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Has Star Wars finally found its live-action Mara Jade? If recent casting news is any indication, that may very well be the case. Sources have revealed to Variety that Keri Russell is indeed joining the cast of Episode XI, set to begin production later this month.

According to the Variety article, Abrams and studio execs have been eyeing Russell for an unnamed role for some time, deciding on Russell just before Independence Day earlier this week. Russell and Abrams already have history; they’ve previously worked together, having collaborated on the third installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Abrams’s major motion picture directorial debut.

As Charles Murphy exclusively reported here at That Hashtag Show back in April, Disney and LucasFilm were looking to cast a female lead in the 40-50 year old range to play the role of “MARA”, leading to speculation that the Expanded Universe character of Mara Jade, Emperor’s Hand and eventual wife to none other than Luke Skywalker, would finally be making her way into canon. You can read that article here:


Keri Russell certainly meets the character criteria, and, if she’s to play the Thrawn Trilogy favorite, Mara Jade, she’s certainly got the look right down to the flowing red locks.

She’s also more than capable of handling the rigors of the role, which the studio says calls for heavy action and fighting scenes, having performed stunt work on the previously mentioned Mission: Impossible III and over the course of her several seasons as an undercover agent on The Americans.

While the role Russell will play remains up for speculation, all signs seem to indicate that a Mara Jade appearance is inching closer to reality.