Why should Mara Jade appear in Star Wars: Episode IX?
A rumor has appeared on the web that director J.J. Abrams and casting director Nina Gold are looking for a woman between age 40 and 50 to play the role of a character named “Mara.” It was interesting that this is the name that was chosen. It could be a false name, to be replaced later on, as production commences. It could be the current name for a character that is unrelated to the Mara Jade from the Legends timeline. It could be Mara Jade.
Here is why I think it should be Mara Jade.
There is a lot of time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens that is still unclear. We know that Luke started a new Jedi order, that Kylo Ren took a bunch of these Jedi, made them Knights of Ren, and destroyed the entire Jedi order, making Luke, once again, the last Jedi. We also know that Rey is now the last Jedi (or the first of the new).
Things it could do (and there are many directions it could take, so finding the best version of the story would mean finding the most appropriate story arc and characters would be the best way to serve the story in a plausible way).
- The introduction of Mara could bring some clarity to Luke’s story. What if they were married? What if they had a child… a daughter… and Luke didn’t know it? What if that child was a girl that grew up on Jakku, believing her parents to be dead?
- Kylo Ren could know the truth about Rey’s parents this whole time. He believes that Luke is nothing… he told Rey that her parents were nothing special… she could feel that what he was saying was not a lie, because he believed that… but perhaps it isn’t true. This could make Rey into a Skywalker. Afterall, this is the Skywalker saga. Plus… this would hold true to the “monster” that Kylo believes himself to be… it would be true to his character to make up a story like that. Plus, in The Force Awakens, Kylo learns that BB-8 was in the hands of a girl, he asks “what girl?” in a way that seems to hint that he could know more about this particular girl than he lets on.
- Mara could be a member of the Knights of Ren. We need to see who they are, where they’ve gone, what they are now… what if Mara became one of them in order to survive? It would put her into a unique position where she could have access to Kylo Ren, Rey, etc.
- Mara could also have gone into hiding. She could have left the Jedi order upon having a child, she could have closed herself off from the Force, like Luke did. Kylo could also believe Mara was no longer a threat.
- Mara’s existence doesn’t mean Luke was not the last Jedi… there are other force users that are not Jedi… Rey wasn’t a Jedi… Kylo isn’t a Jedi… the Knights of Ren were Jedi…
- Mara could fill the role that Leia was supposed to have… and could do that better as family to Kylo Ren. With Carrie Fisher gone, Leia is not going to be appearing in the next film, but she was supposed to be the driving force of the movie. She was showing more and more of her Force powers in each movie, and I believe she was going to come face to face with Kylo Ren in a scene that mirrored the scene in The Force Awakens with Han and Kylo… but I believe that it would have ended differently this time. I think that same scene could now happen with Mara Jade… and that it would be more powerful if her name was Mara Jade Skywalker.
- Mara has a past… if her past is similar to her time as the Emperor’s hand, she could be an example to Kylo of someone that has made decisions similar to his own, but has come back from that place. Ultimately, being an example that he needs to see.
- Kylo could also be unaware of his relationship to her. The relationship between Mara and Luke could have been such that Kylo never new that Luke had been married, and Luke could also have believed Mara to be dead.
- Mara could return to the Jedi order, joining Rey in building the new Jedi order, guiding her now that Luke is gone.
- Rey could finally learn who her mother is, and thus, also her father. Having already learned that she didn’t need to define herself by who her parents are, she could now learn who her parents are, and have that revelation be something that strengthens what she already knows about herself.
There are many possibilities. I’ve not really thought it all through, but the story I like is this:
Mara Jade Skywalker fills the role that Leia was supposed to fill in Episode IX. She is the emotional catalyst for Kylo Ren’s journey, and the last hope to pull him back from the brink of becoming more like Darth Vader. She can serve that purpose because she’s related to him as his aunt. She also reveals that she and Luke are Rey’s mother and father, and that Kylo was only telling her what he knew she needed to hear to give him the best chance of winning her over to his side. Mara joins Rey in rebuilding the Jedi order.
But where has Mara been, and wouldn’t we have heard about her in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi? Not sure where Mara has been, but I’m sure that could be figured out. As for mentioning her earlier, there was never a story-driven reason for her to come up casually, without leading to the telling of a side-story that didn’t keep the plot moving. Much the same that revealing Snoke’s origin would have slowed the movie to a crawl at a point where it was already getting more and more intense.
Every scene in a movie has to serve the story that you’re watching, or the greater story as a whole. It’s okay to include extra material that will pay off in another movie down the road. They do that in most comic book movies, and other Star Wars movies.
Thus, Episode IX could finally be the key to who Rey is… she had to become whole herself before taking on the mantle of the name she rightfully owns.