Friday, July 2, 2021

Loving Val , Revisiting Solo A Star Wars Story

To talk about Val and Thandiwe Newton I need to first talk about John Boyega. The Force Awakens planted a seed in me that demanded realization. The first snippet of John in his Stormtrooper helmet brought a sea of reactions, but the strongest one reached back to my 10 year old self. The girl that turned paper towel rolls into lightsabers in the summer of '77  The young girl who pasted  a Star Wars card at the end of her  Astronomy Report ( I got an A).

That young girl never saw herself on screen, but she loved the galaxy anyway. Finn made my mind go back to that place, and had me ask  an important question. Where is she? Where is the"Finn" of the galaxy for me?

That woman became Thandiwe Newton and Val. There are many opinions you could read about Val. How she was  "wasted" How Star Wars once again dropped the ball on representation. There is some validity to these statements. But what  I want to do is celebrate a character that lived, and died by her own personal code.

From the moment Thandiwe was announced in the role she embraced it much like Val herself. She brought attention to the few POC in the live action galaxy by wearing them on a stunning dress. I remember having conversations with friends when they realized how few there actually were. 

I also remember many of my friends saying "sorry" when she met her fate but for once I had no sorrow. Her existence is a step forward and her loss though disappointing doesn't diminish her excellence.  Val lived and died on her own terms even giving a bad-ass line at the end of her life to the man she chose to love. Her ride and die companion in a rough galaxy.

Val is a part of my favorite galaxy. She burned bright and is immortalized in all the accouterments of the saga: Funko, Black Series, Trading Cards and her legacy still shows up in wonderful ways like this recent issue of Star Wars adventures :

I will always want more of Val and with stories dipping in and out of the galaxy there may one day be more , but it's enough that she exists and she fabulous!

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