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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 11:26am
by Vendetta
Patroklos wrote:
2019-12-29 10:50am
One EU reading fan’s spending is worth many times the revenue generated by the casual one screening each movie fan.

A consistent EU fan from the OT times is probably worth thousands of times what that casual fan brings in.
Not really.

Not just because companies like fat bank in one financial year because that makes shareholders happy and shareholders these days are all about that short term reward, but also because that EU spending all has ongoing costs because you have to keep making new stuff to keep feeding the whales rather than one up-front cost that can be recouped many times over (particularly in the age of streaming).

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 11:33am
by ray245
Elfdart wrote:
2019-12-29 09:57am
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-22 02:32pm
The box office isn't doing too well. It might actually make less than a billion worldwide at the box office.
OH NO! :shock:

Unless they spent $500 million to shoot and distribute the movie, this is beyond silly, like when the Red Letter Moron claimed TPM was a failure when it earned a billion at the box office.
ROI for blockbusters is never as high as people think, because of hidden cost. Marketing is rarely factored in, and for a big movie like Star Wars, the marketing budget can easily run up to 200 million. Also, movies don't get all the money back from the box office. Half of it goes to the cinemas themselves, so a movie that earns a billion worldwide might only see 500 million for the studio.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-12-29 10:23am
While there is something faintly ridiculous about claiming a billion dollar movie which turned a profit is a failure, and in any case popularity is not an indication of quality (ie, appeal to popularity fallacy), it is significant for a couple of reasons:

First, while box office numbers are not a measure of quality, they are the measure a lot of Disney execs and shareholders are likely to care most about. There can be little doubt that the lower box office numbers of TLJ and especially Solo were a factor in driving this about-face by Disney (albeit a poorly-considered one, given that Solo, a film seemingly designed to pander to OT fans flopped hard, while TLJ's lower numbers were roughly in-line with the pattern of the prior two trilogies, in which the second film always grossed significantly less than the first). So if Rise of Skywalker underperforms, that might make Disney reevaluate their approach (although given their track record so far, they'll probably just blame its failure on a continuing backlash to TLJ, and double-down on OT fanboy pandering).

Its particularly significant if Rise of Skywalker performs below TLJ, as the pattern in the prior trilogies was "First film is a massive box office hit, second is much less profitable, the third does better than the second but not as well as the first". The panic over TLJ's numbers, and claims that they proved the film was a failure, were therefore highly questionable, because TLJ was simply fitting the same pattern as Empire Strikes Back, and it was ludicrous of Disney to expect every film to have numbers on par with TFA's. But Rise of Skywalker performing lower than TLJ (which it grossing under a billion worldwide definitely would be) would be bucking the pattern, and a possible sign of an overall decline/loss of audience enthusiasm, rather than just the usual fluctuations within a given trilogy.

The other reason is that TLJ's lower box office numbers were (falsely) used as "proof" of the film's failure, and I'm not above a little retaliatory gloating at ROS's expense. :twisted:
A consistent pattern of declining box office can suggest audience are becoming less invested in Star Wars as a franchise. Meaning it will be harder and harder for a Star Wars movie to make money off the brand name alone.

ROS ought to earn more than TLJ if it is meant to the big finale to the SW saga. That might suggest audience simply do not care enough to go to the cinema to find out how it ended.

For a franchise like Star Wars, this is a huge issue because it is supposed to be a cultural-event type of franchise. You MUST see a Star Wars movie because that's what all your peers in school, uni or at workplace will be talking about. Star Wars becoming more of a niche franchise like Star Trek will be a huge issue for Disney.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 11:37am
by Gandalf
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:33am
For a franchise like Star Wars, this is a huge issue because it is supposed to be a cultural-event type of franchise. You MUST see a Star Wars movie because that's what all your peers in school, uni or at workplace will be talking about.
Maybe in the days of monoculture, but we're well past that.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 11:47am
by ray245
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-29 11:37am
Maybe in the days of monoculture, but we're well past that.
Tell that to the investors.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 11:50am
by Gandalf
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:47am
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-29 11:37am
Maybe in the days of monoculture, but we're well past that.
Tell that to the investors.
Uh, what? Get some in this thread and I'll gladly do so, I guess?

