|Mara Jade Skywalker|
|Star Wars character|
Mara Jade (right) and Luke Skywalker with their son Ben Skywalker
|First appearance||Heir to the Empire (1991)|
|First game||Masters of Teras Kasi (1997)|
|Last appearance||Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse (2012)|
|Created by||Timothy Zahn|
|Portrayed by||Shannon McRandle|
|Occupation||Emperor's Hand, smuggler, trader, Jedi Master|
|Family||Queen Amidala/Senator Naberrie (mother-in-law)|
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (father in-law)
Leia Organa-Solo (sister-in-law)
Han Solo (co-brother-in-law)
Jaina Solo (niece)
Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus (nephew)
Anakin Solo (nephew)
|Children||Ben Skywalker (son)|
Mara Jade is a fictional female character within the Star Wars franchise. She appears in the non-canon Legends series as the wife of Luke Skywalker and mother of Ben Skywalker. She has been voiced by Heidi Shannon, Edie Mirman and Kath Soucie in various Star Wars video games.
Mara Jade was introduced in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which Lucasfilm later branded as non-canonical to the Star Wars franchise. Her first appearance was in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire (1991). Zahn imagined Jade as a strong, complex female character, somebody he thought lacking in the Star Wars universe. While competent, she is flawed. When The Thrawn Trilogy ended in 1993 with "The Last Command", Zahn thought it was the last book for which he would develop the character. Asked to write another novel, he established two goals: "to end the war between the New Republic and the Empire, and to get Luke Skywalker and Mara together." Although Lucasfilm resisted the idea of Luke marrying Mara, they eventually acquiesced.
Compared to Star Wars sole iconic female character, Princess Leia, Zahn said, "Mara has a sharper and sarcastic manner, and of course, she had to go through the painful realization her service was to an evil cause. But both women are strong without sacrificing their femininity, a balance which I think some authors have trouble writing. Bear in mind, too, Leia was one of the first people in the New Republic who decided Mara could be trusted, which perhaps says something about their understanding of each other."
In a 1998 Star Wars Insider poll of fans' favorite Star Wars characters, Mara was the only expanded universe character to break the top 20. In 2006, Zahn called Mara and Grand Admiral Thrawn his favorite characters out of those he created, saying "Mara, with her attitude and her Jedi skills, is just plain fun to write, especially in opposition--or in partnership--with Luke." In 2008, franchise creator George Lucas said that there would be no sequel trilogy and that plot elements from the Expanded Universe were not part of the overall story, including that "Luke doesn't get married".
In 2018, Zahn said Lucasfilm gave him some creative control over the character of Mara Jade: any appearance of Mara in new works requires Zahn's approval. Zahn also explained the Lucasfilm Story Group also had the authority to prevent him from incorporating Mara back into the canon, and any appearance would have to be approved by both parties. Zahn said he would only allow her to appear if she plays an important role in the plot, and he would block any kind of cameo. Previously, the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn, another Zahn creation, made the jump from Legends to canon, albeit with a slightly-reworked story. Subsequently, Zahn said he hoped to find a way to bring Mara into the canon, stating "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."
With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were re-branded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.
Several stories depict Jade before the events in Heir to the Empire, showing her training under Palpatine and executing his orders. The Thrawn Trilogy depicts Mara's first confrontation with Luke Skywalker, whom she swears to kill to avenge Palpatine's death (Palpatine sent her a faked image of Luke and Vader turning on him together, rather than Vader killing Palpatine, and the demand for Luke's death motivated by Palpatine's desire for revenge against his father rather than Luke's actions). This was re-inforced by the Emperor's final telepathic command to assassinate Luke, plaguing her thoughts since his death; upon learning this situation, Luke vowed to help Mara break Palpatine's hold on her, regardless of the danger she posed to him. Toward the end of the trilogy, she turns against the Empire, and resolves her anger toward Luke, and silences the command without killing him, instead killing Luke's clone -- Luuke Skywalker -- made by the Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth to challenge Luke. In doing so, she took Anakin Skywalker's blue lightsaber (which Luuke was using), and used it instead of Luke's green lightsaber to defeat C'baoth. At the close of The Last Command, Luke gives her Anakin's lightsaber because he believed she earned it, but because he truly wanted her to have it. Over the course of the series, Luke recognizes in Mara an underdeveloped affinity for the Force ; and although she initially resists Jedi training, she eventually becomes a Jedi Master.
Luke and Mara develop a strong bond in Zahn's The Hand of Thrawn Duology; he proposes marriage, and the two wed in Michael A. Stackpole's graphic novel Union. She delivers a son, Ben, during The New Jedi Order series.
In the Legacy of the Force series, Mara is suspicious of her nephew, Jacen Solo, after he sends Ben on several ethically-dubious missions. Upon learning Jacen is a Sith apprentice, Mara vows to kill him, but Jacen ultimately kills her in Sacrifice. She later appears as a Force ghost, first to Ben then to Luke, in Revelation. She also appears as a Force ghost to Cade Skywalker in the Legacy comics, set more than a century after the Star Wars films.
Mara also appears in the short story Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade, by Timothy Zahn, in the anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace. In this story, she infiltrates Jabba the Hutt's palace as a dancing girl to assassinate Luke Skywalker under orders of the Emperor, but misses her chance after Jabba drops him into the Rancor's lair then escapes.
Meeting her was also a mission objective in the defunct massively multiplayer online game Star Wars Galaxies. She is a playable character in Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi,. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Star Wars: Empire at War and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii version). She also narrates the Imperial campaign in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
Mara Jade was chosen by IGN as the 19th top Star Wars character. IGN's Jesse Schedeen also listed the character as the top 10th Star Wars hero, noting she "entered the Expanded Universe early, and she stuck around for so long because she's just a great character".UGO Networks called the character the seventh top Star Wars Expanded Universe character, calling her complex. In 2006, Zahn called Mara and Thrawn his favorite characters out of those he created.
Mara [is] a strong female character (which were few and far between in the Star Wars movies), but she's also flawed and searching and--dare we say it?--human. At the same time, she's highly competent at her job.