Star Wars fans were thrilled when it was announced that Westworld star Thandie Newton was joining Solo: A Star Wars Story, only to be disappointed with her minimal amount of screen time before her character's death. With Val being an inherently sacrificial character, even co-writer Jonathan Kasdan thought Newton was too good of a performer to have to settle for such little screen time.
"In retrospect, Thandie Newton may have actually been too good and too interesting as Val," the writer shared on Twitter. "It was always in the design of the story that Beckett would lose his trusted crew members during the Conveyex Job-gone-wrong and be forced to rely on newbies, Han and Chewie, and this would also open the door for Lando, Qi'ra, and L3 to join the crew, but Thandie is so compelling to watch that the death of her character feels a little like a cheat. It's an odd and unexpected problem that comes with working with such amazing, compelling actors in the Star Wars universe. You just want more of them."
From a filmmaking perspective, an important element of assembling the cast is finding the best performer to do the job, with Newton making Val a compelling and interesting character. A director can't always anticipate how audiences will react to the role, though it sounds as if Kasdan wished either Newton hadn't been cast or her character had been given more to do.
Newton's performance as Maeve on the HBO series has launched her into the spotlight, even earning herself an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Fans are thrilled to see her performances, despite her almost leaving acting behind.
"I was actually thinking of, very seriously, thinking of quitting acting because I write now and I wanted to direct my own material. And we have three children," Newton shared with Deadline earlier this year. "Time is precious. The time I'm gonna spend away from my children has to really be worthwhile and it was becoming less and less worthwhile for me, frankly, aside from paying the bills, and so on."
In addition to exploring other elements of filmmaking, it was negative interactions with male directors that turned her off from acting.
"And I'd found myself being in situations where I was being exploited, plain and simple," Newton confessed. "Whether it was with nudity, whether it was with using the skills that I'd honed and taken time to grow, and I really care about what I do, as an actor, and I'm using those skills to say words that I couldn't fully get behind, as a political activist, as a thinker, as an anthropologist who's got a degree from Cambridge University. "
Luckily, Newton found passion and inspiration in a number of characters, allowing audiences to see her impressive acting abilities.
You can see Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story, out now on Digital HD and out on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th.
Do you think Newton was wasted in the film? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!