Solo's Thandiwe Newton Explains The 'Mistake' Of Killing Her Character, And Why It Happened

Thandiwe Newton as Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story

In 2018, the Star Wars franchise wound the clock back to show Han Solo’s origins in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and among the people Alden Ehrenreich’s version of the character was Thandiwe Newton’s Val, the wife of Woody Harrelson’s Beckett. Unfortunately, Val’s time in the movie was rather short, with the character meeting her demise during Han’s first heist with Beckett’s crew. Three years after, Newton has shed light on why Val died, as well as voiced her disapproval of the creative decision.

For those who need a refresher, after Val was cornered by some security droids during the heist and realized she wouldn’t be able to safely rendezvous with Beckett and the others as planned, she sacrificed herself to detonate the bridge that the Conveyex transport they were robbing was traveling down. However, Thandiwe Newton informed Inverse that originally Val was supposed to make it out of Solo: A Star Wars Story alive. In her words:

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.

So evidently the change in Val’s fate came down to time constraints during the filming of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Apparently in the scenario where Val was kept alive, she wouldn’t have factored into the rest of Solo’s story, but the door was open for her to return, be it in Solo 2 or another Star Wars project. But that’s not what happened, and Thandiwe Newton was dissatisfied with Val being killed off even during Solo’s principal photography. The actress 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?

Thandiwe Newton is correct that she was the first Black woman to have a prominent role in a Star Wars movie, with Naomi Ackie following in her footsteps as Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the following year. Considering that Val’s death was for naught since Han Solo had to ditch the stolen cargo to save Chewbacca and Beckett, at least if she’d fallen to parts unknown, she could have embarked on new adventures. Though unfortunately for Han, she never would have reunited with Beckett, as her husband was fatally shot by Han before he could gun down the young man.

In any case, there’s always the possibility we could see a prequel story featuring Val told someday, but as far as the Star Wars franchise’s current creative endeavors go, the next movie on the slate is Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron, while Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett will keep things going on the TV front this winter. Learn what else is coming to a galaxy far, far away with our Star Wars movies and TV shows guide. Thandiwe Newton fans can see her starring opposite Hugh Jackman in Reminiscence, which is playing in theaters and on HBO Max.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.