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 01:26pm
by Vendetta
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:33am
ROS ought to earn more than TLJ if it is meant to the big finale to the SW saga. That might suggest audience simply do not care enough to go to the cinema to find out how it ended.
Though frankly the idea of this being the "big finale to the SW saga" feels like something that crept in with the marketing of the third film and the sequel trilogy was not actually written to be anything of the sort in the first two installments.

And that's because, well, Return of the Jedi already was that. The saga got nice and neatly wrapped up and all the personal journeys of the characters were concluded.

That's why this was a movie of blatant asspulls of OT elements just so it could be the "even bigger finale" to the thing that already had a big finale. Because it wasn't following a thread that led to this point, it was pretending that thread had always been there.
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-29 11:37am
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:33am
For a franchise like Star Wars, this is a huge issue because it is supposed to be a cultural-event type of franchise. You MUST see a Star Wars movie because that's what all your peers in school, uni or at workplace will be talking about.
Maybe in the days of monoculture, but we're well past that.
Eh, Twitter makes it easy enough to ensure that you can build your watercooler conversations out of whoever actually is watching.

It's not like Disney hasn't made a few cultural-event franchises and movies in recent years, after all.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 03:11pm
by MKSheppard
Elfdart wrote:
2019-12-29 09:57am
Unless they spent $500 million to shoot and distribute the movie, this is beyond silly, like when the Red Letter Moron claimed TPM was a failure when it earned a billion at the box office.
Disney has an agreement to take about 65% of ticket sales with theaters for ROS.

ROS cost about $300M to make. Figure in about $150M in marketing for a total cost of $450M.

Thus, Disney needs to take in about $700M to break even.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 03:33pm
by ray245
MKSheppard wrote:
2019-12-29 03:11pm
Elfdart wrote:
2019-12-29 09:57am
Unless they spent $500 million to shoot and distribute the movie, this is beyond silly, like when the Red Letter Moron claimed TPM was a failure when it earned a billion at the box office.
Disney has an agreement to take about 65% of ticket sales with theaters for ROS.

ROS cost about $300M to make. Figure in about $150M in marketing for a total cost of $450M.

Thus, Disney needs to take in about $700M to break even.
65% applies to US and Canada only. Studios usually takes back 40 percent of earnings from non-US/Canada countries.
Vendetta wrote:
2019-12-29 01:26pm
Though frankly the idea of this being the "big finale to the SW saga" feels like something that crept in with the marketing of the third film and the sequel trilogy was not actually written to be anything of the sort in the first two installments.

And that's because, well, Return of the Jedi already was that. The saga got nice and neatly wrapped up and all the personal journeys of the characters were concluded.

That's why this was a movie of blatant asspulls of OT elements just so it could be the "even bigger finale" to the thing that already had a big finale. Because it wasn't following a thread that led to this point, it was pretending that thread had always been there.
They imposed it upon themselves, by wanting to make Ep 9 into a big epic conclusion to everything, despite the fact that there wasn't sufficient build-up in the previous 2 films.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 03:56pm
by MKSheppard
Vendetta wrote:
2019-12-29 07:00am
No, they really don't. Most people in the actual human world are not even aware that there are any Star Wars novels. They're a niche within a niche (one particular fandom within SFF, where SFF is a relative minnow compared to the big beasts of fiction publishing genres, Crime and Romance, both of which shift roughly 3-4x the numbers SFF does as a whole).
http://www.hawes.com/1991/1991.htm

Heir to the Empire:

26 May 1991 -- #11
02 June 1991 -- #6
09 June 1991 -- #5
16 June 1991 -- #2
23 June 1991 -- #2
30 June 1991 -- #1
07 July 1991 -- #2
14 July 1991 -- #3
23 July 1991 -- #3
28 July 1991 -- #3
4 August 1991 - #4
11 August 1991 - #3
18 August 1991 - #5
25 August 1991 - #6
01 September 1991 - #6
08 September 1991 - #7
15 September 1991 - #6
22 September 1991 - #8
29 September 1991 - #13

19 weeks in the list.

