Gina Carano finally made her debut as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian’s fourth and most recent episode, “Sanctuary”. The actor and mixed martial arts athlete sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about how she came to be a part of Star Wars, the secretive history of Cara Dune (and the significance of her tattoos), her very physical role on set, and working with Bryce Dallas Howard.
Since we got our first look at Cara Dune, fans anxiously awaited her appearance as soon as The Mandalorian dropped on Disney+. That introduction didn’t come until the fourth episode, “Sanctuary” – but what an introduction! Brian Davids of The Hollywood Reporter notes in his interview that Cara Dune came into the scene in a “Han Solo or a gunslinger-in-the-corner-of-the-saloon-type introduction“. Dune, like the Mandalorian, appears to be something of a loner. With the cause of the Rebellion she once fought for seemingly convoluted with New Republic politics, Dune wanders, hiding from bounty hunters and using her skills when needed as a mercenary. It’s notable in the THR piece that Jon Favreau wrote this character with Carano specifically in mind, with the character’s name even serving as a hat-tip to the actor portraying her.
There’s a lot to take out of this interview, but we’ll mention a few of the highlights. The first thing to jump off the page at me: that fight scene. It turns out the conception of her fight scene with the Mandalorian differed from what we ended up seeing onscreen.
On how the scene originally played out from Carano speaking to The Hollywood Reporter:
I can tell you that the choreography was originally something else, and we made it to where she got the jump on him. It comes to a draw at the end of the fight so we both get our licks in. They’re both battle-hardened warriors, and I feel like they both have an understanding of what they were dealing with.
Interesting. I wonder if originally one character had the upper-hand in the fight. If so, I think the change serves both characters better, making them equals in their abilities. One of my favorite bits was Carano talking about her own stunt work, fight scenes, and the relationship she has with stunt coordinators and performers.
Carano, from the same interview:
Since I’ve been in this now for a long enough time, especially with the Mandalorian stunt team, they understand that I understand. I think the stunt community has kind of accepted me as one of their own because I come in, we collaborate and we do this together. I think I’ve been doing it for a long enough time that I’ve developed a good reputation in the stunt community to where I don’t injure or hurt people. I make sure to ask, “Is this a good amount of pressure?” It’s funny because stunt guys and girls like that you give them just a little bit so their reactions are good. I like the same thing, too, so we’re usually on the same page.
I’ve often felt, somewhat in the back of my head, stunt performers and coordinators have rather thankless job, so I love that Carano brings their sensibilities and considerations to her performance. Carano not only talks about working with Favreau and the stunt coordinators, she also speaks to how much she enjoyed working with Bryce Dallas Howard.
Carano on Howard:
She’s got this fire in her eyes. She pays attention to everything, and she has complete 100 percent control of the set. She’s focused, hungry and passionate. Other directors do different things, but Bryce would bring a little tiny apple box out with an iPad to watch the replays on. She would sit there with you and direct you. She’d have a conversation and talk it through with you based on how she’s worked things out as an actress.
My biggest take from this interview came from the discussions about Cara Dune’s past. The mercenary we met in “Sanctuary” seems to have a deep history with the Rebel Alliance, being a shock trooper and a veteran of the Battle of Endor. Other than the vague sentiments about staying out of politics, we don’t really know much more about why Dune left the New Republic and turned to a life of a mercenary. Dune says she’s still unclear about it, though showrunner and creator Jon Favreau will occasionally drop hints.
Carano on Dune’s past:
Yeah, I did. I knew it from conversations with Jon and Dave. They withhold little bits and pieces from me, and they’ll come in and say, “Oh, yeah, also this…” Before I did the introductory scene, Jon told me a secret about my character, and it added so much depth to what her life has been like.
I’d expect to learn a lot more about Dune as the series continues. The character is already a hit with fans. Selfishly, I’d love a comic series about her time in the Rebellion, but perhaps that’s a story we’ll get in The Mandalorian.
Also, there seems to be a story behind Dune’s tattoos:
I thought you were going to ask about the eye tattoo. (Laughs.) I’d have to go back and do a refresher on it, but I think that comes from the Rebel Alliance in the Galactic War. I also think it came from one of the producer’s sons who watches The Clone Wars or something like that. I think it’s definitely an Easter egg that attaches me to those soldiers. I know that is an awful explanation, but the eye tattoo has a much deeper meaning once we get into it. Obviously, it’s a Rebel tattoo, but there’s much more to that story
Pretty cool to see there’s much more to these tattoos and how they connect to the greater Star Wars story.
Be sure to head over to The Hollywood Reporter for the full interview. There’s more cool stuff, including Carano’s reaction to meeting Baby Yoda and her sense of pride in the hard work she’s put into The Mandalorian. I have a feeling Gina Carano and Cara Dune are here to stay!
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter