“The Jedi were not the only users of the Force in the galaxy; from Hapes to Haruun Kal, from Kiffu to Dathomir, powerful Force-capable humans and near humans had long reused to surrent their children to lifelong bound servitude in the Jedi Order. They would not so refuse the Sith Army. They would not have the choice.Dooku’s thoughts, ROTS novelization
Mara Jade was taken as a child by the Emperor and trained to be ‘The Emperor’s Hand’. She could hear his voice from across the galaxy. Mara truly believed in the the Emperor and the Empire. She believed by serving him, she was being of service to the galaxy.
Her only vague memory is a shadow of parents who didn’t want her to go. She didn’t have family until she married Luke Skywalker, his family became hers. They had one son, Ben.
Mara became involved with Talon Karrde’s organization. She made friends there and eventually, with Jedi and Luke’s family. She also trained with Kyle Katarn to improve her Jedi skills.
Jaina Solo was her apprentice, once the young woman graduated the Academy training.
The Role of the Hand
Maul was a behind the scenes assassin and Dooku a seducer who lured people to the Separatist cause. Mara was not taught to be a Sith but she did fill in that role of assassin and agent some of the former apprentices had. Her training in using the Force allowed her to fight for Imperial justice and take down criminals as well as corrupt Imperial officials.
Mara wasn’t the first Hand or even the only one. She was the best and likely the favorite, as she had been trained from such a very young age. Vader may well have seen her as a rival, which puzzled her as their duties were so different. They both served the Empire. She couldn’t have known she was treated by Palpatine much as he’d once treated Anakin Skywalker.
One of her last jobs was to infiltrate Jabba the Hutt’s palace and kill Luke Skywalker when he went to rescue Solo. Due to an unexpected layer of security and the Hutt resistance to mind control, she failed.
As the Emperor died, he reached out one last time and gave her a false message of both Luke and Vader turning on him and killing him while he was defenseless.
Mara immediately was forced on the run by Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard. Isard knew the Emperor had trusted her, but had been unable to find out why. Mara escaped her custody but found her options limited. She was outside the chain of command, so she had no support in the Empire. Her resources had been those of the Empire, therefore she had no money, ship, or wardrobe. Jade had her lightsaber, blaster, and her training in the Force. Jade’s Force powers were tied to Palpatine and soon after his death began to fade.
After his death she fell in with Talon Karrde, a smuggler chief who began grooming to be his right hand. It was working for him that led her to a meeting with Luke Skywalker which would affect the rest of her life. She would eventually become the leader of the Smuggler Alliance, which allied itself loosely with the New Republic by selling information on Imperial activities.
Challenges and Accomplishments
Her greatest challenge was losing her identity. When she actually met Luke Skywalker, he accepted her without fear in spite of her hatred. Mara was very loyal to those she worked with, she also had been left with the need for an escape route. She didn’t have one when the Emperor died and she swore never to make this mistake again. Yet this unwillingness to trust had to go if she was truly to become a Jedi.
Victims run off and hide. Prey runs off and hides. But I’m not a victim. And I’m not prey. I’m the Emperor’s Hand. I am the ultimate predator. And it’s time for Dequc and Black Nebula to dieMara during her hunt for Dequc in Mara Jade, By the Emperor’s Hand
Mara was first introduced in the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn.
Stories Starring Mara Jade
- Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
- Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
- Mara Jade, a Night on the Town (Star Wars Tales (DH))
- Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade by Timothy Zahn – from Tales of Jabba’s Palace
- Mara Jade, by the Emperor’s Hand by Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole (comic)
- First Contact – by Timothy Zahn, from Tales of the Empire
- Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
- -Heir to the Empire
- -Dark Force Rising
- -The Last Command
- I, Jedi by Michael Stackpole
- Mysteries of the Sith (Dark Forces Jedi Knight video game expansion)
- The Corellian Trilogy by Roger Allen McBride
- Spectre of the Past/Vision of the Future Duology by Timothy Zahn
- Union by Michael Stackpole
- Survivor’s Quest by Timothy Zahn
- New Jedi Order by multiple authors
- Swarm War trilogy by Troy Denning
- Legacy of the Force, by Multiple authors