Yesterday, the news broke that Lucasfilm had fired Gina Carano after yet another controversial social media post, saying that there are no plans for her to appear in The Mandalorian or any show moving forward.
The most important thing was not what happens in the Star Wars universe but what happened in our universe, and I believe that Lucasfilm made the correct decision in parting ways with an actor who had continually used her social media presence to mock and hurt. That must take precedence over what impact it may have on storytelling, and I’m glad it did here.
Nevertheless, it does create a question for The Mandalorian: what will they do with Cara Dune moving forward? They have time to figure it out, with the third season of the show not set to premiere until 2022, and from the sound of it, this decision didn’t come out of nowhere either. I would guess that the writers and creatives behind this show have already been discussing options of what to do without Gina Carano, so I don’t think it’s that they’re just now starting to evaluate that. I’m confident they’ll handle it well, but as I see it, there are really two options:
1. Recast her
The first option is to re-cast the character of Cara Dune, and I’ve already seen people on social media throwing out potential fan-casting choices. That’s how Rosario Dawson was first brought up as a possibility for Ahsoka Tano, after all, so there’s definitely merit to those conversations. Though recasting for a huge franchise like Star Wars doesn’t happen often, it has happened before. For example, the character of Albus Dumbledore was recast in the Harry Potter trilogy, with Michael Gambon portraying the character in the final six films after Richard Harris’s death. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most notable examples of recasting included Colonel James Rhodes (played by Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 but replaced by Don Cheadle in every appearance after that) and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk (played by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk and then by Mark Ruffalo after that).
But in Star Wars, recasting has been far more rare. When they recast characters, it’s basically just because there’s such a wide gap in the era of storytelling, such as Alden Ehrenreich replacing Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story. When dealing with a similar era, Lucasfilm has opted to use CGI technology to help bring a character to life, such as with Grand Moff Tarkin and Leia Organa in Rogue One, and even with Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian. Granted, Lucasfilm hasn’t really had much a precedent with a situation like this one, but I think it’s safe to say that the studio’s policy is generally against recasting characters. And I don’t think that’s a bad policy, either.
2. Write her out of the show
The second option is, in my opinion, the best one, and it’s this: just write her out of the show. Though she was considered one of the show’s main characters, the reality is that Cara Dune was not totally integral to the series. She appeared in three of the eight episodes in season one, and then appeared in four of the eight episodes in season two. Both times, she met up with Din Djarin midway through the season and then was recruited to return toward the end of the season to help with a big mission. That mission at the end of season two was a success, with Grogu taken away by Luke Skywalker.
But because of that, the show is going to be taking on a new nature anyway. It seems obvious that this show is leading us toward an attempt to reclaim Mandalore, as Djarin now has the Darksaber and Bo-Katan Kryze is looking to take back their home. The guess all along has been that Djarin will eventually team up with Bo-Katan to accomplish this, now that his mission with the Child has wrapped up. And with that, Cara Dune’s role was a question anyway. She’s a former Rebel droptrooper who lost her homeworld of Alderaan, so it seemed like the threads were there for her to help retake her friend’s homeworld since she lost hers. But that was just one possible thread, and in no way was it the only one. She was established as the marshal on Nevarro, rounding up crime, and it would be very easy for the showrunners to simply say that Cara Dune went back to doing just that while the Mandalorians turned their attention to retaking their home. It’s actually very simple. Cara Dune doesn’t need to be in this show anymore, because her role has never been that integral, and because moving forward the show was already set up perfectly to just quietly move away from her.
To me, this is easily the best option. There are no huge gymnastics required to explain her absence, nor does some dramatic death have to be mentioned. All it takes is to say that she, as a non-Mandalorian, didn’t have that much interest in the mission to re-take Mandalore and returned to what she had been previously doing on Nevarro. Simple as that. Honestly, it would have made sense for the character and the plot even before Carano was fired. So with the change in nature that is surely coming with season three, this is the perfect time to write Cara Dune out of the show, and it won’t be all too difficult either.