“Westworld” and “Line of Duty” alum Thandiwe Newton joined Lucasfilm’s “Solo: A Story Wars Story” back when original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were onboard.
The pair famously were taken off that film with filmmaker Ron Howard then taking over to conduct some expensive and extensive reshoots that changed much of the story.
One key change was Newton’s character Val. Speaking with Inverse to promote “Reminiscence,” the actress revealed that originally she wasn’t supposed to die on camera with Val’s fate to be left a mystery with her being shot into space:
“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.”
Instead she was killed in an explosion during the Imperial train heist. Newton believes Lucasfilm killing off their first major Black female “Star Wars” character is not a good image:
“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 f—ing joking?”
In spite of the expense and time, the film was famously a box office bomb with the only potential follow-up being Justin Simien’s “Lando” series currently in development.