What Gina Carano's Disney Lawsuit Actually Means (And Why It's Not a Big Deal)
Gina Carano wants a Part Two for Cara Dune.
It’s been two years since Gina Carano was unceremoniously fired from The Mandalorian after her controversial social media posts led to a fan-led campaign calling for her dismissal. Now, the actress is taking advantage of Elon Musk’s offer to bankroll any lawsuits based on terminations due to Twitter posts. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carano filed a discrimination lawsuit against Disney and Lucasfilm claiming the company treated her unfairly because of her sex and political beliefs.
But a closer look at the full documents reveals this may not be the revenge Carano is seeking. Inverse consulted a former practicing attorney about Carano’s claims.
In Carano’s lawsuit, her attorneys allege that she was fired in retaliation for the “lawful exercise of her right to speak and express her views,” and demand that she be recast in The Mandalorian as Cara Dune. But Jonathan Goodman, a former practicing attorney and creator of StarWarsLaw.com, a Star Wars fansite that explores legal issues within the Galaxy, tells Inverse that Carano’s expectations from this suit may not be realistic.
Goodman draws a parallel between Carano’s suit and the lawsuit between Disney itself and the state of Florida over its issues with the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. Both concern the issues of free speech, but there’s one big discrepancy.
“The main difference is the application of the First Amendment, which only prohibits restrictions on speech by public entities,” Goodman says. “So while the State of Florida is governed by First Amendment protections, Disney — as a private company — is not.” In other words, the state of Florida can’t control what people say, but Disney may retaliate against its own employees about what they express if it is determined to be an HR violation.
There’s another big issue with Carano’s case. She’s suing not only for damages both professional and emotional, but is also demanding her character be brought back into the Star Wars universe, something Goodman says is “not a likely outcome.” Cara has already been seamlessly written out of the series, so bringing her back would pose an issue.
Carano’s claim is also focused on her sex. The complaint pulls examples of two other Mandalorian stars, Pedro Pascal and the late Carl Weathers, making their own political posts on social media without any retaliation. “It's so hard to tell until you see all the facts (and Disney's response), but on its face, it's hard to see, and likely hard to prove, how she was treated differently on account of her gender, as compared to her co-stars,” Goodman says.
Carano’s firing stemmed from an Instagram story the actress posted in February 2021 that many read as equivocating having right-wing beliefs to being a Jew during the Holocaust. In a statement at the time, Lucasfilm said that Carano’s “social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.” The Mandalorian was quick to write her character off of the show, and her spinoff Rangers of the New Republic is now buried in the dustbin of Star Wars history next to Rogue Squadron and Benioff and Weiss’ trilogy. For all intents and purposes, Star Wars has fully moved on from Gina Carano.
But with this lawsuit, Carano is facing up to one of the most litigious companies on Earth to attempt to prove why she deserves a spot in the Star Wars galaxy — no matter where the story goes.