Even with more details and insight into Val’s thinking in the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization, her death still feels pointless.
One of my favorite things about Solo: A Star Wars Story was Val. Thandie Newton is an incredible actress and nothing pleased me more than to see her on screen. Which then led to my least favorite moment of Solo …
… Val’s sacrifice.
I had hoped reading the novelization of Solo: A Star Wars Story would shed some light into why this path made sense. And it did, to a point, but it Val still seems like a wasted character that could have been and done so much more.
More from Solo: A Star Wars Story
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- How many Oscars has Star Wars won?
- How did the Millennium Falcon make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?
- Emilia Clarke would love to reprise her Star Wars role — she just hasn’t been asked yet
- Will Alden Ehrenreich return as Han Solo?
In the movie, we meet Beckett and Val, a couple who steals together. They are rough and tough having been through so much. But, somehow, they managed to find each other and stay together until the job went sideways to steal the refined coaxium. Val’s part was to blow out a bridge, which would have sent the front of the train falling away while the hauler with attached cables to the coaxium car would have pulled it away.
However, Enfys Nest and her crew showed up and wound up killing Rio and their interruption led to Val’s death. The circumstances around her death didn’t seem clear in the movie, but there were some more details provided in the book to show why it was her only option:
"She’d have to place the charges, fire the grapping gun to a safe part of the bridge to be far enough away from the explosion and the droids while the bridge blew, and then rappel down to meet the team on the ground."
That was always the plan, but Enfys Nest ruined it. While trying to rid of Enfys Nest’s riders and save their own skin, Beckett and company managed to trip the sensors that alerted the viper droids. They were immediately on the bridge and firing on Val.
She shot a few down, but while trying to avoid them, she lost her grappling gun and blaster. All she was left with was the trigger for the bombs. Here’s a part from the book:
"Currently she was on the part of the track that would be obliterated in moments. If she went back, she would be blown to bits; if she moved forward, she’d be out of the minimal shelter and the droids would cut her to pieces."
Val was stuck. There was nothing for her to do because it seemed she would die regardless of the choice she would make.
Yet, it still was a pointless death. They got nothing out of it but grief for Beckett who really didn’t show much of it in the movie. At least the novel made things clear, but that doesn’t make the waste of Val any better. We obviously can’t get her back and we did get to see her in the Beckett one-shot comic that recently came out, but it wasn’t enough.
The Solo: A Star Wars Story novel is great, especially for the added insight like we got with Val. While she was on the bridge knowing what her next move would be, we got some backstory on her and Beckett. We learned about how she cared for him, and her love of the chase. They were good for each other, but also bad for each other. Even after this big job, she knew she never would have left the lifestyle. She liked it too much.
Living life has hard and fast as she did, an early death was likely the final outcome, but it should have been better. At least, she could have died for something.
Check out the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization. It’s in bookstores now.