News broke late Wednesday that Gina Carano was no longer part of “The Mandalorian” or any other “Star Wars” projects — but the franchise doesn’t really need her anyway.
In a statement that reverberated beyond the Outer Rim, Lucasfilm clarified that Carano “is not currently employed” by the studio and that “there are no plans for her to be in the future.” The comments came as the actress came under fire yet again for problematic social media posts that Lucasfilm noted were “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
This is not the first time Disney has parted ways with talent over their social media activity. In 2018, the company fired filmmaker James Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” after years-old offensive tweets were resurfaced by right-wing commentators in a targeted effort. (The writer-director was later reinstated on the project in 2019.)
Carano was introduced as former Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune during the first season of “The Mandalorian.” Appearing in seven episodes over the course of the Disney+ series’ two seasons, the character grew from being a formidable mercenary to one of Mando’s fiercest and most reliable allies during his adventures with Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda.
Audiences generally responded positively to Cara. Her combat training and physicality paired with her no-nonsense attitude set her apart from the other strong women of “Star Wars,” particularly in the live-action realm. Not only is she a tough ex-soldier who struggled to find her place in the galaxy after the Rebellion was won but she also enjoys a refreshing platonic friendship with Mando.
But since Cara’s debut, “The Mandalorian” has featured a number of other standout warrior women, including Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) — beloved characters from animated “Star Wars” shows — as well as Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). They are each uniquely capable and all committed to separate missions (that sometimes bring them together).
What is distinct about Cara is her affiliation with the Rebel Alliance. (She must have felt particularly strongly about its cause to have the emblem tattooed to her face.) And, according to character backstory revealed in “The Mandalorian,” Cara was from Alderaan, the planet destroyed by the Death Star during the original “Star Wars” film, and from which the franchise’s iconic Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) also hailed. Although not much else was known about her past, it’s an origin story that particularly resonates with “Star Wars” fans.
Given her connections to franchise lore, and her membership in the series’ original cast, it stands to reason that Carano might have continued on in “The Mandalorian” in some capacity had she not repeatedly come under fire for offensive and demeaning social media posts, though not much about her future in the “Star Wars” franchise was publicly known. Still, with the Baby Yoda arc seeming to conclude at the end of the second season, “The Mandalorian” has the opportunity to begin a new arc in Season 3, with a new cast of characters, without too much trouble. There’s no telling what part of the galaxy Mando will be setting off to next.
It has also been reported that Carano was being eyed to lead her own spinoff. Among the “Star Wars” spinoffs already in the pipeline are “The Book of Boba Fett,” which was teased at the end of “The Mandalorian’s” Season 2 finale, as well as “Ahsoka” and “Rangers of the New Republic,” which were announced at Disney’s investor’s day presentation late last year. There was plenty of fan speculation that Carano’s character, as a newly minted marshal, could be a good fit for a show like “Rangers of the New Republic.”
But “The Mandalorian” has shown that there is plenty of existing lore, as well as new terrain, for the franchise to explore, and plenty of complex female characters to feature in that storytelling. Though the end of Carano’s relationship with Lucasfilm is big news because of the circumstances that caused it, neither she nor Cara Dune was instrumental enough to Disney+’s flagship “Star Wars” property for her absence to make a dent.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.