Dark Force Rising:

7 June 1992 -- #3
14 June 1992 -- #3
21 June 1992 -- #2
28-Jun-92 -- #4
5-Jul-92 -- #5
12-Jul-92 -- #4
19-Jul-92 -- #5
26-Jul-92 -- #5
2-Aug-92 -- #7
9-Aug-92 -- #9
16-Aug-92 -- #9
23-Aug-92 -- #7
30-Aug-92 -- #11
6-Sep-92 -- #15
13-Sep-92 -- #15

15 weeks in the list

Last Command:

25-Apr-93 -- #3
2-May-93 -- #3
9-May-93 -- #3
16-May-93 -- #4
23-May-93 -- #6
30-May-93 -- #7
6-Jun-93 -- #9
13-Jun-93 -- #9
20-Jun-93 -- #9
27-Jun-93 -- #10
4-Jul-93 -- #12
11-Jul-93 -- #13

11 weeks in the list

It's interesting to note that looking back, I ran across another book; showing how much different things were back then -- Imzadi by Peter David was actually on the bestseller list the same time Dark Force Rising was.

Trek had a chance to become a shared universe back then, but they blew it with "lol officially licensed fanfic".

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 07:48pm
by Adam Reynolds
Ralin wrote:
2019-12-29 03:09am
Aside from being generally better quality? They went on for years and advanced the continuity from the original movies/novels, which let the franchise benefit from the efforts of numerous talented and creative writers.
Better quality? At best one in four of those books are any good. I love a few of those characters, and ideas, but even the ones I liked have just as many flaws as they do strengths.

Zahn's ideas about The Force are inherently flawed(and Mara Jade makes Vader less awesome), Allston's Wraith Squadron series was extremely minimalist, and Karpyshyn Darth Bane trilogy struggles to work with a variety of sources that would have been better left ignored(which will also be a larger problem for the new canon with films making equally bad decisions). Luceno's best works were in the PT era, and were all but decanonized by the Clone Wars series even before Disney.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 08:22pm
by Galvatron
You know, it's entirely possible that the old EU would have been sacrificed anyway if Lucas hadn't sold LFL and made the ST himself.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 08:53pm
by Patroklos
I read a lot of the novels. But I spent far more money on technical manuels and source books.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 09:16pm
by Galvatron
I used to buy all the novels, comics and video games in the 90s. Even The Crystal Star.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-29 09:44pm
by Imperial528
I used to buy or read any Star Wars novels I could get my hands on. As I got older I became more selective, but the EU authors were big enough that friends or family who knew little about Star Wars outside of the movies would gift me new EU books fairly regularly, simply by seeing them at the bookstore. This wasn't hard to do, either; newly published EU books showed up as nice, big hardcovers at various local bookstores, right in the new releases section, rather than being sent straight to the back isles of sci-fiction/fantasy.

When the Disney acquisition happened and I heard that the EU was being thrown out or reworked, I hoped that what they would do is go through it all, keep the good, and trim the bad. Then TFA came out and it wasn't really enough to draw me in to the new EU, and I'd never really gotten into the Clone Wars show, or Rebels. And then TLJ happened and I realized that the Star Wars I liked wasn't what Disney was putting on screens, so I focused my limited buying power on other, more novel things that had truly passionate people behind them.

