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Why Cara Dune From The Mandalorian Looks So Familiar

"The Mandalorian" made history when it debuted on Disney+ as the first-ever live-action "Star Wars" series. The series has since paved the way for "The Book of Boba Fett" as well as Rosario Dawson's solo "Ahsoka" series. Created by "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau, the series is set after the events of "Return of the Jedi" and follows a Mandalorian bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) who seeks to protect a Jedi youngling from nefarious enemies. Through his various adventures across the galaxy, The Mandalorian is seen teaming up with both friends and foes to complete his mission.

Perhaps the most memorable characters the masked bounty hunter comes across are Greef Karaga (Carl Weathers), a long-time associate of The Mandalorian, and Cara Dune, a former Rebel trooper who has grown disillusioned by the fallen Empire. Dune has appeared in the series a number of times and has become one of the lead character's closest allies. 

When Favreau created the series, he only had one person in mind for the role of Dune (via The Hollywood Reporter). But who was the actress who ended up getting the role? She happens to have a strong cinematic background, and there's a strong chance that viewers have seen her in other projects outside of "The Mandalorian."

Gina Carano received her breakout role thanks to an American auteur

Before she was saving the galaxy as Cara Dune on "The Mandalorian," Gina Carano was an exceptional MMA fighter who retired after her first defeat against Cris Cyborg. Though she made her acting debut with the martial arts film "Blood and Bone," her major break came with Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire," where she played a covert special agent betrayed by her agency. In a bid to regain her freedom, she hunts down the powers that be and discovers the horrors of her organization. Prior to signing onto "Haywire," Carano was unaware of who the Oscar-winning director was, she told Metro. Despite the film serving as her first major performance, Carano was widely praised for holding her own against industry heavyweights like Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, and Michael Fassbender.

"Carano is able to convey enough charisma and laser-focused determination as Mallory that you're instantly drawn her from the moment she first appears onscreen [ ... ]," wrote Brian Richards of Pajiba in a retrospective on the film. Soderbergh was particularly pleased with how the former MMA champion was able to deliver a terrific action performance, especially after she did her own stunts, " God, it's so much fun to watch [Gina] beat her way through the cast" (via IndieWire).

As Pajiba notes, Carano's breakout performance in "Haywire" paved the way for her cinematic career to blow up. 

Gina Carano joined forces with the family in Fast & Furious 6

Before she was hanging out with The Mandalorian in the "Star Wars" universe, Gina Carano was also helping out Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family in "Fast & Furious 6." In the sixth outing of Universal Pictures' box office juggernaut, Carano played Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson) partner Riley. While she appears to be a force for good, Riley is revealed to be an associate of Shaw (Luke Evans), the latest villain the "Fast" family is after. Carano's capable but morally corrupt character eventually gets bested by Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who kills her.

Carano is best remembered in that film for duking it out with Rodriguez in a subway station. While speaking with Collider, Carano praised the creative team for wanting "the fight scene between two women to be great." The Cara Dune actress continued by explicitly saying her role in "Haywire" opened the gates for her to join the "Fast & Furious" franchise. "['Haywire'], it's a film that piqued people's interest ... [but they] were a little gun-shy, but they still wanted to talk about it ... So, when I got the call for 'Fast and Furious 6', that was, "Okay, now I can go from doing something like 'Haywire' with director Steven Soderbergh and take that experience and then go into a huge franchise."

Carano's brief stint as friend-turned-foe in "Fast & Furious" eventually paved the way for her to join another mega-franchise.

The Cara Dune actress joins the X-Men universe

After years of anticipation and fan outcry, 20th Century Fox finally commissioned a solo "Deadpool" film with Ryan Reynolds in the lead role. Released on Valentine's Day weekend in 2016, the R-rated "X-Men" spin-off went on to gross over $780 million dollars (via Box Office Mojo) and was the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time upon release (it has since been bested by "Joker" and its $1 billion cume). In the film, Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a mercenary who develops cancer. In a bid to stay alive, he undergoes an experimental procedure that attempts to bring out the potential mutations inside of him. The procedure is spearheaded by Ajax (Ed Skrein), who uses the opportunity to torture Wilson. On Ajax's side is super-powered Angel Dust, played by the Cara Dune actress.

Angel Dust serves as one of the lead villains in "Deadpool." While speaking with Screen Rant, Carano discussed how she knew director Tim Miller prior to the film's announcement. Shortly after the film was confirmed to enter production, the director personally called up Carano to see if she would be interested in joining the "X-Men" universe. "He called me up and he's like, 'Hey, I've got this role for you. I don't know if you are interested. But it's yours if you want it. She's a very strong, silent, physical character,'" Carano said.

Carano's tenure with the "Deadpool" franchise seems to be over, as Angel Dust was not brought back for "Deadpool 2." After making an impression with superheroes, the martial artist-turned-actor took to a galaxy far, far away and joined "The Mandalorian," though it remains to be seen how Cara Dune is handled in future episodes