Thandie Newton can’t say much about the upcoming Star Wars Han Solo movie, except that she had no idea what she was getting into and is very excited to be on board.
Speaking with Oprah Winfrey for a recent installment of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series presented by Shutterstock, Newton recalled her first impressions of the secretive Lucasfilm project and lamented that she’s contractually obligated not to give anything away.
“I had these ideas of what it would be, and it was completely different to everything I imagined,” Newton said. “I’m so thrilled, but I’ve signed a non-disclosure [agreement] and I can’t say a word.”
Newton is playing an undisclosed character in the untitled Star Wars spinoff (or “anthology” film), alongside Alden Ehrenreich as Han, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson as a mentor figure, and Emilia Clarke as another mystery character. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing.
“To be part of a legacy like Star Wars, it’s loved for a reason,” Newton told Winfrey. “I could have been in it for a brief little nothing and I would have been thrilled and delighted.” It was even more meaningful, she said, “to be taken seriously, a woman of color at 44 years old, to be in a dope-ass franchise.”
Newton also said it was important to diversify the Star Wars universe as it moves forward. “We are all in this together,” she said. “We need to let go; accept; not be so afraid; fight for the truth if we know it; if we don’t know it, ask questions until you do know.”
Watch Newton and Winfrey in the video above.