SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY's Thandiwe Newton Calls Out Lucasfilm Over Val's Death: "Are You F***ing Joking?"
Solo: A Star Wars Story star Thandiwe Newton has taken Lucasfilm to task for the way Val was treated in the movie, revealing that it wasn't always the plan for the character to be killed off that way...
Solo: A Star Wars Story was plagued by production issues, and original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were ultimately replaced by Ron Howard. While the movie was met with mostly positive reviews, it massively underwhelmed at the box office and signs of reshoots were clear to see.
Thandiwe Newton played Val, making history as the franchise's first female Black character in a lead role. Unfortunately, she was killed off in relatively short order, but that wasn't the original plan.
Talking to Inverse, Newton confirmed that Val had a different fate in the screenplay she was given, but that changed due to what sound like cost-cutting measures. "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," Newton 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."
"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?" Needless to say, this reflects poorly on Lucasfilm.
John Boyega has taken the studio to task for how Finn was treated in the Star Wars sequels, and to kill off Val because it was too much hassle to put that sequence together...well, it doesn't point to Lucasfilm caring too much that they finally had a Black female lead in this Galaxy Far, Far Away.
At this point in production, Solo had become something of a disaster, so this isn't too surprising. We're hopeful the decision wasn't race-related on Lucasfilm's part, but we can't disagree with anything Newton says. The full interview with the actress is well worth reading, so be sure to check it out.