No Gina Carano, No Problem: ‘The Mandalorian’ Can Easily Survive Without Cara Dune

By design, "The Mandalorian" always kept a door open for Carano to exit without too much of a franchise headache.
The Mandalorian
Bryce Dallas Howard and Gina Carano on "The Mandalorian" set

Gina Carano is no longer a part of the “Star Wars” franchise after Lucasfilm fired the MMA star and actress on February 10 over controversial social media posts. Carano stirred up outrage among “Star Wars” fans for months due to tweets that mocked transgender pronouns and called pandemic mask wearing into question. The actress was also spotted liking several tweets last summer that disparaged Black Lives Matter protests. Lucasfilm fired Carano this week after the actress re-shared an Instagram Story comparing the current U.S. political climate to Nazi Germany.

“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” a Lucasfilm spokesperson announced in a statement. “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Gina Carano’s exit from Lucasfilm means her “Mandalorian” character Cara Dune will either be recast with a new actress or written out of the show completely. Given that Cara Dune was a supporting character with no major story threads dangling after the season two finale, removing her from the larger “Star Wars” narrative is not as big of a headache as it sounds. Cara Dune is used rather sparingly in “The Mandalorian,” not appearing in every episode (she didn’t appear in Season 2 until the fourth episode, for instance) and most often functioning as a sidekick for Mando in episodic adventures. Take her out of any of the Season 2 episodes where she does appear, and the story would barely change at all. Cara’s utilization in “The Mandalorian” makes her one of the more expendable characters, so writing her out wouldn’t be a challenge and wouldn’t be too jarring.

“The Mandalorian” Season 2 also introduced the perfect setup for writing Cara Dune off the show. “Chapter 12: The Siege” ended with Captain Carson Teva of the New Republic attempting to recruit Cara into the organization to help fight remnants of the Empire. Cara harbors rage against the Empire after it destroyed her home planet of Alderaan. Cara never gave the New Republic a definitive answer, although this minor dangling thread was surely opening the door for “Rangers of the New Republic,” one of several “Mandalorian” spinoff series announced in December as part of Disney Investor Day.

In THR’s report announcing Carano’s firing, the publication added: “According to sources, Lucasfilm planned to unveil Carano as the star of her own show during a December investor’s day presentation but scrapped those plans following her November tweets.”

Many “Star Wars” fans expected Carano to headline “Rangers of the New Republic” as Cara Dune. While Lucasfilm and executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will now have to rework the spinoff series without Carano, that Disney never officially announced Carano for the series takes the edge off turning it into something new. The only thing publicly confirmed about “Rangers of the New Republic” is its title, meaning Lucasfilm can rejigger the series without Carano and not have to change any marketing, plot synopsis, or fan expectations for the series. In other words, not announcing a Carano-led series on Investor Day prevented what would have now been a PR and marketing nightmare.

Fortunately for Lucasfilm, “The Mandalorian” also ended its second season promising a narrative reset. The heroes succeeded in their mission of rescuing Baby Yoda from the evil Moff Gideon, and Luke Skywalker appeared to whisk Baby Yoda away for Jedi training. This storytelling decision meant “The Mandalorian” Season 3 has to start fresh, most likely turning its attention to the battle for Mandalore. While it would make sense for Cara Dune to be involved, losing her doesn’t pose too many questions, especially if she’s written off in a way where she’s now doing unseen missions for the New Republic. By design, “The Mandalorian” made it possible for Gina Carano to leave without issue.

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