Late yesterday evening, Gina Carano was fired from the Star Wars universe. Lucasfilm confirmed that the actor would no longer be a part of The Mandalorian, or any other projects within the franchise, following what they called “abhorrent and unacceptable” behaving on social media. Carano had played Cara Dune on The Mandalorian and was set to be a part of future spin-offs that are in development. As such, the news begs the question, will Disney and Lucasfilm recast the role?
As of this writing, we can say there is no definitive answer. Fans have put forth their suggestions on Twitter, with former Xena star Lucy Lawless pegged as the early favorite. But this is a decision the powers that be will need to make. Lucasfilm was clear in its statement that Gina Carano is “not currently employed” by the studio, suggesting that her contract did not extend beyond The Mandalorian season 2. Further reports have suggested that the studio was looking to part ways with Gina Carano back in November following some previous social media activity that prompted calls to #FireGinaCarano on social media. Carano’s recent post, in which, she shared a statement likening being a Republican to being Jewish during the Holocaust, was the final straw.
The main point is, Gina Carano is done with Star Wars, and quite likely Hollywood, at least for a long time, with the fallout. But Cara Dune is a character. Someone else can play that character. It comes down to whether or not executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, who are the main creative forces behind The Mandalorian and its spin-offs, as well as studio executives, deem that to be the best path forward. It is, at the very least, a path forward. One that would allow them to continue with their original plans as intended. Just with a new actor on board.
There is precedent within relatively recent history to suggest that recasting is something they are willing to do. For example, when negotiations broke down for Terrance Howard to return as James Rhodes, aka Rhodey, in Iron Man 2 following his performance in Iron Man, the studio, instead, brought in Don Cheadle to play the part. Granted, this was before Disney purchased Marvel but, because that worked out so well, it could inform future decisions.
On the Star Wars side of things, there hasn’t been a situation quite like this since Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, if ever. But the brass has shown its willingness to make a big change when needed. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy parted ways with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Solo: A Star Wars Story well into production. They had major disagreements creatively. Instead, Ron Howard was brought in and much of the movie was reshot. It was a costly decision, and it’s hard to say if it was the right one or not. In any case, if directors can be replaced, a performer surely can be as well. Especially if it benefits one of the biggest franchises in Disney’s wheelhouse.
The reason recasting may be the most attractive option is two-fold. For one, right behind Baby Yoda and Mando, Cara Dune had proven to be rather popular. That isn’t to be discounted. Beyond that, the character seemed poised to be a huge part of the future. Aside from any possible inclusion in The Mandalorian season 3, it was expected that Gina Carano would be a huge part in Rangers of the New Republic, one of several spin-offs that was announced as part of Disney’s investor day presentation. Shows like that and Ahsoka will eventually lead to an “event series.” It stands to reason that Dune would also be part of that big event.
So, rather than have to rework any of those plans, from a story perspective, just bring in a new actor and let them take over where Gina Carano left off. There would surely be no shortage of actors happy to take on a significant role in the Star Wars franchise, as it could pay off for years to come. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops.