Shannon McRandle (born Shannon Lynn Jones) was born in 1969 in Killeen, Texas, US, to Leonard Jones (stationed at Fort Hood, drafted into the army for the Vietnam War) and Barbara Kubiszewski Walsh, she has two younger half-sisters, Hillary and Adrienne, from her step-father (John Meador).   When she was nearly a year old the family moved to Virginia...all over Virginia:  Richmond, Alexandria, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. 

After High School, she moved to Las Vegas for 4 years, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with an emphasis on Public Relations and a minor in Sociology.  She's worked photo, runway, and character modeling since she was twelve throughout the northeast US and in Las Vegas, NV.

Shannon is married to Jamie McRandle, they have two sons, Riley (2003), Logan (2005),  and Shannon has a daughter named Willow from a previous marriage.

Shannon is the only person who achieved fame from the Star Wars universe who wasn't actually in a film, TV special or show, a video game, or the radio shows.

YS.COM: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?

S.M.: I am 38 years old, the mother of three, happily married to an officer in the US Navy, and live in Virginia Beach, VA (that's on the east coast of the United States, on the Atlantic Ocean).

YS.COM:  When was the first time you saw Star Wars, and what did you think about it?

S.M.: I saw the original films with everyone else.  I was 7 when Star Wars came out and saw it in Norfolk, VA.

YS.COM:  How did you first involve with Star Wars to portray the character Mara Jade? Could you give some details?

S.M.: I was hired by Decipher games from a simple casting call for a model who fit my description...redhead, 5'9'ish,athletic but like a dancer...I was just lucky enough to fit the description and they liked me!

YS.COM:  Your photos as Mara Jade are well known among the Star Wars fans. Could you share your memories from the days that the photos were taken (especially about Arica, with the dancer outfit)?

S.M.: Those were all done on different occasions.  The Mara Darkside photo with the light saber and the Lightside outfit in the green were on the first day.  It was a long day.  I was very unhappy with the hairstylist...she made me look terrible in the Darkside photo.  I did my own hair for the green outfit and it looked much better!  I had never held a light saber before, so that part was fun.  I tried very hard not to knock any lights over. 

The next shoot was months later and was the Arica photo.  It was a lot less fun.  The art director for the shoot kept telling me to dance like a stripper...I kept telling him Mara would not be so ugly as to act like that.  ( I had read Tim Zahn's original trilogy at that point and felt I knew Mara better than this man did)

The outfit was not as skimpy as it looked.  It was completely lined despite what people say.  It covered more than an average swimsuit.  All of the costumes were made by a local theater company and were really beautiful in person. They were made over the course of several weeks and fittings, specifically for me.  No one knows what happened to them after Decipher lost their license. 

The last shots with Tim Zahn and Mike Stackpole were even later.  They were the most fun because I love Mike and Tim.  They are always such a pleasure to see!!!

YS.COM:  Many people think that the 'Arica' photo is taken from a cutscene. If George Lucas decided to make a re-release for the original trilogy (which is always very likely) with additional scenes, and asked you to play Mara (Arica) for Jabba's Palace scene, what would you say?

S.M.: I would be honored to even be considered.  I think it would be a great idea and fans of Mara would really love it.  I would certainly do my best to do it if asked!! But it's the fans that make things happen, and if the fans want to se me doing that, they (you) have to let Mr. Lucas know it!!!

YS.COM:  What do you feel towards Mara Jade?

S.M.: She is a big, bold character.  Strong, self efficient, beautiful, smart.  Who wouldn't like her.  I loved reading about her and was very happy being asked to portray her.  She really set the goal for the female characters in the SW Universe!  I liked her best when she was Darkside, least when she was getting married...I thought the fussing over the wedding dress in the comic was a little unlike her.  She was most fun when she was trying to kick Luke's butt!

YS.COM:  You may have heard this: in the last book by Karen Traviss, Sacrifice, Mara Jade was killed by Jacen Solo. What are your thoughts on that?

S.M.: I think it's horrible, of course.  I haven't read it and don't think I will.  I heard about it just before the book came out.  She died well if she had to die, but I think it made many fans very sad.

YS.COM:  Though we've never seen Mara in a Star Wars film, she is highly popular since you did a great job while portraying Mara Jade for photography. It seems that you never needed the popularity of being a movie star, but have you ever considered playing the character in a movie or a fan film?

S.M.: Thank you for your complimant.  If I were asked to do it officially for Lucas, I would of course do what I could.  I have been asked for a couple fan films, but haven't been able to.  I am not an actress and don't want to have a huge role, but a small part for fun for the fans sounds great. 

YS.COM:  How does it feel to portray a Star Wars character that does not take part in the movies?

S.M.: She is just as strong a character as any in the movies.  Tim Zahn is a wonderful writer with an amazing knack for creating strong, likable characters. 

YS.COM:  We know that the next big thing that will happen in the Star Wars universe is the live action TV series. We've also heard recent news from Rick McCallum that there will be no expanded universe characters for the first 100 episodes, but we're wondering anyways; is there any possibility that you will be involved with the series?

S.M.: I have not been asked and don't know what their plans are at all.  You all know more than I do most of the time.  But seriously, if the fans want something in the show, they need to let Lucas know about it.  Mara would be a wonderful addition to any series.

YS.COM:  If not the TV series, are we going to see Mara again in the future?

S.M.: I hope so.  I know she will be in an upcoming book about the SW characters.  Chris Trevas did the illustrations.  They are great.  Hopefully, she will at the very least live on thru the artist's portrayals of her for different official publications.  I would love for her to make a return in the novels and comics.  Her spirit is strong enough to come back to guide some younger character or to appear to Luke or Ben!!!  Even a momentary part for her on tv would be fantastic!!!  We'll have to see if Mr. Lucas loves her as much as we do.

YS.COM:  Gentle Giant, one of the favorite collectible producers of the fans, has immortalized you with a Mara Jade bust. What do you feel about it? Are you interested in collecting?

S.M.: I do not collect, but do save some of the more remarkable pieces such as the one by Gentle Giants.  It was truly beautiful.  My kids are very impressed.  They do wonderful work on all the characters they create.  My next addition will of course be the light saber...due out very soon...I actually signed all of them!!

YS.COM:  If you had the time to visit our website, what do you think about it?

S.M.: I did visit, and I couldn't read a word!! But it looks great!!

YS.COM:  Would you visit Turkey one day, for a fan meeting? 

S.M.: I tend not to travlel very often anymore.  My kids don't like it too much.  I have never been to Turkey and of course would entertain the idea if it were proposed.  I am very happy to hear there are so many fans so far away!  My husband says it is a beautiful country.

YS.COM:  Finally, what would your message be for the Turkish Star Wars fans?

S.M.: I would just say thank you so much for your support and kindness.  Hopefully, one day I will get to meet many of you, one way or another.  Take care, be strong and May The Force Be With You each and every day.

YS.COM:  Thanks alot for sparing your time for us!