Gina Carano should watch ‘The Mandalorian’ before she makes Holocaust analogies
Lucasfilm sacked actress Gina Carano from the “Star Wars” universe over a post likening hatred directed at people with differing politics to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. The question naturally follows: Has she been paying any attention to the show that just canned her?
To begin with, Carano, an outspoken Republican and featured player on Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” got in hot water Wednesday for a since-deleted Instagram story (viewable here) shared from another account with an image from the Shoah and the text, “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”
Obviously this is several levels of Bantha poodoo. The Nazis turning people against their Jewish neighbors is well-documented and has been acknowledged by every serious historian on the Holocaust. The Nazis rounded up WAY more than “thousands of Jews” (one wonders what the writer of the text has been reading and how it’s been “edited”; if we’re being generous, the person could have just meant in Germany). Being Jewish is in no way equivalent to one’s chosen political ideology, particularly when that ideology — as in Carano’s case — spreads lies about the 2020 election, belittles mask mandates, approves of anti-Black Lives Matter posts and is just generally hateful. But her analogy to a genocide gets even crazier when one considers Carano’s erstwhile role in the “Star Wars” canon.
In “The Mandalorian,” Carano plays Cara Dune, a former shock trooper for the Rebellion. The Rebellion, obviously, is the “Star Wars” equivalent of the Resistance, fighting against the Empire, a none-too-subtle Nazi analogue complete with Riefenstahl-esque choreography and foot soldiers called Stormtroopers. Dune’s provenance is also worth noting — she is from Alderaan, a planet destroyed, along with “millions of voices who cried out in terror,” by the Death Star in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” (The Empire did not survey those millions on their political alignment before blasting it to hyperspace.)
This is all easy stuff, and the canon typically fails at being much more than superficially Nazish by expunging the ethnic component of the Reich’s ideology.
But “The Mandalorian” is different. Taking place after “Return of the Jedi,” it gets deep into stuff that is way more explicitly drawn from history. It’s surely no mistake that the unambiguously Teutonic Werner Herzog was picked to play a remnant of the Empire who plies the titular Mandalorian with the precious, plundered metal of his people, melted into bars and stamped with an Imperial Seal (it’s space Nazi gold).
The Mandalorian, whose real name is Din Djarin, is a war orphan whose entire village was slaughtered in what may have been a genocide. He was then taken in by an offshoot of Mandalorians called “The Watch,” who themselves live in hiding and are under constant threat of (you guessed it) genocide and already suffered a calamitous one called “The Great Purge.”
Now, even if you haven’t seen “The Mandalorian,” you are surely familiar with its de facto mascot: Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda, whose real name is Grogu is — and stick with me here — a survivor of genocide! Yes he lived through Order 66, which initiated a near total destruction of the Jedi in “Revenge of the Sith.”
At this point you might be thinking, “Well, with all these genocides in her show and its backstory, maybe Carano thinks that they’re just a readymade metaphor to be deployed willy-nilly.” But in all of these instances, politics isn’t a factor. The Jedi, more or less an arcane mystic faith group (that does flips!), were meant to be apolitical. Actually, their troubles started when they got too involved with the Senate. Grogu, a child at the time of the murder of the Jedi younglings, never voted because he was a baby.
The long-suffering Mandalore are not, so far as we know, registered to any party, but identified as members of “a creed.” So no, not even a botched read of Carano’s own franchise supports her flimsy comparison. She should, in fact, perhaps revisit her show and consider its themes.
In a statement to io9, a Lucasfilm spokesperson said Carano is no longer employed by the company and that “her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Put more simply, in terms a Mandalorian cast member might understand, “This isn’t the Way.”
Correction Feb. 11, 2021: A previous version of this article misstated that Carano originated the post. She shared it from another account on her story.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]