Yeah, we all heard it: “Emperor’s Hand” in Saturday night’s Rebels, ‘Legacy of Mandalore.’ The Hand in question is Gar Saxon, governor of Mandalore, a character who’s appeared on Rebels before.
So no, it’s not Mara Jade, the first and best known “Emperor’s Hand” in the no-longer-canon Star Wars Legends timeline. Per Dave Filoni himself, it was just a reference. He told ComicBook.com it’s “probably just a little sly nod to a character type.” Probably:
I think it would probably be meant more innocently, but the minute you say it I’m like, ‘Good grief.’ I know exactly where everyone’s going to go with that,” Filoni told us with a laugh. “I know, with the hopefulness of it all, but I wouldn’t dwell too much on that. It’s more of a generic reference to that type of character that exhibits in history of the world, like the emperor has a hand, there’s someone who’s always sitting at the right hand that’s gained great power.”
Yeah, Filoni could be playing games. But I’m willing to take the comments at face value for now… Even though giving the title to both a man and a Mandalorian seems particularly tone-deaf.
But the fact is, I’ve been rather wary of Mara returning to canon and would prefer it not be on Rebels – if at all. (Rebels is fine for what it is, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Take all the Thrawn you like, but I’m selfish and want more for Mara.)
That said, the rumor does come from a tweet by The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, who claims to have heard it from “a couple of sources” – though not, apparently, enough for an actual story. Still, it would be bigger news if the film didn’t involve the Falcon.
Now, we’re all a little (a lot, truth be told) sick of people complaining about how this film is going to be “predictable” or “boring.” About how people would rather have an Obi-wan movie, or whatever. (No, you’re not the first person to say it. You’re not even the thousandth.) And this rumor isn’t going to help matters, I’m sure. But the film is in pre-production. It has two key roles cast – Han and Lando – with a third that probably isn’t far behind. (Not to mention Chewbacca is probably locked in, as we know Ehrenrich tested with either Peter Mayhew or Joonas Suotamo.)
Most importantly, It also has a pair of directors who are best known for taking “horrible” ideas and actually making great films out of them. If you somehow managed to miss Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s The LEGO Movie or 21 Jump Street remake, please give them a try. And remember Lawrence Kasdan? He co-wrote the thing. These are not a bunch of random dudes off the street making a fan film. They, and everyone else at Lucasfilm, have a clear concept of the character and the film – check out those Celebration Europe clips again.
What do we, the audience, have? Hints and rumors and speculation – not the most solid ground for judgement.
I’m not going to discount the possibility that the movie could still turn out so-so. Hell, I’m still a little wary about the whole spinoff concept myself.
Fact is, this movie is happening. You don’t have to like it, but that’s not going to change at this point. But it’s far, far too soon to write it off. Give Han Solo a chance, just like you’re going to give Rogue One a chance. Hopefully, they both manage to surprise us.
I’m not in The Clone Wars generation by any means – I’d been active in fandom for more than a decade when Ahsoka came around – hell, this blog was four years old in 2008.
But what Ahsoka is to that generation, Mara Jade was to mine. She was, back in the day – or at least to some of us – just as big a Star Wars figure as Leia. In fact, she was only the second female in the whole franchise to get anywhere near that much development. For nearly a decade – before the prequels – Mara Jade was the second-most important woman in Star Wars. But she’s not canon any more. And though I don’t really care about that, I have to admit it hurts to see her effect ignored. Oh, I know that to mention her in that video would just muddy the waters, but so much of what you see with Ahsoka and fandom right now mirrors what was happening with Mara and fandom back in the day.