Fan casting is nothing new. Whenever a new show is announced people head to social media to talk about their dream casting choices. However, Lucy Lawless’s recent comments has shown that this practice, while fun, can have a downside for performers.
In February, Gina Carano was fired from Disney+ hit The Mandalorian after making a series of controversial tweets that Disney deemed inappropriate for someone under their employment. This statement was echoed by Lucasfilm, who, when asked about Carano, said:
“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
This means that Carano’s role as Cara Dune was now open, and fans quickly started to argue about who could take over the character. Lucy Lawless, the former Xena: Warrior Princess star, soon became the clear fan favorite, with many tweeting directly at Disney and Lucasfilm to request her inclusion in the series.
However, in an interview with British newspaper Metro, Lawless discussed her side of the story. She explained that she was already in talks with Disney for a totally different Star Wars project but thinks the public demand might have hurt her chances. Lawless speculates that companies are hesitant to cave to fan demand as it builds the expectation that they will do so in the future. Especially as fan backlash can be very extreme if a popular fan casting doesn’t come to fruition.
“Well to be honest with you, I was already in discussions about something on – it wasn’t The Mandalorian – something Star Wars-affiliated. It might have hurt me in some way, because then they couldn’t hire me because it would seem to be pandering to… I’m just guessing here, I don’t know anything, but in some ways, it can be unhelpful, because if they pander to this fan group, then how are you going to pander to every other fan group, do you know what I mean?”
Lawless also discussed how the fan-casting choice made her feel like she had become political despite not being involved in the situation at all. ‘I became political and I had nothing to do with the discussion,’ she said. Despite these issues, Lawless was flattered by the fan outcry and was happy for the support. She also insists that the event didn’t cause her any long-term problems.
‘But that’s the way the world is and they meant it out of love, and I thank the fans for their fealty to me. I haven’t thought about that since, so it hasn’t given me any pain, but that was my thought at the time, like, ooh, this makes me look like a political appointment, and not an actress.’
According to Lucasfilm, there are currently no plans to recast Cara Dune despite rumors that Gina Carano will return for season 4 of The Mandalorian. Lucy Lawless is currently starring in My Life Is Murder on Acorn TV.