Sacrifice: A statement, of sorts

It is strongly advised that you don’t click the link below unless you’ve finished the book. Seriously.

Sacrifice Spoilers


In the wake of Return of the Jedi, fandom slowly sank into the dark times. Although there were some who kept the fandom alive, Lucasfilm had moved on to other things and the flow of merchandise had ended. Then, in 1991, a book appeared magically on a shelf bearing the Star Wars logo: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It was not just one book, but a trilogy of novels which introduced a vibrant character, Mara Jade, and revitalized Star Wars fandom.

Not long after that great event, a group of people found each other through RASS on USEnet and started emailing each other discussing the Zahn books, especially the character of Mara Jade. The group appreciated the character Zahn created: a woman who was independent, strong, and intelligent. The fact she was only the second female Force-user certainly didn’t hurt things. The group started out as a Mara Jade fan club of sorts, but quickly found that many of the reasons they were drawn to the character were evident in the new friends they were meeting. Members brought more like-minded souls and the group grew to include women and men from all walks of life- teachers, doctors, lawyers, mothers, sisters, scientists, nurses, daughters, writers, computer geeks, artists, and librarians, to name only a few.

So we came together around a fictional character who was not even in the movies. (The EU may put her in Jabba’s palace but let’s get technical.) We shared a love of the Star Wars universe and the magic that fans feel when they slip into that galaxy far far away. As the years grew, our focus began to spread to other fandoms – though typically they all were represented somewhere within by the same type of strong, independent and intelligent female characters (Scully, Buffy, Elizabeth Swan, Eowyn, among others).

With the recent developments in the EU, people have been asking what we, who started as a Mara Jade fan club, thought about it. Being a bunch of strong, independent, and intelligent folks, I doubt we’ll ever come to a full consensus. Some of us feel betrayed and wonder if we can ever feel comfortable playing in the Star Wars galaxy again. Others are taking it in stride and can appreciate a story well told. And some of us are scratching our heads, wondering what all the fuss is about. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter. Mara was a fictional character and we can all count ourselves alive and well in the real world.

The important part in all of this is that because this character existed, we found each other. Mara Jade, though the power of the internet, made a big world a whole lot smaller for a lot of us and we’re extremely grateful for it. We’ll keep moving on with Club Jade, though a little disappointed there won’t be Mara there to keep things in line. The site isn’t going anywhere, the cons will still be attended, and people will still post to list things that will make you think twice or laugh so hard you’ll swear to never read your email at work again. And we’ll continue to hope that our favorite authors will come up with someone just as wonderful to inspire everyone to fight for what they believe. (And maybe they’ll fill in some of Mara’s missing timeline?)

Until then, to borrow a favorite quote of a friend: “I came for the Star Wars, I stayed for the friendships.”

21 thoughts on “Sacrifice: A statement, of sorts

  1. Kelly

    Well said! (Especially that quote from that Kelly person.) ;)

    Seriously, why SHOULD we go anywhere? Even if Mara were our only raison d’etre (which she clearly is NOT), the Star Wars timeline isn’t exactly static and chronological. I don’t stop being an Obi-Wan fan because he’s dead from ANH on. There are still stories about him to enjoy in the prequel era, in fanfic, etc.

    Same with Mara. She might not be around in any books after Sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean we have to put her away and stop enjoying her. There are old stories to revisit and new stories to tell from when she was alive.

    But most importantly, we DID stay for the friendships. LFL could fold up completely and not a single new SW thing ever be produced again, and I’d still want to be a part of Club Jade.

  2. DarthPaul

    I’m not dead. No stinking way. It was Maara who died, yep. That’s who it was. Maara. My stupid clone. I’ll be dropping in and out of places all over the GFFA. Count on it. And for you Callista wannabes, hand’s off the farm boy.
    He’s mine I tell you! Mine!
    Mara Jade Skywalker

  3. Dunc

    Kelly: I agree. Mara’s death is not the end of fandom. And why should it be?

    DarthPaul: I just shot water out my nose, thanks. The crazy lives on forever!

    Bonnie: Well, it’ll be seeing a lot of use in the near future! We has the plans. ;)

  4. Kelly

    Listen, Darth Paul. I’ve been waiting YEARS for my shot at him. I mean, I WAS AT THE WEDDING. IN A WEDDING GOWN. It should’ve been ME he married. If it weren’t for that damned Jessa hauling me off like that, it WOULD’VE been me! He’s MINE, I tell you, and always will be!!!111111!

