Dave Filoni’s New Republic Movie Could Introduce a Major Star Wars Legends Character

During Star Wars Celebration 2023, it was revealed that Dave Filoni was set to direct a film that would serve as the denouement of the story he and Jon Favreau have been and will continue telling through their “Mando-verse” streaming series. While it’s easy to look at that film as the end of the stories told in the New Republic era, it’s also important to remember that, at present, two additional eras are open to the telling of further stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Given that the New Republic era can now be seen as a bridge connecting Luke Skywalker’s Age of Rebellion stories to his epilogue in the Rise of the First Order stories, it is worth considering if Filoni, who has shown a penchant for bringing non-canon/Legends characters into the modern Star Wars canon may choose to use his film to bring one of the most popular Legends characters into canon.

An increasingly popular theory is that Filoni’s New Republic-era film will be an adaptation of Timothy Zanh‘s 1991 now non-canonical novel, Heir to the Empire. That novel, set nine years after the Battle of Yavin, introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has since been adopted into canon and will soon be portrayed in live-action by Lars Mikkelsen. During the Ahsoka trailer which debuted at Star Wars Celebration, the phrase “heir to the Empire”, uttered by Rosario Dawson‘s titular character, created a significant buzz that the next chapter of stories in Filoni’s Mando-verse might be an adaptation of Zahn’s iconic Thrawn trilogy and, if that is the case, Thrawn will hardly be the only major character making a canonical live-action debut.

Further evidence that the Mando-verse stories might begin to adapt and include Zahn’s trilogy came in Chapter 23 of The Mandalorian when Gilad Pellaeon made his live-action debut as part of the second iteration of The Shadow Council. While Pellaeon played a minor role Star Wars Rebels, he played a much larger role in Thrawn’s plans in the non-canon Zahn trilogy. If Pellaeon is going to play a role, no matter now small, in Star Wars canon, it’s possible another of the Emperor’s servants–indeed the Emperor’s Hand–could appear in Filioni’s film.

There is, perhaps, no Legends character whose addition to canon is more anticipated than Mara Jade’s. Once one of Palpatine’s most trusted assassins tasked with killing Luke Skywalker, Jade eventually married Luke and played a key role in the foundation of the New Jedi Order. Jade played a major role in one of the non-canonical novels’ most well-known conflicts, the Yuuzhan Vong War, which, coincidentally, would bridge a major gap in the current canonical eras. Would Filoni introduce Mara Jade/Mara Skywalker into the Star Wars canon? Given the work he and Favreau have done with Legends characters and concepts over the years, it’s nowhere near out of the question that Jade could soon be introduced into their Mando-verse and then quickly become a main character in the Rise of the First Order and New Jedi Order timelines.

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