The Mandalorian had several tricky situations to write itself out of in its Season 3 premiere. Episode 1 had to bridge the gap for fans who didn’t watch The Book of Boba Fett, establish a new season-long arc, and communicate that time has passed. But the biggest issue of them all wasn’t narrative, but a matter of staffing.
In February 2021, Cara Dune actress Gina Carano was fired after making hateful comments on social media. While the decision divided fans, everyone wondered how the series would handle Cara’s absence, especially since she was given extra screen time in Season 2.
The answer was underwhelming. Mando stops off at Nevarro, the town run by his old friend Greef Karga. Greef attempts to persuade Mando to stay, promising him he’ll become landed gentry. Eventually, he reveals his true reason for the hard sell. “I gotta level with you, Mando. I need a marshal,” he says.
Mando replies with the obvious: what happened to Cara Dune, the previous marshal? Greef responds, “After she brought in Moff Gideon, she was recruited by Special Forces.” It seems like a simple enough explanation, but upon closer inspection, it’s a bit more complicated.
Mando essentially acts as the audience surrogate, asking the question that Star Wars fans have been wondering about for two years. By having this simple Q&A exchange, it’s obvious an explanation was shoehorned into the script.
A better approach would have been to drop the exposition into dialogue. Imagine if Greef said something like, “Ever since Marshal Dune turned in Moff Gideon and joined the Special Forces, I’ve been looking for a new right hand.” That’s hardly perfect — there’s no perfect way to write off a character whose actor became impossible to work with — but it would avoid explicitly asking the blunt question of her fate.
It’s nice to know that Cara Dune is off having her own adventures with the New Republic, but maybe there was a better way to address her absence. Mando could have already known about her leaving, for instance. Even the inclusion of this information in Episode 1 was a choice: the Season 3 premiere was a very crowded episode, so why not save this reveal for a later chapter? But at least we finally know what happened to Dune, even if the delivery was clumsy.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 is now streaming on Disney+.