Looking back on it I think Disney cut out the EU for the simple fact that if they'd wanted to keep it they'd suddenly be sharing property rights with a whole lot of people, and if there's one thing Disney doesn't like, it's sharing intellectual property. Starting fresh meant they'd be in control from the start. Unfortunately, control doesn't guarantee quality, and regardless of the quality of the sequel films I haven't heard great things about the consistency of the new Disney EU.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 12:05am
by Gandalf
Also, how do you write sequels when there's so many shitty books with which you would have to keep continuity?

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 12:10am
by Ralin
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-30 12:05am
Also, how do you write sequels when there's so many shitty books with which you would have to keep continuity?
Same way the authors of those novels did? Given that they consistently told better stories than the movies some people seem convinced are inherently better because they were 'more popular' (read: better advertised) you're not making a good case that Lucas and Disney's "Keeping track of continuity is HARD, man" policy produces a better product

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 12:16am
by Darth Yan
Adam Reynolds wrote:
2019-12-29 07:48pm
Ralin wrote:
2019-12-29 03:09am
Aside from being generally better quality? They went on for years and advanced the continuity from the original movies/novels, which let the franchise benefit from the efforts of numerous talented and creative writers.
Better quality? At best one in four of those books are any good. I love a few of those characters, and ideas, but even the ones I liked have just as many flaws as they do strengths.

Zahn's ideas about The Force are inherently flawed(and Mara Jade makes Vader less awesome), Allston's Wraith Squadron series was extremely minimalist, and Karpyshyn Darth Bane trilogy struggles to work with a variety of sources that would have been better left ignored(which will also be a larger problem for the new canon with films making equally bad decisions). Luceno's best works were in the PT era, and were all but decanonized by the Clone Wars series even before Disney.
Mara I interpreted that Palpatine knew she would fail but sent her to make the point to Vader that he knew and she got fantastic development in the first trilogy (going from hating Luke to being forced to work with him to realizing that not only was he NOT the monster she thought he was but that her master was the villain, and that the regime she served and the things she did were evil.) You can get a LOT out of that, and it's also made clear Palpy had a ton of hands roaming around. Mara was never that special.

Luceno's best work was Unifying Force tbh. It worked as a finale for the Skywalker family and big three far more than Rise of skywalker did.....but they were bound both by Lucas's directive that Luke not die and Denning's failure to grasp what was actually being said. Bane had a few good elements (it's fun seeing the bad guys pov and KOTOR itself was great).

The EU however always had a lot of crap (LOTF was the biggest example)

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 07:12am
by Mange
Adam Reynolds wrote:
2019-12-29 07:48pm
Allston's Wraith Squadron series was extremely minimalist
"Minimalist"? You have seen the Sequel Trilogy movies, right? You can't get much more minimalist than that... :D

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 11:02am
by mr friendly guy
Elfdart wrote:
2019-12-29 09:57am
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-22 02:32pm
The box office isn't doing too well. It might actually make less than a billion worldwide at the box office.
OH NO! :shock:

Unless they spent $500 million to shoot and distribute the movie, this is beyond silly, like when the Red Letter Moron claimed TPM was a failure when it earned a billion at the box office.
A decade or so ago when I was analysing the Last Airbender, the rule of thumb was the revenue must be at least twice the budgeting cost to break even. This is due to cost to market the film, the cinema's cut etc. These days I hear quoted around 2.5 - 3 times the cost of the film in all countries except China. In China (according to Forbe's Scott Mendelson), the studio only gets 25%. However China doesn't seem to be a big contributor to ROS revenue, so we can largely say their contribution isn't going to skewer this rule of thumb for the break even point.

With that in mind, ROS according to wiki cost $275 million to make, so the break even point would be $687.5 million to $825 million. ROS has so far netted around $725 million. Making a bit shy of a billion should be profitable for ROS, so it would be a decent profit, but certainly not that impressive.

