- Thandiwe Newton told Inverse that it was a ‘big, big mistake” to kill off her character in “Solo.”
- Newton was the first Black woman, who was not cast as an alien, to have a major role in the series.
- She said that her death was not originally in the script but was changed during filming.
Actress Thandiwe Newton told Inverse that she thought it was a “big, big mistake” for her character in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” to be killed off considering she was the first Black woman to have a major role in the franchise.
The movie follows the origins of the iconic “Star Wars” smuggler, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich). Newton played Val, a no-nonsense smuggler who was part of a crew that Solo joins in the movie.
Val sacrifices herself and dies in the first third of the movie but Newton says that wasn’t originally how the scene was going to play out.
She told Inverse: “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.”
“That’s what it originally was: that the explosion and she falls out and you don’t know where she’s gone,” she continued. “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.”
As a franchise, “Star Wars” has had a complicated history when it comes to diversity. Critics, such as Alistair Crighton from Aljazeera, have condemned the racial and cultural stereotypes used in the “Star Wars” prequels. Last year, John Boyega also criticized the handling of his character in the “Star Wars” sequels in an interview with GQ because he thought Finn was marketed as “important” in the trailers only to be sidelined in the actual movie.
Newton herself also spoke to RadioTimes about the significance of her role in “Solo” in 2018 considering that multiple Black women before her had only been cast as aliens.
She said, “I’m the first woman of color to have a prominent role in the ‘Star Wars’ legacy. There have been others with one line and Lupita Nyong’o was a computer-generated character [in ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’], but you didn’t get to see the color of her skin. I’m the first. I’m going to have a toy and everything. It’s exciting, but that’s all I can say. It is a big deal.”
Hence she was not pleased with the end result for Val. She said in the Inverse interview: “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 f—ing joking?”