Gina Carano’s departure from The Mandalorian was a big scandal in 2021, but her character’s onscreen fate is more of a footnote. In the season 3 premiere on Wednesday, the show efficiently explained away Cara Dune’s absence—while also leaving things surprisingly open for her to return elsewhere.
After playing a recurring role as Cara Dune in the first two seasons, Carano was tipped to lead a new Star Wars spinoff show. However, her role was cut short after she made a string of offensive social media posts, prompting accusations of transphobia and antisemitism, and promoting conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.
In the latest Mandalorian episode, Dune’s absence is explained in a brief exchange between protagonist Din Djarin and his ally Greef Karga, who is trying to persuade Djarin to become a marshall. “What about Marshall Dune?” asks Djarin. Karga then reveals that Dune was “recruited by special forces” and is no longer available on-planet, conveniently removing her from the story.
As is often the case for public figures who face consequences for bigoted behavior, Carano attracted a niche fandom of right-wing supporters hailing her as a martyr of the culture wars. But while she definitely has some vocal defenders, the consensus on social media seems to be amusement over how easy it was to write her out—and relief that she’s officially gone from the show.
Back in Feb. 2021, when Disney revealed that Carano would no longer appear in the franchise, the studio described her social media posts as “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
But while Disney wants to distance itself from Carano’s IRL reputation, Cara Dune may still appear in Star Wars content that doesn’t require Carano’s input. Executive producer Rick Famuyiwa confirmed this in a Deadline interview last week, saying, “Cara was a big part and continues as a character to be part of the world.” She hasn’t actually been killed off in canon, and this new Mandalorian episode explicitly leaves things open for future stories involving Cara Dune.
That being said, fans probably shouldn’t get too invested in speculation about recasting the character. The Star Wars franchise rarely casts new actors in established parts, and to be honest, Cara Dune just isn’t important enough to warrant recasting for a different live-action role.