Keep in mind, the Phantom Menace only cost $115 million to make, and back in those days, break even point would be closer to 2 to 1 the cost, rather than the current ratio now. So making a billion dollars made the Phantom Menace a large profit. Making $1 billion for the ROS wouldn't make as much profit given the cost of making it and different break even point.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 11:29am
by Gandalf
I'd be curious to see what happens when it gets to home release. Cinemas are expensive, and in bad economic times cinema visits can take hits too, to the benefit of home video.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 11:48am
by Gandalf
Ralin wrote:
2019-12-30 12:10am
Same way the authors of those novels did? Given that they consistently told better stories than the movies some people seem convinced are inherently better because they were 'more popular' (read: better advertised) you're not making a good case that Lucas and Disney's "Keeping track of continuity is HARD, man" policy produces a better product
Got it. So when they go to make a hundred million dollar film with the old continuity, should films come with a reading list? Or do you just film it in some way that doesn't contradict them? Also, best hope that no actors get old/quit/die! :lol:

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 03:01pm
by Formless
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-30 12:05am
Also, how do you write sequels when there's so many shitty books with which you would have to keep continuity?
I suppose you don't. But who cares? Lucas didn't make any sequels, after all, and he wrote the rules of the canon system so that any film he made would trump any novel. He wasn't beholden to any other writer, because he was the owner of the franchise. And yet when we did get to hear what his ideas for a sequel film would be about, it turned out he wouldn't focus on galactic politics for once and instead turn his focus on the small-- literally, explore the implications of Midichlorians and other microcosmic entities that influence the Force and its direction. An idea that actually wouldn't have to disrupt too much of the existing canon. And if those ideas sound silly to you, then maybe you can see my point when I say "who cares?" Even Lucas didn't think anyone wanted to see that movie, and I for one actually think it would have been interesting if only because it was so different in scope. It would simply have depended on his ability to pull off the idea. We didn't need sequels (at least not ones focusing on the galactic scale); the Skywalker saga was completed with RotJ, and the best of the novel stories could more accurately be called the New Republic saga and the Solo saga as they follow Han and Leia's kids more than anything.

The problem here really is that too many people think of Star Wars as exclusively a movie franchise, even though right now the fandom has latched onto The Mandalorian, a TV series, as the best Star Wars story currently being told, and the continuation of The Clone Wars TV series as the most hype story in production. In other words, what the fandom wants right now isn't more movies, but more stories outside of that medium. We're tired of movies. Their bombastic nature that is paradoxically what draws us to them combined with their limited runtime means they have limited dramatic potential. Its inevitable that people get fatigued with movie-only franchises. That Star Trek chose to do both movies and TV shows is probably one of the reasons it stuck around so long; if it had just been movies, it wouldn't have its incredible longevity either. You can argue until you are blue in the face that the average Star Wars novel wasn't great and it wouldn't change the following: Star Wars has always been a multimedia franchise, with many entries outside of film that are highly influential in their own right and were demonstrable successes in their own media. Why do you think so many people want Darth Revan in canon? Why do you think people were hype about Thrawn making it into the new canon? Its because KOTOR is massively influential on modern video game storytelling (especially the Mass Effect franchise), and because there almost wouldn't be a Legends canon if it weren't for Timothy Zahn's success. And of course, to a limited degree even Disney recognized the importance of multimedia projects when they decided to keep The Clone Wars in canon, and began greenlighting other TV series. Telling stories in other media decreases the risk of fandom burnout. Say what you will about the EU, but it was a smart decision on Lucas's part to let other people play in his sandbox. But it does mean that whoever inherits the franchise, whether it be Disney or some other company that has yet to exist, inherits a lot more than just a movie franchise. People will not forget all those other stories, no matter how good or how bad some of them might have been.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 06:25pm
by Ralin
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-30 11:48am

Got it. So when they go to make a hundred million dollar film with the old continuity, should films come with a reading list? Or do you just film it in some way that doesn't contradict them? Also, best hope that no actors get old/quit/die! :lol:
So, when they go make a hundred million dollar film in the old continuity, should the films come with a viewing list? Or do you just film it so it doesn't contradict the old movies? Best hope no actors get old/quit/die!

