Thandiwe Newton recently opened up about a major complaint she has regarding the way her Solo: A Star Wars Story character Val was treated in the movie. While speaking to Inverse about her newest film, Reminiscence, Newton opened up about her role in the 2018 Han Solo origin story film. She very candidly addressed Val's death, saying, "I felt disappointed by Star Wars that my character was killed."
She went on to share that "in the script" Val "wasn't killed," and that the change "happened during filming." Newton explained that "it was much more just to do with the time we had to do the scenes. It's much easier just to have me die than it is to have me fall into a vacuum of space so I can come back sometime. That's what it originally was: that the explosion and she falls out and you don't know where she's gone. So I could have come back at some point."
I spoke to Thandiwe Newton, and she was brilliant: honest, articulate, impassioned. Excerpts from our conversation around REMINISCENCE, in which she spoke frankly about Star Wars failing Val in SOLO and the trajectory of WESTWORLD, on @inversedotcom. https://t.co/efqEL4Ge9M— Isaac Feldberg (@isaacfeldberg) August 25, 2021
However, that is not how things transpired when she showed up to shoot her scenes. "When we came to filming, as far as I was concerned and was aware, when it came to filming that scene, it was too huge a set-piece to create, so they just had me blow up and I'm done. But I remembered at the time thinking, 'This is a big, big mistake' — not because of me, not because I wanted to come back." Newton then asserted, "You don't kill off the first Black woman to ever have a real role in a Star Wars movie. Like, are you f—ing joking?"
It was no secret that Solo: A Star Wars Story was a complicated movie to make, with its production being marred by controversy. The film started out being directed by filmmaking duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, but they exited the movie halfway through production, citing "creative differences" with Lucasfilm. Oscar-winning director Ron Howard was then brought in to finish the film. It is currently unclear if it was Lord and Miller or Howard who chose to have Val killed, as Newton did not offer any indication either way. The film would go on to be considered the only Star Wars to bomb at the box office.