Cara Dune Guide: One Reliable Rebel Shock Trooper

Cara Dune is first shown on our screens in the first season of the widely adored The Mandalorian. In fact, aside from the related books and non-canon games, that’s the only place you’ll currently find mention of her character.

Coming across as a self-dependent, supremely confident ex-Rebel shock trooper, she soon develops a relationship with Din Djarin and Grogu, going on to work with them on several occasions.

Cara is thoughtful and kind but also ruthless and brutal. These characteristics make for intriguing character development – with time, she settles down, finding something she’s good at and a way to contribute to the galaxy’s broader society.

That’s how I’d sum this character up in a nutshell. For a more detailed look into what happened to this rogue Rebel and the themes surrounding her, read through this Cara Dune guide I’ve put together. If you want to know something, I hope you’ll find it here.

Key Details Up Front

Cara Dune is from Alderaan. She wasn’t at home when the Empire blew the planet up and went on to become a Rebel shock trooper.

After the war ended, she left the military and became a mercenary. She helps Din Djarin protect a Sorgan village from Klatooinian raiders, and they develop a good working relationship. He later enlists her help to protect Grogu by taking out an ex-Imperial warlord, Moff Gideon, on Nevarro.

Dune stays on Nevarro, acting as an unofficial Marshal before being officially granted a badge by Teva, a New Republic pilot. She then uses the privileges that come with this to help Djarin find and rescue Grogu from the Moff.

Cara Dune Description/Overview

Carasynthia (to give her full first name) Dune is from Alderaan. Other than that, we don’t know anything else about her earlier years, including her age, lineage, family, old job, or why she was off-world when the Death Star arrived in 0 BBY.

Off-world she was, though, losing “everyone” she ever cared about in the instant felt so profoundly by Obi-Wan Kenobi. After this, she joins the Rebel Alliance and fights against the Empire as a shock trooper. She becomes more prominent in the Rebel ranks a few years later, after the Battle of Endor (4 ABY).

As she tells Djarin, her main objective was hunting down ex-Imperial warlords in the immediate aftermath. After that, her role becomes more political, with her superiors ordering her to work as a bodyguard for diplomats in transit. Becoming fed up with this and riot-quelling, she left the New Republic ranks and became a mercenary for hire.

The Village on Sorgan

cara dune star wars comic

By the time Din Djarin turns up in 9 ABY, she’s living on Sorgan, a backwater planet. Noticing him in the bar, she assumes he’s there to collect a bounty on her and engages him in a fight. After the two find each other equally matched and notice Grogu watching on, she joins the Mandalorian for some soup and introduces herself.

She wants them to leave, considering the planet her early retirement. There isn’t space for the two of them – they’ll draw too much attention.

However, Djarin is engaged in supporting a small farming village from Klatooinian raiders terrorizing them. He encourages Dune to join him and Grogu by paying her the fee he’s been given for his services. She accepts.

It isn’t long before she and the Mandalorian, expert soldiers, discover that the Klatooinians have an AT-ST. They try to encourage the villagers to leave and explain that they can’t fight something so formidable, but they refuse.

Instead, the two sole warriors create a plan to lure the raiders and tank into a trap, training the villagers to fight and defend themselves at the same time.

Although a couple of things don’t quite go to plan, it plays out pretty much that way. Cara has a crucial role in baiting the AT-ST into the deepened pond, where it slips and is disabled.

The Klatooinians are successfully defeated and don’t return. She, Din, and Grogu stay in the village on Sorgan for a few weeks, half-heartedly discussing settling down.

However, while patrolling around the perimeter, she spots and kills a bounty hunter attempting to kill the Child. They realize there are still people after them, so they decide to part ways and leave the planet.

Heading to Nevarro

Cara Dune stays on Sorgan for some time, returning to her ‘normal’ pub-style life. Sometime later, Din Djarin returns to ask for her help taking out an Imperial warlord, Moff Gideon. He’s taken over Greef Karga’s city on Nevarro and presents a dangerous threat to Grogu.