    Amanda Nelligan

  5. Mary

    Cool! That’s the icon I made last night. (It’s free for anyone to take and use btw.) And if a different size or text is desired, just pop me an email and I’ll adjust it for ya. :-)

  6. Scoke

    Great statement. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in my LJ(and it was featured here at Club Jade as well… fancy that. ;) ). Thanks for keeping the level head.

    “At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter. Mara was a fictional character and we can all count ourselves alive and well in the real world.”

    Amen.

  7. Glenn

    Very well said.

    Remember, just because Mara has died almost 40 years ABY doesn’t mean that more won’t be written about her. Just this year, Timothy Zahn’s Allegiance portrayed her as the Emperor’s Hand. There are plenty of gaps to fill.

  8. jstar71

    I wonder what zahn is thinking about this?He created the character but someone else writes her off.GRRR!!Not happy about it.It does make it a bit more realistic,sometimes the good guys have to die too.

  9. Anonyman

    Well, Zahn shouldn’t care. He created her with the help of Lucas Books to fit the story line at the time.

    If you read Allegiance I personally believe he did not do Jade justice.

    Overall though, Mara was not written off, she was killed by a Sith Lord, just like thousands of others. Her death will trigger multiple actions.

    It was very beautiful how Luke felt her brush his hair at the moment of her death, I cried deeply, and I’m a guy.

  10. MJ

    No way. Karen Traviss did not kill off Mara. That was my character! And she didn’t do all that good with Sacrifice. She tried to make some people talk modern non-Star Warsish language too hard in the beginning. What kind of Star Wars character says ‘AIN’T’???

  11. Matt

    I was saddened to see MJ go. I remember holding Heir to the Empire like it was gold. I will also hold her as the best that the EU could create. Off topic, on the cover of Fury, it looks like Ben is holding MJ’s original lightsaber…maybe her killer will be brought to justice.
    MTFBWY

  12. Arica

    Anonyman, Just one quick thing. Tim Zahn created Mara Jade Skywalker 100% himself. There was NO input from Lucas Books here on this character.

    Just sayin’

    A.

  13. Kataja

    I appreciate the well balanced statement you’ve made here!
    And as Glenn commented “Remember, just because Mara has died almost 40 years ABY doesn’t mean that more won’t be written about her.”

    I certainly hope, that we heartbroken fans of Mara will get consolation by a lot of great stories that fill in the gaps.
    Obi-Wan died 30 years ago (our time) and he has never been more active than he is today – I trust Mara will come back with a vengeance!

  14. Donsinluv

    I’m out for a while and everybody gets delusions of . . . death? Or sacrifice. Or something. Maybe the obnoxious orange bows at the wedding were bad luck after all.

  15. Rebekah

    Oh, this is years later and I still miss the Redhead…but like another fan, I came to the EU and all for Star Wars, and I’m still around for the friends….I’ll Channel Mara this weekend! Nerfhide outfit and all
    MTFBWY, ALways
    Reb

  16. PadawanTano

    I actually just started the series this year. (I’m 13) I personally think the book was VERY well done. I sobbed my heart out. This was the most upset I’ve ever been over a book. I thought it was cool that Ben just knew where she was. *sniff* she was amazing! I hate JS SO much!!!!

  17. Pingback: A brief history of Mara Jade’s catsuit – and why I’m sick of it

  18. Jack Colby

    I still think Zahn’s trilogy, while not perfect, was among the best the EU has given us. And his original characters felt like they really belonged in Star Wars despite not being imitations of existing movie character types, unlike a lot of what I have seen out there in EU-land. Mara was definitely a worthy addition, although I was not a fan of how other authors wrote her character later. It just didn’t feel like her anymore, and I think they tended to treat her as a “hot space babe” when she was actually a well-realized character and deserved more than that. However, I did not read the later books, so maybe I am way off and some non-Zahn authors did her justice!

  19. Haruo Chikamori

    You know what, I think Adam Savage of Mythbusters said it perfectly as far as “Mara Jade” is concerned for me.

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

    ~evil grin~

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