Thandiwe Newton has spoken out about her involvement in Solo: A Star Wars Story, stating that her character’s death was a “big mistake”.
The actress played Val – wife to criminal Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) – in the Star Wars spin-off, which charted the origins of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich).
Newton’s character made history as the first Black woman to have a major role in the franchise, but Val was swiftly killed off by the end of the film – a decision which wasn’t in the original script.
Speaking to Inverse, Newton said: “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. 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.”
She added: “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?”
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the only film in the franchise to be considered a box office failure, earning just $83.3 million at the US box office in its opening weekend. In comparison, fellow spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story achieved $155.1 million.
Newton’s latest film is Reminiscence from Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy, which has similarly been a box office bomb after attracting just $2 million in its opening weekend in North America.