- "I can take out the guards at the perimeter. Signalman, pilot, hell I'll just take them all out."
- ―Val, to Tobias Beckett
Val was a female human criminal who worked with fellow outlaw Tobias Beckett during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Val was a no-nonsense and occasionally prickly woman who was a crack shot with a blaster rifle.
Val was highly secretive about her past, including her full name. All that was known about her past was that she grew up on Solarine and her father was a musician, and she was named after the valachord musical instrument.
By the reign of the Galactic Empire, Val was already working with the scoundrel Tobias Beckett and the Ardennian pilot Rio Durant. They formed a crew which carried out risky though profitable heists. She and Beckett, in addition, shared a romantic relationship.
Rescue of Beckett
Val infiltrated the base of the Winds of Ruin to rescue Beckett who was imprisoned by the criminals. During the escape, Beckett freed the musician Tu-Wane Jipps who owed a debt to Beckett. Beckett threatened to turn Jipps over to the Hutts is he did not help him. Val provided cover fire while Beckett helped the musician to the hangars. In the hangar the trio was cornered by the Ruin until Rio Durant arrived to provide the group with a means of escape.
On the starship, Val was angry at Beckett for putting her in danger just to save on of his gambling buddies. But Beckett promised to Val that he had a surprise for her. When the ship landed Beckett brought out Val and surprised her with a relaxing sunset picnic and music provided by Jipps. Val called Beckett "fantastic" as the couple enjoyed the view.
Meeting with Han Solo
- "None of your business company. And we're full up."
- ―Val, to Han Solo, when asked what company she was with
Ten years before the Battle of Yavin, during a war on Mimban, Val infiltrated the Mimban Stormtrooper troops along with Beckett and Durant. There, they met the young Han Solo, who wanted to join them as part of their crew. Val didn't agree in letting Solo join them, but Beckett decided to give the boy an opportunity by leading him to be locked for insubordination. Solo was ultimately able to escape with the Wookiee Chewbacca, who was initially intended to devour them, so Beckett decided to let them join his crew.
Once they arrived at Vandor, Beckett's crew spied the 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport that they had been planning to steal in order to acquire its Coaxium cargo to pay Beckett's debt with the crime lord Dryden Vos, leader of Crimson Dawn. As the crew spied, they wished for the absence of Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Riders the next day. That night, before sleeping with the campfire they had made, Val kissed Beckett while they told about what they planned to do with their share from the heist.
The Conveyex heist and death
The next morning, while Beckett, Solo, and Chewbacca managed to take possession of the cargo wagon by getting rid of range troopers and separating some of the cars, Val prepared to detonate a bridge to allow the crew's stolen AT hauler to lift one of the Conveyex cars away as the rest of the train fell into a ravine.
Unfortunately, Nest and the Cloud-Riders appeared on scene to steal the coaxium from Beckett's hands, managing to fatally wound Rio as he piloted the hauler. As Solo fought to gain control of the ship, a security sensor was tripped, alerting several viper probe droids. Though Val managed to take out some of the droids, she found herself pinned, realizing that the Conveyex was getting too close to allow time to abandon her position to join the others. Communicating with Beckett about the change of plans, she told Beckett that she loved him and subsequently detonated the bomb, blowing herself up and destroying the bridge.
Ultimately, Val's sacrifice was in vain as Solo was forced to let the cargo go in order to save Beckett, Chewie, and himself from certain death. Once all had finished, Beckett punched Solo in the face because of Val's death and their failure in acquiring the Coaxium. Later on, while visiting Vos with the empty hands, Vos expressed his condolences to Beckett for Val's death before threatening him for his failure.
Behind the scenes
- "We talked about it a little bit, you know, I feel like Beckett saved her life at some point, and I feel like it may have been perilous for him to do that, so there's a sense of gratitude and loyalty there."
- ―Thandiwe Newton about Val's backstory
Val was portrayed by Thandiwe Newton in the 2018 Star Wars Anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Newton's casting in the film was first announced on February 21, 2017. Her name was revealed with a set of promotional images sent out to various news websites alongside the teaser trailer.
In the DVD commentary of Solo, Newton revealed her thoughts about Val's backstory which she discussed with the filmmakers, stating that she likes to feel that Tobias Beckett saved Val from a dangerous situation at some point and that it was perilous for him to do that, earning Val's gratitude and loyalty in the process. The look of Val was inspired by pictures of female members of the Viet Cong and Black Panther Party, along with civil rights activist Angela Davis.
Following the release of Solo, co-writer Jon Kasdan expressed regret for having Val killed off early in the film, saying that Newton's acting was quite good and it would have been interesting having her playing a larger role in the film. In a 2021 interview with Inverse, Newton expressed her outrage at Val's death early in the film due to her feelings of Val's significance as the first human black woman to have a notable role in a Star Wars film; Newton further elaborated that Val didn't die in the original script, with her falling out after the explosion, hinting at her survival, but this was ultimately changed when the scene was filmed, as the crew felt that the sequence would require a large set-piece and that it would be much easier to kill Val in the explosion.
- "Tales of Villainy: Credits"—Star Wars Adventures (2020) 4
- Beckett 1
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (First appearance)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition audiobook
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Read-Along Storybook and CD
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Han on the Run
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Meet the Crew
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Train Heist
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 1
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 2
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 3 (Mentioned only)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 6 (Mentioned only)