In an interview with Inverse to promote her appearance in the new movie Reminiscence, Thandiwe Newton spoke on the death of Val, the character she portrayed in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The Train Job
According to the interview, Val – who was the first Black female protagonist to appear on the big screen in the long-running Star Wars series – did not die in the draft of the script Newton received prior to filming. Instead, she vanished off-screen after an explosion, leaving her character’s fate in question (and allowing for a subsequent return, like Emilia Clarke‘s Qi’ra, who has recently appeared in the panels of War of the Bounty Hunters).
According to Newton, when it came time to film the scene, having the character fall off-screen proved too complicated, and instead, the decision to literally blow the character up was made on-set.
Newton told Inverse that she recalled thinking at the time that it was “a big, big mistake,” not for personal reasons, but rather, because Val was the first time such representation had appeared in the Star Wars universe.
“You don’t kill off the first Black woman to ever have a real role in a Star Wars movie,” Newton told Inverse. “Like, are you fucking joking?”
In May 2018, Newton appeared on the Red Carpet for the premiere of Solo at Cannes wearing a dress that featured images of all of the Black characters that had appeared on the big screen in a Star Wars movie up to that point.
— Geeks of Color #BlackLivesMatter (@GeeksOfColor) May 15, 2018
The actors featured on the dress included her Solo co-star Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, as well as John Boyega as Finn, a role he has since renounced (with no love lost for Lucasfilm).
Newton’s Newer Projects
In addition to appearing in Reminiscence, Newton is working on the fourth season of Westworld, and she told Inverse that she is currently passionate about producing documentaries (with President, directed by Camilla Nielsson and co-produced by Newton’s Solo co-star Glover, being a project she is currently promoting).
And you can read The Beat’s review of Reminiscence here.