In transport to the planet, she and the Mandalorian engage in light-hearted arm wrestling. Seeing the perceived struggle, the young Child starts to Force choke her, almost killing her before Djarin realizes what’s happening and intervenes. She’s somewhat rattled by the experience but begins to understand how much depends on protecting Grogu.

On Nevarro, they meet Karga and two of his bounty hunters. It’s a very wary and tense encounter, and he leads them toward the city. That night, they’re attacked by reptavians, and Greef is potentially fatally injured, only to be healed by Grogu’s Force powers.

The following day, he kills the two bounty hunters, telling Din, Cara, and Kuiil that the original plan was to betray them – but that he had a change of heart.

Kuiil takes Grogu back to the ship on his blurrg while Cara, Din, and Greef take the sealed but empty buggy into the city. Dune pretends to have captured the Mandalorian. The client believes the lie, but Moff Gideon, his overseer, sees through it, executing him. Kuiil is also caught up with and killed by scout troopers, who seize the Child.

After being pushed back, Din is injured. Cara continues to try to get him to remove his helmet, but he refuses. It’s against his code. Grogu kills an Incinerator trooper using the Force, tiring himself out and forcing Cara to rescue him by heading through the sewers.

Meanwhile, the reprogrammed IG-11 (who rescued the Jedi youngling from the scout troopers earlier) saves Djarin, and the two follow on shortly after.

They eventually escape down a lava river, with IG-11 sacrificing himself to save the others. Din also takes down Moff Gideon’s TIE Fighter. Greef Karga invites Cara to stay and become his personal enforcer, an offer she accepts. The Mandalorian, given a similar proposal, refuses, looking to find Grogu’s people – the Jedi.

From Nevarro to Finding the Child

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Cara stays with Greef, and the two work to clean the planet up, removing much of the scum and villainy. To further this objective, she takes the title of the city’s marshal.

Later, the Mandalorian returns, and she infiltrates an old Imperial base with him, Greef, and a Mythrol (from Season 1). Here, they discover that Gideon survived his TIE Fighter crash.

Two New Republic pilots arrive and talk to Dune. She joins the government as a Marshal and Ranger of the New Republic.

Grogu is kidnapped by Gideon, and Din Djarin returns to Nevarro to ask for her help. Although more hesitant because of the new ‘rules’ she has to follow in her position, she agrees to “pull some strings”.

She gets Migs Mayfeld released from prison so he can help them access intel leading to the Moff’s location. To do this, they head to an Imperial rhydonium refinery on Morak.

Cara operates as a sniper, along with Fennec Shand, while Din and Migs infiltrate the facility. During the process, Mayfeld proves himself to be more troubled by the Imperials than he has ever admitted, killing an officer and starting a firefight.

After being picked up, he uses a cycler rifle to blow up a rhydonium transport, effectively detonating the entire refinery.

Despite being a New Republic Marshal, Cara turns a blind eye to Mayfeld, agreeing to list him as deceased. She gives him a new chance at life.

The party hijacks an Imperials transport carrying Doctor Pershing on their way to find Grogu and Gideon. One of the pilots, a loyal Imperial, notes her Rebel and Alderaanian heritage and taunts her. After giving him an opportunity to surrender, she executes him.

After crash-landing their way onto Moff Gideon’s light cruiser, Dune infiltrates the ship along with Shand and the Mandalorians Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves. They head for the bridge while Djarin rescues the Child from Gideon, defeating him and claiming the darksaber for himself.

Cara and the other women seize the bridge, killing the officers stationed there. They’re joined by Din, Grogu, and the captured Moff Gideon, only to be trapped by the Dark troopers.

Dune watches a lone X-Wing arrive. It doesn’t look like much. But then it’s Luke Skywalker, and that’s about as cool as cool gets. He saves them and takes the Child with him, with the offer of being his first student at the new Jedi Temple.

She watches Din and Grogu share a tearful goodbye before Luke and R2 leave, taking her young friend with them.

And that is where the story – for now – ends.

Cara Dune Key Moments

cara dune key moments

All the key Cara Dune moments mentioned below come from The Mandalorian Season 1 and Season 2.

