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During the train heist on planet Vandor in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Thandie Newton's character, Val, blows up the bridge railway while being on it herself.

Why does she decide to do this? The easy question to answer is "Why did the bridge need blowing up?", but the one I'm more eager to have answered is, "Why does she decide her life is worth sacrificing?"

  • Me and my friends came out of the movie without understanding why the bridge needed blowing up in the first place. I'm hoping it was explained in the planning phase and we just forgot. My guesses are either to mask the robbery, or something to do with the viper bots near-by not giving pursuit. – CyberClaw May 28 '18 at 11:01
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    @CyberClaw My assumption was that the train was somehow mechanically coupled to the track (like a bead on a thread for example) and that breaking the track was the only way to be able to lift the carriage clear. – Mr_Thyroid May 28 '18 at 13:39
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This kind of thing always seems like a rash move in films where characters are frequently rescued at the last moment against overwhelming odds (hasn't she seen any of the other films?). However, she was virtually surrounded, she had almost no cover, her part of the mission was critical to its success and detonating the explosives there and then was the only way to ensure the bridge was destroyed.

She would have known from the start that the success or failure of the mission would likely mean life or death for the whole team; so it was important to destroy the bridge at all cost. Perhaps this is why she was able to make the decision so quickly?

Basically, she thought she was about to die anyway.

  • Good points, although frequently our characters find themselves in similarly perilous situations, only to be deus ex Chewbacca'd at some point, so it seems like lazy writing to make that selection arbitrary. – Ghoti and Chips May 27 '18 at 15:49
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    One way you could improve your answer: Woody Harrelson's character, Beckett, reveals minutes later that their lives depended on getting that cargo, so it makes sense that Val would factor that into her decision, too, seeing as she cared for Beckett romantically. – Ghoti and Chips May 27 '18 at 15:50
  • @GhotiandChips I think that's true for most of the Skywalker Saga, but Rogue One kind of counters that by showing a story of many main characters dying for the sake of the bigger picture, being more militarily realistic. The beginning of TLJ inserted this idea too, so I think Solo a Star Wars story, like TLJ tried to find a happy medium between the two ideas, as Disney transitions to move past The Skywalker Saga and it's themes! Do I think it works well on film? Not really, because there isn't enough time to invest in those characters dying, but with Val it was even more so dying so soon. – Darth Locke Jun 16 at 18:39
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The train line had to be blown up in order to get the cargo container off, as the cargo container essentially surrounds the train line. There might be a different mechanism to get it on and off, but they were acting fast and dirty.

Val sacrificed herself because she knew that, without this cargo, Beckett would most likely be killed by Dryden Vos, a member of Crimson Dawn whom Beckett owed a substantial debt to.

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    The answer that I would happily accept lies somewhere in the nebulous intersect (Venn diagram) of this answer and Mr_Thyroid's answer. Your answer contains the feedback I left him. My feedback for you would be to emphasise her dire situation (being surrounded and likely about to be killed anyhow), without which your answer leaves the gap open for the inference, "So, she planned to suicide-bomb that bridge from the get-go?". – Ghoti and Chips May 29 '18 at 14:30
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Val is pinned down by Viper Droids, and chooses to sacrifice herself for the mission.

In the planning, they explain how Val blowing up the track is crucial to the mission.

The train's upper and lower cars surround the track, so the track must be severed in order for them to steal the cargo. It doesn't necessarily have to be done at the bridge, that's just where they decided (probably easier to plant explosives without being seen).

BECKETT: We hit the Conveyex between the tower and the bridge. Rio drops us in, we separate the payload container, cable it up to the AT Hauler, and then--

VAL: Rio jams their distress signal, I blow the bridge, the container slides right off the track and we sail away.

When it's time to blow the bridge, Val is pinned down by two Viper Droids. She realizes that she has little chance of fighting off both droids and getting off the bridge, so she sacrifices herself for the mission (killing the droids in the process).

BECKETT: Val, you've gotta get off that bridge! We're here!

VAL: They've got me pinned. I'm gonna have to finish the job from right here.

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