Is a major Star Wars Expanded Universe character being cast for Episode IX?

Star Wars Legends art

Tons of rumors and speculation surround the Star Wars Universe, especially in this time where creations are being thrown at fans left and right. But one Star Wars rumor has fans talking about a potential Expanded Universe character making it into the Skywalker saga.

With only a few months away from filming beginning on the untitled Star Wars: Episode IX movie, director J.J. Abrams and casting director Nina Gold are reportedly looking to pull new actors and actresses into the Star Wars universe. One of which is rumored to be named "Mara". If this is true, it's possible that this means Mara Jade.

The character has been a lot of things over time but originated as the Hand of Emperor Palpatine. She was a powerful Force user and was ordered to kill Luke by the Emperor, bringing an added complexity to the Light Side / Dark Side conflict in the Skywalker saga. She later worked alongside Luke and respected him, eventually falling in love, getting married, and having children.

While the addition of Mara Jade would be exciting to hardcore fans of the Star Wars universe, namely the Expanded Universe, it's unclear how the character could be introduced into the sequel trilogy's story. Could she be Luke's wife from before his exile on Ahch-To, or maybe even a general in the Resistance? The latter would seem unlikely unless she were recruited after the events of The Last Jedi since, at the end of TLJ, we're left with only a handful of Resistance fighters fleeing the planet Crait on the Millennium Falcon.

Another possibility is the character "Mara" is actually not Mara Jade, but maybe a look at what's still rumored to be Rey's uncertain parentage. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren told Rey her parents were nobody, just useless junk traders who left her on Jakku for drinking money. However, director Rian Johnson has even confirmed that her parentage could still be left open for Abrams to do what he wants, and would make sense seeing as Ren was trying to persuade her to turn to the Dark Side.

Star Wars: Episode IX is set to begin filming in July, so it'll be some time before we get confirmation on whether this is speculation or actually going to happen. Is this something you'd be excited to see in the final film of the sequel trilogy?
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