Gina Carano Sues Disney and Lucasfilm for Discrimination and Wrongful Termination from Star Wars Show
Several years ago, Gina Carano appeared to be on the cusp of becoming the latest wrestling or MMA star to make a successful transition to Hollywood. After minor roles in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) and Deadpool (2016), she was cast in The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars show. Her character, Cara Dune, quickly became a fan favorite and was poised for an expanded role, including a place in the in-development spin-off show Rangers of the New Republic.
But in 2021, Carano found herself in hot water with Disney and Lucasfilm due to a series of social media posts. Her social media activity featured predominantly right-wing political views on Covid-19 mandates, voter fraud, and transgender ideology. She then appeared to compare the backlash she had received to the Holocaust:
“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?”
In response to the posts, Carano was allegedly asked to meet with members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination and issue a public apology and later to meet with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and a group of LGBTQ+ employees. Carano refused, leading Lucasfilm to announce that she would not return to the show. Her character was written out of the unfolding story and the Rangers of the New Republic show did not move forward.
Following her termination from The Mandalorian, Carano produced and starred in Terror on the Prairie, a film released by the conservative media group The Daily Wire. Now she is continuing her fight against Disney. Carano is suing the company for at least $75,000 in damages and seeking a court order that would require Lucasfilm to recast her in The Mandalorian. In an added twist, Elon Musk is covering the legal bill as part of his promise to pay the legal fees for anyone who is discriminated against for their free speech on his Twitter/X platform.
In a social media post annoucning the lawsuit, Carano wrote: “The truth is I was being hunted down from everything I posted to every post I liked because I was not in line with the acceptable narrative of the time. My words were consistently twisted to demonize & dehumanize me as an alt right wing extremist. It was a bullying smear campaign aimed at silencing, destroying & making an example out of me.”
Whether Carano’s suit succeeds remains to be seen. The odds of her being recast in The Mandalorian is likely, to quote C-3PO, “approximately 3,720 to 1.” Nevertheless, the standoff between Carano and Disney/Lucasfilm may have wider implications for issues of free speech, discrimination, and “cancel culture.” It could also represent a notable shift in Carano’s objectives. In a statement about her partnership with The Daily Wire for Terror on the Prairie, she said at the time,
“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. They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”
Despite her initial enthusiasm to take on Hollywood, her desire to return to The Mandalorian demonstrates that, despite the significant growth of Hollywood alternatives, there are not yet many viable career opportunities outside the mainstream entertainment industry. Thus, according to Carano, it is important to challenge the system rather than merely seeking employment outside of it.
Three years after her firing, Gina Carano’s lawsuit against Disney is sure to reignite debates about the incident and spark important discussions about free speech and ideological disagreement in today’s polarized society.