When Westworld star Thandiwe Newton appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the 2018 spin-off movie from Lucasfilm, she made history. Never before in the decades long history of the series had a black woman played a major role on screen and it took until the tenth live-action movie in the franchise at that time for it to happen. Many fans were excited to see her appear in the origin movie for the space smuggler but were quickly deflated after watching the movie and realizing that her character Val is pretty unceremoniously killed off. Speaking in a new interview Newton made her feelings on it all clear, saying she was "disappointed" by it and that it wasn't written that way.
"I felt disappointed by Star Wars that my character was killed. And, actually, in the script, she wasn't killed," Newton revealed to Inverse. "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 went on to reveal that this was what originally happened with Val, the explosion on the train occurs and it's unclear what happened to her, perhaps setting up her eventual return.
"So I could have come back at some point," She added. "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-cking joking?"
The behind-the-scenes fiasco that took place on Solo may have also changed these plans as it was well publicized regarding directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller exiting the film and being replaced by Ron Howard.
Elements from Solo have only now begun to pop up in larger Star Wars media too with Emilia Clarke's character Qi'ra recently becoming a main character in one of the Star Wars comic book crossovers. So far Newton's Val and Woody Harrelson's Tobias Beckett (who are married in the context of the film) have only appeared in comic stories related to Solo's release and in the IDW Star Wars Adventures series for one story.
Perhaps the only saving grace to this entire thing is, like they say in Star Wars, No one's ever really gone.