A Timeline of Gina Carano’s Firing From ‘The Mandalorian’
Gina Carano played a fan-favorite Star Wars character on The Mandalorian until she was abruptly fired by Lucasfilm in 2021. Here is a quick history of her career and the incidents that led to the termination of her contract—and the end of Cara Dune’s journey on The Mandalorian.
Gina Carano’s pre-Star Wars career
Between 2006 and 2009, Carano competed with the mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Elite Xtreme Combat and with the MMA and kickboxing organization Strikeforce. In 2009, Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Justino became the first women to headline a major MMA event during their Strikeforce fight. Although her record was 7–1 at the time, Carano retired from competition after her defeat to Cyborg. Carano then transitioned from competitive fighting to acting.
Two years after her Strikeforce defeat, Carano was cast in her first significant role: the lead in Steven Soderbergh’s action film Haywire (2011), alongside Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, and Channing Tatum. She was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in an Action Movie for her performance. Carano was then cast as Riley Hicks in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) and as Angel Dust in Deadpool (2016).
Gina Carano brings a fan favorite to The Mandalorian
Carano moved from the world of superheroes to the Star Wars galaxy when she was cast as the Alderaanian bounty hunter Carasynthia “Cara” Dune in The Mandalorian. Cara Dune became a fan favorite almost immediately upon her appearance in Chapter 4 (season 1, episode 4), “Sanctuary.” Hasbro produced two action figures based on Carano’s likeness: the 3.75-inch Retro Collection figure and the 6-inch Black Series Collection figure, which quickly sold out. Funko also produced a Pop! vinyl figure of Cara Dune in their signature cutesy style.
Her character was featured on other licensed merchandise for The Mandalorian, and Carano seemed poised to become a long-term denizen of the Star Wars galaxy.
How Gina Carano lost the Way
In 2021, a series of posts Carano made on her social media accounts elicited strong responses which quickly escalated into full-blown backlash. Many of those posts remain on Carano’s social media accounts, including a tweet that challenges the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and blames the Biden administration for the deaths of vaccinated people. She also shared a story on her Instagram account that refers to the death of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, implying that he was a victim of something conspiratorial: “Jeff Epstein didn’t kill himself.”
When Carano was encouraged to add her personal pronouns to her Twitter profile, she instead added “boop/bop/beep,” which many perceived as an attempt to mock transgender and nonbinary people. She defended the choice in a tweet that read:
“They’re mad cuz I won’t put pronouns in my bio to show my support for trans lives. After months of harassing me in every way. I decided to put 3 VERY controversial words in my bio.. beep/bop/boop
I’m not against trans lives at all. They need to find less abusive representation.”
When fellow cast member Pedro Pascal (whose sister is trans) spoke with Carano about including personal pronouns in her social media profiles, she shared the following in a now-deleted tweet:
“Yes, Pedro & I spoke & he helped me understand why people were putting them in their bios. I didn’t know before but I do now. I won’t be putting them in my bio but good for all you who choose to. I stand against bullying, especially the most vulnerable & freedom to choose.”
ID, the public relations firm who represented Carano, dropped her around this time. But when she shared an Instagram story from another account, the situation became even more serious:
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”
Comparing the genocide of the Jews to the experience of being a conservative in post-Trump America was the breaking point for Disney. The day after Cara shared this story on her Instagram account, Lucasfilm released a statement saying, “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.” Carano’s agency, United Talent Artists, also terminated her contract.
The following day, Carano told Deadline: “I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob. I have only just begun using my voice which is now freer than ever before, and I hope it inspires others to do the same.”
In an interview on The Ben Shapiro Show, Carano described receiving an email she did not think was intended for her when Disney “accidentally sent me an email, which was very enlightening, so I knew. I knew they were paying attention. I know there were some people who went to bat for me but I know that they didn’t win out at the end.”
Her version of the events leading up to her firing was that Disney executives had been “all over me and they’ve been watching me like a hawk, and I’m watching people on the same production and they can say everything they want, and that’s where I had a problem. I had a problem because I wasn’t going along with the narrative.”
Despite being fired by Disney and no longer appearing in The Mandalorian (or the Rangers of the New Republic series, which may never be produced), Carano has continued to work in the film industry. In 2022, she directed her first feature, a western called Terror on the Prairie, about a frontier woman who protects her family from a gang of outlaws. Terror on the Prairie was produced by Ben Shapiro, but in a twist rivaled only by an M. Night Shyamalan script, Carano’s own fan base—a conservative-leaning audience—criticized the film on social media as “woke nonsense.”
(featured image: Disney+)
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