June 30 Night Thread of Mara Jade

Not having been able to pull together a Mellotron theme that seemed to fit this slot, I thought that it would be fun to ring out June and say hello to the weekend by giving a shout out to Star Wars’ most conspicuously-absent classic character.

Mara Jade was introduced by Timothy Zahn in his classic 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, basically the cornerstone work of the old Expanded Universe (aka “Legends”). She is presented as a person working in the civilian sector, talented but haunted by her past and triggered by Luke Skywalker when their paths cross. This is because she is Force-sensitive and her past life involved being the Emperor’s personal operative. His death left her with a large item of baggage in the form of a ringing command to kill Skywalker.

That’s just where the story begins. From the outside looking in, in a nutshell Mara was the Ahsoka of her day, a breakout character popular enough to be one of the faces of the franchise, and probably the most significant new female personality in Star Wars between the releases of the original and prequel trilogies. She featured in novels and comics of her own and has appeared several times in action figure form.

Following are some visualizations of Mara, always interesting to see for a book-first character. The header artwork is by Anthony Foti and it’s worth opening in a new tab to see the whole thing uncropped by WordPress; the comic snippet above is from the Heir to the Empire graphic novel adaptation (pencils/ink/coloring by Vatine/Blanchard/Rabarot).

Possibly her visual debut, bit of a one-off camouflage jumpsuit look, art by Tom Jung.

Official model Shannon McRandle, who portrayed Mara in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. Here is a cool interview with McRandle.

Maybe my personal favorite depiction, in Drew Struzan’s cover painting for the novel Vision of the Future (this is the whole thing without the book’s title and other text).

Where is Mara Jade these days? Surprisingly, unlike her Heir to the Empire classmate Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara has not appeared in any new media during the post-George Lucas era, save showing up in the Galaxy of Heroes mobile game.

Speaking of games, she also featured in the Playstation 1 fighter Masters of Teräs Käsi — itself amusingly referenced in Solo: A Star Wars Story — from whence we inherit this amazing screencap:

“This galaxy’s not big enough for both of us to wear the same outfit.”

Have a great Friday evening or Saturday morning!