  • A New Hope (58:00 to 60:00) – 0 BBY – Alderaan is destroyed by the Empire’s DS1 Death Star while Leia is forced to watch on. Here, all of Cara’s family and friends are killed.
  • The Sanctuary (S1E4 – Chapter 4) – Cara lives on Sorgan and works as an independent mercenary. She ambushes Din Djarin, thinking he’s there to collect a bounty on her. The two fight and draw their blasters on each other simultaneously.
  • The Sanctuary (S1E4 – Chapter 4) – Cara and Din fight off Klatooinian raiders after being contracted by a local farming village. They discuss settling down but realize the bounty hunters (and, thus, Empire) are still looking for them. They and Grogu aren’t safe, so Djarin and the Child leave her on Sorgan.
  • The Reckoning (S1E7 – Chapter 7) – Cara joins Din to head to Nevarro and deal with an Imperial threat. They meet Karga, are attacked by reptavians, are saved by Greef (who has a change of heart), and try to trick Moff Gideon. Kuiil is killed trying to protect Grogu.
  • Redemption (S1E8 – Chapter 8) – Cara and the others fight out of the compound, escaping through the sewer. She has become very close with Djarin and the Child. They think they’ve eliminated Moff Gideon (but haven’t).
  • Redemption (S1E8 – Chapter 8) – Dune accepts Karga’s offer to stay on Nevarro, join the guild, and become his personal enforcer.
  • The Siege (S2E4 – Chapter 12) – on Nevarro, Cara is cleaning up the planet.
  • The Siege (S2E4 – Chapter 12) – she helps Din break into an Imperial facility on Nevarro, where they learn that Gideon has survived.
  • The Siege (S2E4 – Chapter 12 – 31:18) – a New Republic pilot talks her into becoming a New Republic Marshal and Ranger.
  • The Tragedy (S2E6 – Chapter 14) – Djarin persuades her to help him “spring” Migs Mayfeld from a New Republic prison.
  • The Believer (S2E7 – Chapter 15) – Cara gets Mayfeld out of prison. She provides sniper support (along with Fennec Shand) while he and Din infiltrate the Imperial refinery. She lets him go free in the end, offering him a second chance.
  • The Rescue (S2E8 – Chapter 16) – our heroes hijack an Imperial shuttle carrying Doctor Pershing. After taunting her about Alderaan, Dune executes one of the Imperial pilots (4:01).
  • The Rescue (S2E8 – Chapter 16) – she storms Moff Gideon’s light cruiser and takes the bridge while Din rescues Grogu. They’re trapped by the Dark troopers, but Luke Skywalker arrives to save the day. Classic Luke.

Key Themes

From what I can see, Cara is supposed to be a sort of reflection of Din Djarin. By meeting someone so similar to him (think of that first fight where they essentially tie and how they bond over looking after Grogu), he learns more about himself – and vice versa.

Let me try to prove my theory with a list of similarities I’ve found between her and the Mandalorian. Perhaps you can think of more.

  • They have an unknown lineage (to the audience, at least)
  • They become a warrior
  • They prefer to work alone (initially)
  • They live a solitary life as a mercenary
  • They’re instinctively caring towards the Child (even though it doesn’t necessarily make tactical or financial sense)
  • Their first meeting ends with them both drawing on each other simultaneously (as in, equal skill)
  • Their entire family is cruelly wiped out while they’re away

Despite being so similar and starting out in pretty much the same circumstances, the two have very different paths to tread. While she settles down, eventually staying on Nevarro in an official position and then ultimately becoming a New Republic Marshal, Din remains on the run with Grogu.

She and Din learn from each other, seeing the importance of doing something good in the galaxy while sticking to one’s codes. However, they also develop adaptability – when to bend the rules (remove the helmet or allow the prisoner to go free) for the betterment of the greater good.

They also see the importance of settling down, but not without sacrificing their values and crucial objectives (such as the protection of Grogu).

Cara might be relatively secondary in terms of the plot of The Mandalorian, but her own character development is just as enjoyable.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning her position as a female character.

