Mara Jade

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Mara Jade Skywalker
Star Wars character
Mara Jade (right) and Luke Skywalker (left) with their son Ben Skywalker
First appearance Heir to the Empire
Last appearance Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
Created by Timothy Zahn
Portrayed by Shannon McRandle (for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game)
Voiced by
Species Human
Gender Female
Occupation Emperor's Hand, smuggler, trader, Jedi Master
Affiliation Galactic Empire
Smugglers' Alliance
New Republic
Galactic Alliance
Family Leia Organa-Solo (sister-in-law)
Han Solo (brother-in-law)
Jaina Solo (niece)
Jacen Solo (nephew)
Anakin Solo (nephew)
Spouse(s) Luke Skywalker
Children Ben Skywalker (son)
Homeworld Coruscant

Mara Jade Skywalker is a fictional character in Star Wars Legends books, comic books, and computer games. She is the wife of Luke Skywalker and mother of Ben Skywalker; in the different video games, she is voiced by Heidi Shannon, Edie Mirman and Kath Soucie.

Concept and development[edit]

Mara Jade was introduced in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire (1991). Zahn imagined Jade as a strong, complex female character, which he found was lacking in the Star Wars universe. While competent, she is also flawed.[1] When the Thrawn Trilogy ended in 1993 with The Last Command, Zahn thought it was the last book for which he would develop the character.[2] When Zahn was asked to write another novel, he established two goals: "to end the war between the New Republic and the Empire, and to get Luke Skywalker and Mara together."[2] Although Lucasfilm initially resisted the idea of Luke marrying Mara, they eventually acquiesced.[2]

Compared to Star Wars' sole iconic female character, Princess Leia, Zahn said, "Mara has a sharper and more sarcastic manner, and of course, she had to go through the painful realization that her service had been to an evil cause. But they're both women who are strong without sacrificing their femininity, a balance which I think some authors have trouble writing. Bear in mind too, that Leia was one of the first people in the New Republic who decided Mara could be trusted, which perhaps says something about their understanding of each other."[3]

In 2006, Zahn called Mara and Grand Admiral Thrawn his favorite characters out of those he created, saying that "Mara, with her attitude and her Jedi skills, is just plain fun to write, especially when she's in opposition—or in partnership—with Luke."[4] In a 1998 Star Wars Insider poll of fans' favorite Star Wars characters, Mara Jade was the only expanded universe character to break the top 20.


Mara Jade is introduced as smuggler Talon Karrde's second-in-command in Heir to the Empire, the novel establishes that she was previously an "Emperor's Hand"—a special agent—for Emperor Palpatine. Several stories depict Jade before the events in Heir to the Empire, showing her training under Palpatine and executing his orders, the Thrawn trilogy depicts Mara's first confrontation with Luke Skywalker, whom she has sworn to kill to avenge Palpatine's death (Palpatine having sent her a faked image of Luke and Vader turning on him together, rather than Vader killing Palpatine on his own and the demand for Luke's death simply motivated by Palpatine's desire for revenge against his father rather than Luke himself having done anything). This was reinforced by the Emperor's final telepathic command to assassinate Luke, which had plagued her thoughts since his death; upon learning this situation, Luke vowed to help Mara break Palpatine's hold on her, regardless of the danger she posed to him. Towards the end of the trilogy, she turns against the Empire and resolves her anger toward Luke and silences the command without killing him, instead killing Luke's cloneLuuke Skywalker— who had been made by the Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth to challenge Luke. In doing so, she took Anakin Skywalker's blue lightsaber (which Luuke was using), and used it instead of Luke's green lightsaber to defeat C'baoth, at the close of The Last Command, Luke gives her Anakin's lightsaber not only because she had earned it, but because he truly wanted her to have it. Over the course of the series, Luke recognizes in Mara an underdeveloped affinity for the Force; and although she initially resists Jedi training, she eventually becomes a Jedi Master.

Luke and Mara develop a strong bond in Zahn's The Hand of Thrawn Duology; he proposes marriage, and the two wed in Michael A. Stackpole's graphic novel Union.[5] She delivers a son, Ben, during The New Jedi Order series; in the Legacy of the Force series, Mara becomes suspicious of her nephew, Jacen Solo, when he sends Ben on several ethically dubious missions. Upon learning that Jacen has become a Sith apprentice, Mara vows to kill him, but Jacen ultimately kills her in Sacrifice, she later appears as a Force ghost, first to Ben and then to Luke, in Revelation. She also appears as a Force ghost to Cade Skywalker in the Legacy comics, set more than a century after the Star Wars films.

Other appearances[edit]

Mara was portrayed by model Shannon McRandle (as Shannon Baksa) on several cards in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. Meeting her was also a mission objective in the now defunct massively multiplayer online game Star Wars Galaxies, she is a playable character in Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi,. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Star Wars: Empire at War and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. She also narrates the Imperial campaign in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.[citation needed]

Mara appears in the short story "Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade", by Timothy Zahn, in the anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace; in this story, she infiltrates Jabba the Hutt's palace as a dancing girl in order to assassinate Luke Skywalker under orders of the Emperor, but misses her chance when Jabba drops him into the Rancor's lair and he escapes.


Mara Jade was chosen by IGN as the 19th top Star Wars character.[6] IGN's Jesse Schedeen also listed the character as the top 10th Star Wars hero, noting that she "entered the Expanded Universe early, and she's stuck around for so long because she's just a great character".[7] UGO Networks called the character the seventh top Star Wars Expanded Universe character, calling her complex.[8] In 2006, Zahn called Mara and Thrawn his favorite characters out of those he created.[4]

Appearances in literature[edit]


Thrawn trilogy
The Hand of Thrawn
Legacy of the Force
Hand of Judgement


  • Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand; graphic novel (1999)
  • Mara Jade: A Night on the Town, comic in Star Wars Tales 1


  1. ^ Carter, Jeff. "Star Wars Per-Zahn-Ified". Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2008-03-18. Mara [is] a strong female character (which were few and far between in the Star Wars movies), but she's also flawed and searching and—dare we say it?—human. At the same time, she's highly competent at her job. 
  2. ^ a b c "Timothy Zahn". Interviews – Face To Face With The Masters. TheForce.Net. 2008-03-13. 
  3. ^ Carter, Jeff. "Star Wars Per Zahn-Ified". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Timothy Zahn: Outbound Flight Arrival". January 31, 2006. Archived from the original on February 4, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ Stackpole, Michael A. (w). Union comic series (1999–2000), Dark Horse Comics
  6. ^ "Top 100 Star Wars Characters". IGN. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Jesse Schedeen (14 August 2008). "Top 25 Star Wars Heroes: Day 4". IGN. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Adam Rosenburg (1 July 2008). "Top 50 Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 

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