Because reading is HARD and normal people just don't DO that sort of thing!

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 06:35pm
by Elfdart
Vendetta wrote:
2019-12-29 01:26pm
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:33am
ROS ought to earn more than TLJ if it is meant to the big finale to the SW saga. That might suggest audience simply do not care enough to go to the cinema to find out how it ended.
Though frankly the idea of this being the "big finale to the SW saga" feels like something that crept in with the marketing of the third film and the sequel trilogy was not actually written to be anything of the sort in the first two installments.

And that's because, well, Return of the Jedi already was that. The saga got nice and neatly wrapped up and all the personal journeys of the characters were concluded.

That's why this was a movie of blatant asspulls of OT elements just so it could be the "even bigger finale" to the thing that already had a big finale. Because it wasn't following a thread that led to this point, it was pretending that thread had always been there.
It's also an admission of sorts that try as they might, the jobbers working on Disney Star Wars just don't know how to create interesting characters (especially not the villains), nor do they know how to construct a story or keep continuity with the established setting. Abrams had to make the good guys unbelievably retarded in TFA so they could be wiped out in one shot because he couldn't tell a story in a restored republic trying to fight a fascist insurgency if his life depended on it. I don't know what the fuck Johnson was trying to accomplish, unless he wants to be Richard Lester and spoof the series from within, like the Musketeer movies or Robin and Marian -in which case he really dropped the ball because a spoof should be at least kinda funny.

Bringing back Palpatine, like the Vader money shots in Rogue One, showed that Disney Star Wars' writers either can't invent a good villain or lack confidence in what could have been a good one and feel the need to pull one of the old ones out of storage.

The theme of the OT was the Hero's Journey: Luke becoming his own man and gaining enlightenment by following his own conscience.
The theme of the PT was the opposite: Anakin never really grows up, never becomes his own man and ignores his conscience -a cautionary tale.
Disney Star Wars has no theme, except a replay of Luke's journey with a girl instead of a boy.
Gandalf wrote:
2019-12-29 11:37am
ray245 wrote:
2019-12-29 11:33am
For a franchise like Star Wars, this is a huge issue because it is supposed to be a cultural-event type of franchise. You MUST see a Star Wars movie because that's what all your peers in school, uni or at workplace will be talking about.
Maybe in the days of monoculture, but we're well past that.

Eh, Twitter makes it easy enough to ensure that you can build your watercooler conversations out of whoever actually is watching.

It's not like Disney hasn't made a few cultural-event franchises and movies in recent years, after all.
Marvel stepped into the void and took over. Star Wars is just another label now.

Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Posted: 2019-12-30 08:53pm
by Darth Yan
It'll endure.

There was also an article about how they wanted to split rise of skywalker into two movies. That might have salvaged some things.

It's often been said that the Thrawn Trilogy could work as Episodes 7 8 and 9. For all its flaws Thrawn Trilogy had it actually had an underlying story that could work. The NR is still trying to find it's feet (hence why mistakes are made), Thrawn is actually intelligent and doesn't have to rely on his opponents being morons and even his defeat is ultimately set up over the trilogy (Leia starts to win over the Noghri in book 1, she exposes Thrawn's deception in book 2 and in book 3 the noghri get their revenge and put the kibosh on Thrawn's plans.) The gun's prepared in book 1, loaded in book 2 and fired in book 3.

Mara also had a genuinely good arc. She starts out blaming Luke for the end of her privileged existence......but then she actually has to work alongside him and finds out that he's NOT the bad guy she's built up in her head. THEN she learns that Vader is Luke's dad and that her compulsion to kill him is Palpatine's final "fuck you" to the Skywalker family from beyond the grave (and let's face it that's ENTIRELY in character for him to do.) Take out the bit of how she was assigned to kill him and Mara's a FINE character, especially since it turns out there were a lot of Emperor's hands and Mara was never really that special.