One of the most devastating blows to my Star Wars fanaticism was the day Disney announced the Expanded Universe (EU) was canon no more, and would now be reclassified as “Legends”. I had bonded with the Expanded Universe characters; as pathetic as it may sound, there were times they were my closest — and only — friends.
In a way, the move to erase it as Canon was like watching the death of something you hold dear. While it still existed, it would never exist in the same way. For myself, it was about a lot of things, including the death of hopes, dreams, and years of research and work.
Becoming a writer for the Star Wars novels has been my goal since I was a teenager. I spent years researching, planning, and plotting for the perfect proposal story to pitch. Every thread needed to be perfect. I stitched together every variable. My story was foolproof, sliding into the EU with exact precision, incapable of upsetting any other stories within it.
While I’m certain I could take my beloved grey Jedi into the new canon, it still wouldn’t be the same.
More than that, it was painful to see so many wonderful, amazing characters who would never be realized into the Star Wars cinematic universe. Characters like Mara Jade, Corran Horn, Jacen & Jaina Solo, Kyle Katarn, Starkiller, Thrawn… the list goes on and on.
Much like most things in life, things move on to appease a new crowd. And while the old subset of Star Wars fans was immersed in a deeply rich world, Disney and Lucasfilm wanted to reach out to newer generations. It stung, but it was understandable.
They would have been remiss, however, to not attempt to appease Expanded Universe fans in some manner. Whether they’ve admitted it or not, it is very evident (especially following The Last Jedi) that Kylo and Rey are re-imaginings of Jacen and Jaina. Everything from their personalities down to behaviours, skill subsets, and natural talents are reflections of the twins. Now, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the Jacen/Jaina storyline will come into play, but it does demonstrate — to me anyhow — the level of respect those working on the new instalments have for the work of the EU.
Films set outside the SW narrative, such as Rogue One and the upcoming Solo movie, show a desire to once again expand beyond the ‘main’ characters and storylines. This could also mean seeing characters pulled from that expansion into the main stories, as often happened in the EU.
In April, news broke that Star Wars 9 was casting for a female between the ages of 40-50 to be cast in a prominent role. The name on the casting call is for “Mara”. There’s hopes/rumours this could be Mara Jade, the wife of Luke Skywalker, a former assassin of the Emperor, and a Jedi Knight in the EU.
ThatHashTagShow.Com was one of the first to break the news on April 20th, 2018. While this whole thing is just speculation as of right now, the fact remains that to use such a specific character name could mean something big.
— Charles Murphy, ThatHashTagShow.com
As Cooper Hood of Screen Rant suggested, using Mara’s name in the casting call could be indicative of her character being involved even if she’s not called Mara Jade. Much like Kylo and Rey, this character could easily have the talents, experience, and personality of her original namesake. The only real change would be name and backstory.
Admittedly, I’m not sure I will ever fully get over the reduction of the Expanded Universe to Legend. However, I am definitely excited to see where this all goes.
In the meantime, I’ll be getting my Star Wars fix with Solo next Thursday. I promise to try *really hard* not to post spoilers anywhere.