Star Wars Insider #142 with Padmé on the cover is ending its run at bookstores and newsstands in advance of Issue #143 hitting mailboxes.
Late last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the Expanded Universe books in an article that appeared in its Arena section. The Arena front page featured the victorious Rebels pose from the end of A New Hope and introduced Expanded Universe novices to the basics. Jaina gets a mention in the first paragraph, as a Jedi Master no less.
In Troy Denning’s new “Star Wars” novel, “Crucible,” Han Solo is a 75-year-old grandfather who’s still fighting bounty hunters, gamblers and hit men. His wife, Princess Leia, has become a Jedi knight, and remains stunning in her mid-60s, thanks in part to her ability to use the Force to regenerate skin cells. Leia’s twin, Luke Skywalker, is a lonely widower who runs a Jedi Academy, and trained Han and Leia’s 35-year-old daughter, Jaina, a Jedi Master.
NPR followed up Tuesday with an interview with the Journal’s writer, Alexandra Alter. Both reports seem to misrepresent the actual process between Lucasfilm and its licensees as fans have understood it, suggesting that Lucasfilm “provide[s] writers with really detailed plot points.” Keeper of the Holocron Leland Chee clarified the process in a tweet.
Books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have proven to be a powerful vehicle to build a fanbase, especially among women. The LA Times Hero Complex points to the $408M box office of Hunger Games. “[Katniss's] success has also helped fuel a continuing, voracious appetite in Hollywood for sci-fi inflected tales featuring young women in empowered roles.” So the timing of the recent book coverage is curious.
Mara may have been the sacrificial lamb of the books’ flagship storyline, but that hasn’t stopped her from making her mark elsewhere recently. On their Facebook page, Kotobukiya revealed preview artwork for their next EU bishoujo statue – Mara Jade. Her one-time apprentice Jaina Solo hit shelves earlier year. In addition, Emperor’s Hand Mara Jade appears on the cover of the upcoming expansion of Fantasy Flight Games Balance of the Force. And after winning the Hasbro|Star Wars Insider 2011 Fans’ Choice Figure poll, her action figure has now been revealed. (via Club Jade/YodasNews)
Based on the reaction to my posting of the Kotobukiya image on the Fangirl Zone Facebook page – over 3000 views and 15 shares in a couple hours – Mara still has huge fan appeal. Even her creator Timothy Zahn had a fanboy moment when Molly Quinn from Disney|ABC’s Castle cosplayed “Mara Jade Skywalker” for Course of the Force. (jump to 2:24 mark)
Finally, female characters in Star Wars have been a hot topic across podcasts. On the ForceCast #261, Leia’s and Padmé’s strengths and weaknesses were discussed, as well as how their roles in the movies have affected the books. Dunc visited Full of Sith, and she talked about how the Mara fansite Club Jade came into being, along with her insights into the character and the Expanded Universe fandom. On Coffee With Kenobi, readers,the hosts and I shared the ways Padmé, Leia, Ahsoka, Shmi, and other female characters have served as inspirations in our lives.
Is the timing random? Maybe, maybe not. How about some new female characters popping up? Check out this Chiss female on the cover of the new Edge of the Empire: Enter the Unknown sourcebook.
And a reminder: If you’re not going to San Diego Comic-Con, the Mara and Jaina shirts will be offered for sale online for a limited time only starting today at Her Universe, which has been recently updated.
Tricia is putting the finishing touches on her first novel, Wynde – a military science fiction with a fantastical twist that features heroines Vespa Wynde and Gemini Reed. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.