Entertainment Weekly is dropping the name “Mara Jade” again, this time in reference to The Mandalorian and Jon Favreau keeps things mostly diplomatic:
“I don’t want to talk about anything that might be fun for people to discover,” Favreau says. “We do have conversations. Part of what’s fun to see if we could merge the worlds of the original trilogy, the prequels, the sequels, The Clones [sic] Wars, and what’s been considered canon up to this point and what’s been considered part of Legends. I think this show offers an opportunity to bring in all those elements so no matter what your flavor of Star Wars ice cream you like there will be something to enjoy. But you’re asking the right questions.”
They also mention Thrawn, who of course has already been brought back, and while canon, currently resides in a plot limbo of Dave Filoni’s making. So him returning in The Mandalorian is somewhat possible – though, I suspect, unlikely. But never say never, particularly with Filoni involved in the show.
But Mara Jade, on the other hand… My own take on her coming to canon is only a little different than the last time something Mara-adjacent was unearthed – also involving Mandos, and at the hand of Dave Filoni, when her “Emperor’s Hand” title showed up on Rebels being used by… Some dude. (Sorry, Clone Wars fans. I can’t.) As I said then, she’s not a simple port, like Thrawn was.
Quite frankly, I think the ship has sailed. I don’t think she’s ever going to be canon. I don’t think anyone in any position of power is interested enough in the character to bother, and the only person who’s still active who might is Tim Zahn himself, and even if Lucasfilm would allow it…
I don’t think he should be the one to do it, either.
(Yes, I am going here.)
Zahn created the character, but a lot has happened since then. Mara Jade was pretty cool back in 1991, but it was nearly 30 years ago, and for anyone without an attachment to Legends, or decades of fanfic, I’m honestly not sure the character actually holds up. If she’s going to come back, she needs a drastic reinvention, and quite frankly I’m only interested in that if there’s a woman handling it.
There’s potential to Mara and we saw so much of it squandered over the years – in Legends, under an official sanction that was underwhelming at best, casually vindictive at worse. I’m not really interested in going through all that again. Unless there’s someone in the wings who actually wants to revive the character, and do it properly, best let her go.
And I just can’t see that happening in Favreau and Filoni’s Mandalorian, no matter how many 90s Dark Horse vibes it gives off. There’s a lot of Legends stuff that will fit far more seamlessly, and with much less baggage. They can have it all. Hell, if they want to paint Pedro Pascal blue and reveal he’s Thrawn’s Mandalorian cousin, all I will do is shrug. But Mara? Let’s not.