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Casting the Galaxy: Mara Jade

It’s Tim from Open-Airlock Policy back with the penultimate entry in the Heir to the Empire casting call for the 30th anniversary! The last two castings are for two characters of supreme importance to the story and to the future of the Star Wars universe. This time, we’re going to look at Mara Jade. This was the toughest casting for me, as I have never really had anyone in mind for the role.

Mara Jade was introduced as a mysterious woman working for other new character Talon Karrde in his smuggling organization. It was made clear she was effective and worthy of promotion within the group. Slowly, Zahn revealed that she had been an Imperial operative directly working for The Emperor. Due to his influence, she had an insatiable desire to kill Luke Skywalker.

For this role, I wanted to go with a natural redhead. As well, I wanted someone that was relatively unknown. I needed someone who had an edge. I needed someone with the look. I go to Robin Christopher, who was already a seasoned soap-opera actress by the time we’d be filming the movie. If we started filming in ‘93, she’d already have a science-fiction role under her belt, playing a prominent Bajoran in two episodes in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

The role of Mara in the trilogy primarily calls for a lot of anger, ruthlessness, and some quippy remarks. If you look at Ms. Christopher’s work in All My Children, Another World, and General Hospital, she fits the bill. If you are unfamiliar with her work, check out some scenes on YouTube. Like most soap-opera scenes, they can be pretty melodramatic, but let’s be honest...much of the dialogue in that Myrkr forest was pretty melodramatic...and necessarily so.

Star Wars was built on unknown actors bringing their own personalities and “package(s) of reality” (to quote George Lucas) to the roles and making them their own. Robin Christopher would have had the ability to do so with the iconic character of Mara Jade in the mid-90s.

Who would you cast as Mara Jade during the mid-90s in an HttE adaptation?

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