A real Star Wars: Inside Gina Carano's lawsuit against Disney

Gina Carano has just launched a lawsuit backed by Elon Musk against Lucasfilm and Disney for firing her from The Mandalorian! Get the details here!
Gina Carano is Cara Dune in THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+.
Gina Carano is Cara Dune in THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+. /

The saga of The Mandalorian is taking a wild turn as Gina Carano has just filed a lawsuit against Disney with a considerable backer! Here’s the details!

When The Mandalorian premiered in 2019, it caught fire quickly with a bounty of great characters. Among them was Cara Dune, played by former MMA fighter Gina Carano. The bounty hunter became a popular character with audiences aiding in the battles, especially the epic Season 2 finale, where she teamed with Bo-Katan, Fennec Shand, and Koska Reeves. Plans were underway for Cara to get her own spinoff series. 

However, in 2021, Carano began a series of controversial social media posts that, among other items, implied fraud in the 2020 Presidential election, mocked government mandates for masks and COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic, and other statements that drew a firestorm of criticism.

After Carano ignored Disney’s requests to tone down the rhetoric, she was dropped, and the spinoff plans were axed. Carano was also dropped by talent agency UTA and her work since has been low-budget films for the conservative website The Daily Caller. 

Now, Carano is fighting back and has a huge backer on her side.

Inside the Gina Carano lawsuit

Filed Tuesday afternoon in California federal court, Carano’s lawsuit is for wrongful termination, sexual discrimination and alleging that Disney persecuted her for her conservative beliefs while being okay with others expressing viewpoints in the opposite way. She claims she was fired after refusing Lucasfilm’s request to meet and apologize to an LGBTQ group over her comments. 

Carano’s suit is backed by Elon Musk, as the billionaire owner of Twitter/X had previously said he would pay the legal fees of anyone who claimed to have been discriminated against due to activity on his platform. 

X’s head of business operations Joe Benarroch said, “As a sign of X Corp’s commitment to free speech, we’re proud to provide financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit, empowering her to seek vindication of her free speech rights on X and the ability to work without bullying, harassment, or discrimination.”

As for what Carano wants? Rather than the expected demands of a few million dollars, she is requesting a court order forcing Lucasfilm to hire her back as Dune and pay $75,000 in back pay plus punitive damages. The suit came with a statement by Carano claiming Disney had actively ensured she couldn’t find work after her firing. 

“Some of us have been unjustly singled out, harassed, persecuted and had our livelihoods stripped away because we dared to encourage conversation, asked questions, and refused to go along with the mob.”

That this comes right after Disney’s well-publicized fight with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over free speech makes the timing unique. 

Can the lawsuit work?

A question is if the suit can work or not and that’s where it gets tricky. First, it’s quite likely that Disney had a “morals/character clause” put into Carano’s contract, and her initial tweets violated that. Thus, Disney was perfectly in their right to terminate her. 

The bigger problem is a classic one in that at-will employees of a private company aren’t as protected by the First Amendment as public workers can be. In short, if your boss has repeatedly told you not to post inflammatory content and you continue to do so (as Carano did), then Disney was likewise within legal rights to fire her. 

A case like this would take years to work its way through the legal system with trial, appeal and more so it's not like Cara would be back for The Mandalorian Season 4. There’s also how, even if Disney was somehow forced to hire Carano back, there’s nothing ordering them to actually use Cara Dune if they don’t want to. 

Thus, it’s probable this lawsuit, like countless others, never quite gets anywhere. It does get Carano’s name out there, and having Musk backing her helps, yet some folks may rather face an army of stormtroopers than take on Disney in court.

The Mandalorian Seasons 1-3 streaming on Disney+.