Shooting is set to begin on Star Wars 9 this summer. J.J. Abrams is currently in the pre-production stage. Since the shooting start date is only a handful of months away, Abrams and casting director Nina Gold are looking for new actors and actresses to pull into the Star Wars universe. One actress is needed between the ages of 40 and 50 years old to play one of the movie's lead roles, who is only identified as "Mara." If true, this could mean that Mara Jade from the Legends Universe, once known as the Expanded Universe, will be making an appearance in Star Wars 9.

From the late 1970s to 2012, the Star Wars books, comic books, video games, and other materials outside of the movies and The Clone Wars TV series were known collectively as the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This all famously changed when Disney stepped in and purchased Lucasfilm and referred to the material as Legends. In doing so, they made the decision to take everything out of the official canon, angering many hardcore fans. However, Lucasfilm has been diving pretty deep into the old Expanded Universe to fit some of this stuff into the new movies, like the Cloud Rider gang in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

If this new report is to be believed, Star Wars 9 could be reaching deep into the old Expanded Universe to bring in Mara Jade. The character was a lot of things over the years but started as the Hand of Emperor Palpatine. Jade is known as a powerful Force user and was ordered to kill Luke Skywalker by the Emperor. Skywalker was able to escape the assassination attempt and in addition, he was able to break the Emperor's power over Mara Jade, which led her to go rogue. She later worked alongside Skywalker and developed a respect for him. The two later fell in love, got married, had children, and trained a new generation of Jedi.

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While the addition of Mara Jade to Star Wars 9 would be really exciting for hardcore fans, it is pure speculation at this time. Lucasfilm and other studios usually use codenames when casting, but the age of the actress seems more than just coincidence. It would go a long way in possibly fixing some of the problems that many fans had with The Last Jedi, but it would also be something that would be pretty hard to explain, unless it's told in flashbacks.

Star Wars 9 is all set to begin production in July, so we'll hopefully get some answers when the cameras officially start rolling. Even if it's not Mara Jade, who will this mystery actress be? Could we be getting a look at Rey's "nobody" parents? Perhaps a new general for the Resistance? Or are we going to get to see Mara Jade show up in Star Wars 9? While we wait to solve the mystery, you can check out the original report over at That Hashtag Show.

Kevin Burwick