Gina Carano isn’t the only cast member on “The Mandalorian” at the center of a casting controversy. Rosario Dawson made her series debut over the weekend in “The Jedi,” the fifth episode of Season 2, playing “Star Wars” fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, but her “Mandalorian” debut arrived just over a year after the actress and her family were sued over an alleged transphobic assault. Rosario Dawson previously called the accusations “baseless,” but she opened up more on the matter in a new interview with Vanity Fair following her big “Mandalorian” introduction.
“Well, firstly, I just want to say I understand…why people were concerned, and are concerned. I would be, too, if I heard some of those claims,” Dawson said. “But I mean, as we’re seeing right now in these past months, and just recently actually, the truth is coming out. Every single claim of discrimination has been dismissed by the person who made them, and as you’ve said, the fact that this is coming from someone I’ve known since I was a teenager, the better part of my life, and who my family was trying to help as we have many times in the past, it really just makes me sad. But I still have a great empathy for him.”
Vanity Fair reports that 18 of the 20 claims that were made against Dawson and her family were “withdrawn voluntarily without a settlement,” and the accuser’s lawyer left the case. Only two counts remain, both of which involve an alleged physical altercation between the family friend and Dawson’s mother. A Los Angeles County Superior Court will decide next month whether or not there is enough evidence pertaining to the last two counts to move forward with the case.
“The reason that all of the discrimination claims were dropped is because they didn’t happen,” Dawson told Vanity Fair. “I was raised in a very inclusive and loving way, and that’s how I’ve lived my entire life. I’ve always used my voice to fight for, lift up and empower the LGBTQA community, and use my platform to channel trans voices, in fiction and nonfiction work that I’ve produced and directed. So I feel the record is really clear.”
As for how Dawson made her way to “The Mandalorian,” it all started with social media fan casting. As rumors began to swirl that Ahsoka Tano would be making the jump from animation to live action, “Star Wars” fans got Dawson’s attention by posting artwork of her in character.
“Someone tweeted me and fan cast me,” Dawson said. “I retweeted back and I was like, ‘Absolutely, yes please’ and “#AhsokaLives.” And apparently that got the attention of someone who has been doing the ‘Star Wars’ press for years. She forwarded it to Dave Filoni. That kind of started a whole thing. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, did I just get fan cast in something?'”
Adding pressure to Dawson’s Ahsoka debut was the fact “Star Wars” creator George Lucas was visiting “The Mandalorian” set during the filming of her debut episode. “I was definitely nerve-wracked, and it was great to be there with him and Dave [Filoni],” the actress said. “I mean, it’s a lot of pressure. But it was also really fun. Both of them were looking at me but they weren’t, you know what I mean? They were looking at their imagination come to life.”
Head over to Vanity Fair’s website to read more from Dawson on her “Mandalorian” episode. The second season of the “Star Wars” television series debuts new episodes every Friday on Disney+.