Gina Carano is gone but Cara Dune should get to live on. A case for recasting and not allowing a unique Star Wars character to go quietly into that sweet goodnight.
I come from a business and creative background so let me be business blunt: Gina Carano had become bad for Disney’s business. She was an employee of a private company and, as an employee of a private company, used her increasing social media platform to mock the transgender community, mock wearing masks, spread conspiracies and post a famous historical picture of a Jewish woman in her undergarments fleeing from men and young boys armed with clubs to make a false comparison of what she sees as the increasing persecution of people with different political beliefs. At best, it was ignorance of a false equivalencing at the end of a series of tone-deaf comments. At worst, she truly believes that she has a credible point of victimization on the level of that woman in the photo running for her life. And so, Disney made the decision that she was too much of a liability to continue representing the company and cut ties. There are debates on when she was actually sent packing but, either way, she is no longer employed by Disney. And Gina Carano will be fine. She has a dedicated fanbase now and will utilize that likely to a career of punditry. Onwards.
Now to the issue of Cara Dune. While business-wise this is a minor hurdle to overcome, creatively it opens the door to new opportunities. Carasynthia “Cara” Dune was a character that Gina Carano did bring to life and did, for the most part, a fine job conveying an Alderaanian in constant mourning for her homeworld. Ironically, when Cara Dune was first introduced, she was subject to the same hate and faux outrage that are thrown in the way of all-female Star Wars characters (Ahsoka has also treated the same way when she made her appearance in The Clone Wars film). Nevertheless, most Star Wars fans were excited to see what the character would bring to the table and learn more about her in the Star Wars universe. From the character design of the Alderaan tear to the body type of a former UFC fighter as a former Shock trooper in Star Wars, there are some great things here, some things worth saving.
A Seasoned Actress for a Leading Role
If various sources are true, the Rangers of the New Republic was indeed supposed to be a Cara Dune led show, and Carano was intended to be announced as lead during the Disney Investor showcase but, due to increasing concern over the actress’s tweets, Disney refrained from announcing her as the star. Rangers was announced alongside Ahsoka as two series that would lead to an event that would culminate on The Mandalorian. This would have been, and could still be, two female-led series running parallel to the flagship show. Fans have already thrown in suggestions (from Lucy Lawless to Lana Parrilla of who could take her place) and having a more seasoned actress would definitely plus up the show. One of my critiques of The Mandalorian has been the acting by some of the cast and extras and Carano was a part of that, which would have been fine if she had remained a side character. But imagine a scene where Carano and Giancarlo Esposito have to act against one another with heavy dialogue…the difference in acting abilities would be jarring. People were content with Carano as a side character in The Mandalorian but her limitations would have been on full display as the lead of a series. She would have had to significantly improve, especially if Lucasfilm wanted to cast top-tier TV or film talent alongside her. So, with that problem out of the way, Lucasfilm can hire a new actress to really dig deep into that character and make her even more popular.
Things are also happening on the merchandising front as Hasbro has reportedly halted production on more Black Series Cara Dune: a popular figure when it came out and was supposed to be re-released this year to avoid crazy third-party markups which will most certainly happen now. The Retro Collection Cara Dune seems to be moving ahead (production is probably already complete and there is no photo real technology used so the likeness to Carano is not an issue, though the card back will have Carano). I expect other Disney and licensed merchandise to follow and either cancel production or sell out their stock. If Disney does recast with an actress of similar likeness, they can move forward with merchandising for Rangers of the New Republic at least since it has not started filming and, hence, no marketing materials. Because if Cara Dune was indeed meant to lead Rangers, then that would likely mean the absence of the character in Mandalorian season three, which makes sense as Mando will have to deal with Bo Katan and figuring out the mess he got himself into with the Darksaber. Speaking of Bo Katan, her Mandalorian Black Series figure is coming (along with Koska Reeves) so these two could be the new female co-leads of The Mandalorian, filling in that gap.
It’s All Part of the Plan
Not to get my Joker quoting on, but there is a bigger plan already in place here that some are forgetting. If Rangers of the New Republic revolved around something that was supposed to lead into The Mandalorian, clearly there is an overall plan in place that Lucasfilm/Favreau/Filoni has to consider before just scraping the main player (supposedly) in that story. In the end, it might actually be easier to recast the character instead of writing off an important thread that is crucial to a bigger storyline. This is Lucasfilm’s first MCU-light attempt and it would be a shame if it never even got off the ground. No doubt Disney and Lucasfilm have had these conversations, especially if they have been dealing with Carano behind the scenes since last Fall but the end result will be one of the two: either we will have a new Cara Dune or we don’t (whether that’s in the form of unseen missions for the foreseeable future or an off-screen death). I do hope it is the former and Lucasfilm doesn’t write off a character that had only just begun to get interesting and has the potential to be another loved character from Alderaan in the hands of the right actress.