If you saw Solo: A Star Wars Story and were entranced by one particularly amazing singer during our heroes' visit to a space yacht, you are not alone. She didn't get much screen time, but she totally owned every second.
We're talking about the talented and captivating Aurodia Ventafoli, and she deserves a whole lot more. Maybe even her own spinoff. Sy Snootles ain't got nothin' on Miss Aurodia, that's for sure. Eat your heart out, Max Rebo.
Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story below.
Around the time Han, Chewbacca, and Beckett travel to First Light, the yacht of the crime lord and leader of the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate, we hear an unmistakably awesome song being performed by a gorgeous lady with some kind of weird box in her mouth. Well, at least that's what I thought it was. A box, or some sort of hideously mutated alien without real lips, because this is the Star Wars universe and anything can happen, right?
We don't get to see any more of Ventafoli after that, and I left the theater thinking about how criminally underutilized she was. An awesome woman—a woman of color at that—with a siren's voice, just left to the side without a proper introduction? Nah. I had to get home and get to the bottom of who she was, or at least who portrayed her, because that whole music scene was sick.
Aurodia Ventafoli was played by Sema-Tawi Smart, and, according to a description in Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide, the mouthpiece she was using was actually a multi-vocoder, meant to boost her voice to reach non-human frequencies. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't just part of her anatomy, but there was a sense of camaraderie knowing she was a human. Apparently, she was booked by Dryden Vos for an extended residency on First Light, so girlfriend better have been makin' bank. The alien paired up with her was Luleo Primoc, some sort of classic singer. Ventafoli herself was actually a human singer who was usually in high demand, like modern-day pop stars.
According to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary, Ventafoli was clad in a dress made out of corded auropyle, the very same material used to make Supreme Leader Snoke's robes.
After that, the trail went a bit cold for the character in this form, but Aurodia Ventafoli, who now has the nickname "Chanteuse of the Stars," was based on a character who appeared back in Marvel's Star Wars #77, originally named Shirley.
There's not a lot of information floating around online about how the singer transformed into Ventafoli, but from what I can gather, there was a storyline in which Leia was mistaken for Shirley and had to perform a musical number as the pop star. Some of those comics were weird. Solo: A Star Wars Story's credits via IMDb list Smart as "Chanteuse," so it has to be the same character, though it doesn't look like there's enough information to confirm the minor details about changes or her origin story.
But I want to know more. Most importantly, I want to hear more from Smart and her badass songstress. I'm ready for a spinoff, to be honest. It's time for galactic pop stars in Star Wars to take over, and I'm hoping the next summer blockbuster is all about Aurodia Ventafoli, because I'm so here for it.