In the wake of The Mandalordian’s Gina Carano being dismissed from the show after posting anti-Semitic memes, spreading election conspiracy theories, and mocking the usage of pronouns, Star Wars fans wasted no time speculating who might replace the actress if her character, Cara Dune, was going to return to the series in the future.
Though Disney hasn’t suggested either way what the future holds for Cara Dune, Lucy Lawless’ name has been floated in more than a few fan spaces for reasons that should be obvious. Characters like Cara Dune owe a lot to Lawless’ run as the star of Xena: Warrior Princess, and the idea of Lawless lending her talents to the Star Wars franchise is something that, on paper, makes perfect sense. Word of people being interested in Lawless joining Star Wars apparently made its way to the actress herself, who recently opened up to Metro.co.uk about how she was already in talks about signing onto a Star Wars (but non-Mandalorian) project before the whole mess with Carano began.
While Lawless didn’t share what this other proposed project might have been, she explained how the drama with The Mandalorian and people fan-casting her to replace Carano factored into why things didn’t move forward at the time. Being cast in Star Wars after Carano’s exit might have hurt Lawless, she said, “because it would seem to be pandering to… I’m just guessing here, I don’t know anything, but in some ways, it can be unhelpful, because if they pander to this fan group, then how are you going to pander to every other fan group, do you know what I mean?”
Star Wars’ galaxy is plenty big enough for there to be more than one tough-talking, laser gun-shooting woman duking it out against the forces of evil, but the point that Lawless was making about the optics of her potential hiring is an important one. Had Disney made an announcement about Lawless joining a new Star Wars show or movie about a character named, say, Caren Spice, people would have understandably assumed that the studio was simply trying to gloss over its previous ties to Carano by just swapping her out with another actress known for playing similar characters. This is all made more complicated by the fact that Cara Dune was such a fan favorite character who seemed poised to take on a larger role in The Mandalorian and beyond, which the series may now have to find a way to address. Carano’s statements have nothing to do with Lawless, but this sort of situation is likely the exact reason that the studio decided to part ways with the former actress. Star Wars will recover from the Carano-focused blowback, but it’s doing so by trying to avoid bringing the issue back up. Lawless doesn’t hold any grudges about the way that she inadvertently became politicized by the actions of another actor, though, and she understands that this all stems from the fact that people want to see her in more things.
“But that’s the way the world is and they meant it out of love, and I thank the fans for their fealty to me,” she said. “I haven’t thought about that since, so it hasn’t given me any pain, but that was my thought at the time, like, ooh, this makes me look like a political appointment, and not an actress.”
The Mandalorian will likely return for its third season some time in 2022.
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