Cara is the first strong female lead in The Mandalorian. She doesn’t do anything too out there, nor does she particularly behave any differently to Din.

This equality (including in their initial skirmish) is vital. She paves the way for introducing other female leadership characters later, especially in Season 2.

Key Quotes

cara dune star wars figure

Sanctuary – introducing herself to Din Djarin:

Saw most of my action mopping up after Endor. Mostly ex-Imperial warlords… when the Imps were gone, the politics started. We were peacekeepers, protecting delegates, suppressing riots… not what I signed up for.

Sanctuary – to Din Djarin about his helmet:

So, what happens if you take that thing off?

The Reckoning – talking about Moff Gideon:

We take out the head Imp. The rest will run like rats.

Redemption – while holding out against Moff Gideon:

That’s easy for you to say. I’m a Rebel Shock Trooper – they’ll upload me to a Mind Flayer.

The Believer – to Migs Mayfeld:

All you need to know is I bent a lot of rules to bring you along.

The Siege – to the New Republic pilot:

I’m not a ‘joiner’, Blue.

The Siege – to the New Republic pilot about Alderaan:

I lost everyone.

The Rescue – to the Imperial pilot holding Doctor Pershing hostage and taunting her:

Last chance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a Rebel Shock Trooper (like Cara Dune)?

Answer: A Rebel shock trooper was a stealthy Special Forces unit created by the Rebels and the New Republic. After the death of Darth Sidious, many ex-Imperials became warlords, using their skills and contacts to maintain their positions and continue exploiting a local populous.
Shock troopers were sent to neutralize these threats. They had no reinforcements and no backup. The Rebels and New Republic leaders wanted these jobs done quickly and quietly without drawing attention to their shady but necessary deeds.
Although it felt like a term I’ve heard before, ‘Rebel shock troopers’ – also called ‘droppers’ – were created for The Mandalorian and the character of Cara Dune.

Question: Will Cara Dune Return to Star Wars?

Answer: I can’t answer that one. You’ll undoubtedly have heard about the controversial social media posts and how Disney publicly fell out with Gina Carano.
As of February 2021, there are no plans for the character to return and no suggestions that Cara Dune will be recast. There are always so-called ‘leaks’ and rumors swirling around, but it seems unlikely for the moment.
We’ll see. Amends might be made in the future. But, for now, the story of Cara Dune is likely to be dealt with in throwaway lines, plot points, and possibly books or comics.

Question: Why does Cara Dune become a New Republic Marshal?

Answer: From what I can tell, Cara Dune becomes a New Republic Marshal because of her conversation with Carson Teva (the pilot) about Alderaan. He understands her loss and offers his sincere condolences. She blames the Empire for their loss; for making an example of her home planet without provocation.
Before accepting the badge from Teva, she’s already acting as an unofficial marshal next to Greef Karga. For example, we see her cleaning out the criminals at the start of The Siege. Taking an official position is no different in the realities posed by an Outer Rim planet, but it opens up more resources.
As a New Republic Marshal, she has access to a vast database. She also has the power to free prisoners without question (shown towards the end of Season 2).
These can be used to ensure the Empire never rises again and keep scum and villainy far away. Her character has grown from when we first met her (looking out for herself and those immediately close to her) to looking out for others, ensuring Alderaan never happens again.

Conclusion

For a character that’s only popped up in seven live-action Star Wars episodes, Cara Dune is a fascinating character. She represents the struggle for independence without sacrificing order and maintaining discipline alongside freedom. It’s a complex subject and isn’t delved into in too much detail on this occasion, but it’s well worth pondering.

I feel that Cara’s primary purpose in the plot of The Mandalorian is to make Din Djarin grow. The two face similar struggles and pasts, and although their paths take them in different directions, they learn the same things.

She’s definitely still a vital character in her own right, and the storyline briefly touches on how she deals with grief. Still, it’s not explored in any great depth. That could happen in the series’ future (or separately). Perhaps not.

Finally, Cara wants to protect the Child. She’s almost a reluctant motherly figure, doing what she can to look after the Jedi youngling. And that endears her to all of us.

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