Gina Carano’s Cara Dune Makes Quiet Return to Disney

in Star Wars, Updates, Walt Disney World

Gina Carano Cara Dune in 'The Mandalorian'

Credit: Lucasfilm

Over two years ago, The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm parted ways with controversial actress and former Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano, but, surprisingly, Carano’s Star Wars character Cara Dune just quietly returned to the House of Mouse.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian is one of Star Wars‘ most popular properties. Debuting back in 2019 amid the sequel trilogy fallout, Pedro Pascal’s turn as the brooding Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, captivated audiences and started to stitch the fandom back together.

Joined by the pop culture phenomenon “Baby Yoda,” or The Child — Grogu as he later became known — and notable stars like Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) and Ming-Na Wen (Mulan) as the Imperial Moff Gideon and the mercenary Fennec Shand, respectively, The Mandalorian saw fans embroiled in the New Republic era. The Mandalorian is also where Gina Carano (Deadpool) made her Star Wars franchise debut.

L-R: Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff)
Credit: Lucasfilm

Set five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983), The Mandalorian‘s second season was released a year later at the end of 2020. It was in the second season that more familiar faces returned to the Star Wars universe, including Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Bob Fett (Temuera Morrison), and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

While the excitement for The Mandalorian was high, thanks to appearances from some of those named above, behind the scenes, the franchise was under scrutiny for its inclusion of Carano’s Cara Dune.

'The Madalorian's Cara Dune played by Gina Carano
Credit: Lucasfilm

The actress first appeared in “Chapter 4: The Sanctuary” and became a recurring character in The Mandalorian’s first and second seasons. However, despite her position as Marshal of the New Republic being established in the second season finale and a potential spinoff (Rangers of the New Republic) tapped for her to lead, Cara Dune would never return to the galaxy far, far away.

The former MMA fighter had been the subject of widespread criticism thanks to her controversial social media posts and political views, especially as regarding her views on the coronavirus pandemic. And in early 2021, all would come to a head when Carano was let go by The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm, with her agency — United Talent Agency (UTA) — also severing ties with the actress.

Close up of Gina Carano
Credit: Gina Carano Twitter

“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm, and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” Lucasfilm said in a statement in February 2021 (via Deadline). “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Throughout the controversy of the controversial tweets and other such posts, and following her firing, opposing trends like #FireGinaCarano, #WeStandWithGinaCarano, and #WeLoveCaraDune all took over social media. Following her exit from The Walt Disney Company, Carano partnered with Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune
Credit: Gina Carano Instagram

Related: Two Years Later, ‘The Mandalorian’ Finally Replaces Gina Carano

After her ousting from Kathleen Kennedy’s Lucasfilm, a character that could have been the new face of Star Wars faced complete exile. Hasbro stopped making Cara Dune action figures, and the character has no merchandise footprint virtually anywhere.

Except at the very heart of The Walt Disney Company?

On a recent visit to Disney’s Walt Disney World Resort, it can be seen that Cara Dune has made a quiet return. Nestled in a store on Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios just a short walk from the Black Spire Outpost of Batuu — or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge —  was a recently released pin set and inside a potential Cara Dune pin. (Editor’s note: While the pin is likely no longer on the shelves at Disney, you can find a variety of Gina Carano merch on eBay.)

A row of Nevarro mystery pin sets at Walt Disney World
Credit: Inside the Magic

The Nevarro: Home to the Imperial Remnant mystery pin set retails at $29.99 plus tax and includes two unknown pins out of a 10-pin collection. Other characters include Mando himself, Din Djarin, Moff Gideon, and Grogu. The set was released, and it is unusual in that The Mandalorian has had three seasons, three seasons with a wide range of characters, so the decision to base the set around Nevarro and include Gina Carano’s Cara Dune, two years after her firing is a curious choice.

Close up of the Nevarro mystery pin set with an arrow pointing at Cara Dune
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Officially Debuts Gina Carano’s Cara Dune Replacement

While Cara Dune is no longer a part of the Star Wars galaxy and the ever-expanding Mando-Verse, this era in the franchise continues to live on. Currently airing on Disney+, the second in The Mandalorian spinoffs, Star Wars: Ahsoka, which sees Rosario Dawson return as Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. The first spinoff was The Book of Boba Fett, starring Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen as Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, respectively.

Have you seen this quiet return of Gina Carano’s Cara Dune to Disney? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Star Wars, Updates, Walt Disney World

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