The changes to The Mandalorian's cast happened in a whirlwind this week. On February 10, THR revealed that Gina Carano, who plays Cara Dune, was finally fired from the show after months of Disney and Lucasfilm receiving blowback from her controversial social media activity that sparked the creation of the hashtag "#FireGinaCarano." The final straw was a post she had shared that compared being a Republican in this day and age to the experiences of Jewish people during the Holocaust. A Lucasfilm spokesperson released the following statement on the firing:
"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."
Also on February 10, Deadline dropped a story about how Pedro Pascal had accepted the lead role in a new HBO series, The Last of Us, which is based on the hit video game. As of this time, Pascal plans to continue to work on The Mandalorian as well the new series, but if The Last of Us takes off as a hit, it should prove difficult for Pascal to have the time to stay on both productions as the lead.
Aside from the loss of a major supporting actress and the potential future exit of the lead actor, the most devastating loss to The Mandalorian's cast happened at the end of S2 when writers effectively ended a two-season story arc by sending Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, off with Luke Skywalker. While by no means an irreparable change to the series, Grogu, as a marketing icon, was practically printing money for companies that licensed his image for their products (see " 'Merchandising!' 'Baby Yoda' Pulls His Booster Seat Up To The Breakfast Table"). He was the single-most marketable character on The Mandalorian, and signaling his potential exit from the series, even only as a cliffhanger plotline, may change the level of the character's popularity over the short term which is bad news for licensees.
The future of The Mandalorian as a top TV series (see "'Watchmen, 'Mandalorian' Get Big Emmy Noms") is a little vague at this juncture, but luckily, Disney and Lucasfilm have some time to deal with it thanks to the return of the "Original Mandalorian", Boba Fett. The Book of Boba Fett comes out in December 2021 (see "'Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett' Officially Announced for Disney Plus"), and will help ease pressure from fans for Disney Plus to deliver a top-notch The Mandalorian S3 in a timely manner to its audience. Boba Fett's return has also already reignited Star Wars fan enthusiasm in comic books (see "'Star Wars' Collectible Comic Prices Head to Another Galaxy!") and has the potential to do the same in other Star Wars products as the release date for the new series draws nearer.