With the news that Keri Russell is joining the cast of Episode IX, fans are already speculating that she’ll play the popular Legends character Mara Jade. Here’s why that’s not a good idea.
Countless fans were crushed when the formerly known Expanded Universe was dubbed Legends and no longer considered canon. It felt like the ultimate betrayal to strike incredible characters such as Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn from canon, as if this invalidated years of Star Wars stories.
Canon materials are slowly incorporating more and more Legends content, though. One of the most significant was adding Thrawn into Star Wars Rebels, a huge step in bringing Legends content back into canon. Seasons 3 and 4 of Rebels provided ample opportunity to develop Thrawn and do his character justice, as did Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel and the upcoming sequel Thrawn: Alliances. These mediums not only allowed Thrawn to become a significant piece of canon, but they also ensured his character was done right.
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If Mara Jade is brought into canon, her character deserves a medium that will do right by her. With all the characters and storylines Episode IX already has to tackle as it concludes the sequel trilogy, it is not the right place to debut Mara Jade in canon.
Like Thrawn, she needs her own story in novels or comics, or at least to play a major role in an extended format like a television show. These mediums can take their time and fully develop her character rather than plopping her in to an already crowded Episode IX. Fans of Mara Jade will likely feel the movie doesn’t do her justice, which seems inevitable with all the other elements the film needs to focus on. Fans who don’t know already know Mara Jade will likely be confused about her.
Unfortunately, theories about Keri Russell playing Mara Jade may become Episode IX‘s equivalent of The Last Jedi theory that Supreme Leader Snoke was Darth Plagueis. Convinced that Snoke was Plagueis, many fans were outraged when their theory wasn’t confirmed, leading to disappointment and frustration. It’s fun to theorize, but it’s also important to realize that new actors often aren’t playing known quantities.
Mara Jade should become canon again, but Episode IX is not the place to make it happen. Instead, let Keri Russell play a brand new character, one that is unique to Episode IX and will captivate all Star Wars fans. Mara Jade’s story should come later in a medium more befitting of her character.
Would you rather see Keri Russell play Mara Jade or a completely new character? Let us know in the comments!