Before [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) was even released, fans have been wondering about how Luke Skywalker's life in the new movie canon is different to his story in the Expanded Universe. The books, comics, and games released after the original Star Wars trilogy ended were all originally canon, and continued the saga's plot.
In the EU, Luke Skywalker was instrumental in establishing the New Republic, founded a new Jedi Order, and he also had a family. With fans desperate to know the origins of The Force Awakens' hero, Rey, many are theorising that she might actually be Luke Skywalker's child.
* spoilers ahead! *
So does this mean we will see Luke's wife in Star Wars 8, or Rogue One? And how will this mirror the Expanded Universe?
Luke Skywalker's Wife
There's a lot of mystery about what happened in the 30 years between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens. Some of the new canon books have helped fill in the blanks (especially when it comes to the rise of the First Order, and Poe Dameron's backstory). But so far Luke Skywalker has been stubbornly absent from the stories set between the original trilogy and the new one, which means all possibilities are still open.
The Expanded Universe explored the idea of Luke falling in love and getting married. Enter Luke's primary love interest, Mara Jade, an ex-assassin who eventually became a Jedi Knight. Mara Jade is pretty damn awesome as a person - determined, ruthless yet compassionate, with a hilarious deadpan sense of humour. And her story is very interesting: Mara Jade was known as the Emperor's Hand, as Palpatine used her to run covert missions.
"She is, shall we say, an experiment." - Palpatine, referring to Mara Jade.
We first encounter Mara Jade as she attempts to carry out the Emperor's final mission: to kill Luke Skywalker. Obviously she doesn't succeed, and as the two are forced to work together they gradually fall in love. Luke actually gives Mara Jade the legendary Skywalker saber (you know, the one Rey wields in The Force Awakens), and the two eventually marry and have a child: Ben Skywalker.
I'm not going to go into the details, but if you want to know more about Mara Jade she first appears in the Thrawn Trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn. Her story then continues throughout the EU, and she even got her own prequel comic book series, published by Marvel comics. So is there a chance we'll see Mara Jade in the new Star Wars films? It's actually more likely than you might expect...
EU Parallels In Star Wars 7
When the EU was declared non-canon, many fans held out hope that Mara Jade would still appear in the films, or that a new character would be created to would mirror her. At first this seemed unlikely... until Kylo Ren was revealed to be the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. His story is very similar to that of Jacen Solo, Han and Leia's son from the EU who also turned to the Dark Side.
And the parallels don't end there. Many fans have pointed out that Finn also mirrors the EU character Kyle Katarn, a stormtrooper who defects and later trains to become a Jedi Knight.
Lucasfilm have a group of writers dedicated to maintaining the Star Wars story continuity. If there's a parallel to the EU in Star Wars 7, it's because the Lucasfilm Story Group intended there to be one. Although they are ultimately creating new stories, the Lucasfilm writers are aware of what's come before, and there are definite homages to the EU in the new films.
Is Luke's Wife In Episode 8... Or Rogue One?
We've established that the possibility remains that Luke Skywalker had a wife between episodes 6 and 7, because the new films parallel the EU on a few points. Got it. So what does that mean for Episode 8? Well, if Luke did have a wife it seems she might be dead by the time The Force Awakens rolls around...
This is a screenshot from Episode 7's final scene, and it definitely seems as though Luke is standing by a grave, marked by that rock-like tombstone. Or uh... it's just a rock. In any case, it seems that our best bet for meeting Luke's wife in the flesh is actually Rogue One, which will be released December of this year.
Unfortunately, right now it seems that there's only one female character in Rogue One (seriously, Lucasfilm?): the as yet unnamed protagonist played by Felicity Jones. Many fans are already theorising that she is being set up as Luke Skywalker's future love interest, which would make a lot of sense.
Rogue One ties neatly into the original trilogy, as the plot follows the group of rebels who steal the plans to the first Death Star. But it would be wise of Lucasfilm to establish a link to Episode 8 as well, to build hype for the next Star Wars film. Until December we won't know for sure, but Rogue One's protagonist is already rumoured to be a morally ambiguous badass, with a very personal connection to the Emperor. And if that doesn't scream Mara Jade, I don't know what does.
(Plus, there are tons of clues that she's Rey's mother. Which is good news for all of you who want Rey to be a Skywalker.)