It’s no secret that Solo: A Star Wars Story didn’t have the smoothest production. Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were slated to direct the film, but after several months of production, they stepped down due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. Ron Howard was brought on board to replace them and he wound up reshooting close to three-quarters of the film. There were naturally plenty of changes along the way and one of the biggest was the fate of Thandiwe Newton’s character.
Val was the wife of Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and a skilled criminal who took part in the coaxium heist. As we know, Val didn’t survive, which was a shame as the character deserved better, but Thandiwe Newton told Inverse that Val actually made it out alive in the original script.
I felt disappointed by Star Wars that my character was killed. And, actually, in the script, she wasn’t killed. It happened during filming. And 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.
Newton continued, “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. But 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. You don’t kill off the first Black woman to ever have a real role in a Star Wars movie. Like, are you fucking joking?” Although the planned sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story likely won’t happen, it would have been nice to know that Val was still out there… somewhere.
Thandiwe Newton was most recently seen starring alongside Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller written and directed by Westworld creator Lisa Joy. You can check out a review of Reminiscence from our own Chris Bumbray right here.