After months of social media outrage, Disney and Lucasfilm executives made the decision to cut ties with Gina Carano in February.
The former MMA star played the role of Cara Dune in the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, bringing brawn and muscle to the series as a New Republic deserter. It was long rumored that Carano would be the lead of her own spin-off series, be it the stalled Rangers of the New Republic show or an entirely different project, but her firing has removed her from the Star Wars universe almost entirely.
Carano's controversial dismissal was even met with the cancellation of merchandise based on Cara Dune, including Hasbro Black Series figures and Funko Pop! bobbleheads. Prices for products of the character have skyrocketed in recent months as a result, forcing the hands of collectors to spend big bucks.
Many have rolled the dice on buying the 2019 LEGO Star Wars AT-ST Raider (based on The Mandalorian "Chapter 3") because of the Dune minifigure included in the set, despite the overall build being nothing remarkable.
Now, LEGO has provided an alternative offering, as Cara Dune will once more appear in brick-headed form...
CARA DUNE MINIFIGURE FEATURED IN NEW LEGO STAR WARS SET
As shared by Brick Fanatics, leaked images of the upcoming LEGO Star Wars summer wave reveal that Cara Dune will be one of six minifigures featured with Moff Gideon's Cruiser.
LEG0 summer wave catalog leaked. Includes Cara Dune minifigure. @Drunk3P0 @ginacaranonet @_Kay_D_Dog https://t.co/o86pgrqB21 pic.twitter.com/mtRBxHTumR
LEGO had previously declined to comment on the status of Dune's figure in the AT-ST Raider, and the upcoming set indicates that the company has no plans of dropping the character from their merchandise.
Moff Gideon's Cruiser, with Cara Dune and friends, will be available on August 1.
CARA DUNE'S FUTURE IN STAR WARS
Barring a change of heart by Lucasfilm and Disney and a mutual agreement made with Carano, it's extremely likely that Cara Dune's days in live-action Star Wars are over.
While it was once rumored that Carano and Katee Sackhoff would star in their own show, this situation no longer seems possible. Lucasfilm has indicated that there are no plans to recast the character, meaning that the only way Cara Dune will see screen time again is if she and the company can make amends (and perhaps a bit of pulling from Jon Favreau too).
Regardless of the circumstances revolving around a potential return, it's a good thing that LEGO has elected to continue manufacturing the Cara Dune minifigure. Dune was a key character in both seasons of The Mandalorian, and to act as if she no longer exists would be foolish. Given the demand for the minifigure, it's clear that there's a market for more Cara Dune, and the decision to do more with the character may come down to business.
LEGO's stance on the matter has been made clear, and it appears that they were under no orders by Disney to remove Cara Dune from their licensed products. How other companies respond, however, remains to be seen. It stands to reason that with the passing of time and higher demand from fans for product could result in toy manufacturers like Hasbro and Funko lifting their moratorium on Cara Dune products as well, should they deem it a worthy business venture.
As for Cara Dune's place in the Star Wars storyline, it's too soon to tell how things will take shape.
Should Carano never return to the role in the upcoming Disney+ projects, there are still plenty of opportunities to delve into Cara Dune's backstory as a Rebel shock trooper through novels and comics. The trauma of being an Alderaanian survivor was a compelling element of the character, and that's something that could easily be explored in-depth in publishing projects.
The Mandalorian's overall storyline won't be finished until 2027, so Carano's got six years to make amends with Lucasfilm to play Dune again if she so desires. It may never happen, and a throwaway line by Din Djarin could simply address the character's whereabouts after the events of The Mandalorian Season 2's finale.
Either way, Disney and Lucasfilm don't seem to be enforcing a total ban on all things Cara Dune, so anything could happen. LEGO collectors will certainly be happy to have another opportunity to nab the minifigure, and perhaps the future will present more opportunities for Cara Dune merchandise and stories to be delivered.