine and redeem Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, so his New Jedi Order, naturally, encourages marriages, as long as the love between Jedi remains healthy.

Lucas allegedly was not fond of Mara Jade as a character, disliking her marriage to Luke Skywalker more than anything. Despite Expanded Universe material all receiving Lucas’ stamp of approval and oftentimes his creative input, his attitude towards the material eventually changed drastically. Although numerous elements of Expanded Universe lore made it into Lucas’ movies, he was once quoted as saying that Luke never gets married and Palpatine never returns from the dead (despite the latter being his idea for Tom Veitch’s Dark Empire). By the end of his time leading Lucasfilm, Lucas left Dave Filoni with the parting advice that “continuity is for wimps.”

Related: Why Star Wars Canon Still Matters – And Always Should

Mara Jade Wouldn’t Have Fit In Either Version Of The Star Wars Sequels

Mara Jade Skywalker

However Lucas felt about the Expanded Universe in general, and Mara Jade in particular, she was canon, as was her marriage to Luke Skywalker. It was ultimately the Expanded Universe’s Legends rebranding that relegated Mara Jade to a bygone continuity. The Star Wars sequel trilogy that the post-Lucas Lucasfilm released borrowed a plethora of ideas from the Legends timeline, but for better or worse, Mara Jade was not among them. In the current Star Wars canon, Palpatine came back from the dead just as he did in Legends, but Mara Jade was nowhere to be found, and Luke Skywalker did not get married.

Lucas’s initial story treatments for a sequel trilogy, which Lucasfilm and Disney largely ignored when creating their sequel films, unsurprisingly did not include Mara Jade in any form. Moreover, Lucas sequel trilogy would have ignored the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe lore just as Filoni’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars ignored the established Clone Wars-era lore of the original conflict’s multimedia project. Despite her loyal following among Star Wars readers and viewers, Mara Jade simply would not have found a place in either version of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

RELATED: Disney’s Star Wars Canon Reset Has Its Roots In George Lucas’ Final Plan

How Mara Jade Can Still Fit Into Star Wars Canon’s Post-OT Timeline

Mara Jade in Star Wars.

For now, Mara Jade is exclusive to Legends, and the lore surrounding her stories is simply incompatible with the current Star Wars canon, so she ought to remain in Legends only. Considering her popularity and the current canon’s trend of loosely adapting elements of Legends, however, a new version of Mara Jade may be introduced in a future Star Wars property, such as Ahsoka or The Mandalorian movie. If this is the case, Mara Jade would either need to be significantly reimagined or be retconned into being an Emperor’s Hand-turned-smuggler in the post-original trilogy era. Either way, Mara Jade would not marry Luke Skywalker in the current Star Wars canon.