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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Thandie Newton paid a special tribute to the black "Star Wars" actors who came before her when she walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.

Newton, the first woman of color to nab a leading role in the long-running franchise, showed up to Tuesday's premiere of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" wearing a custom Vivienne Westwood Couture gown featuring the images of every black "Star Wars" character dating back to 1977's "A New Hope."

Thandie Newton pays tribute to black "Star Wars" actors at Cannes Film Festival
Newton's gown honored the black characters in the "Star Wars" franchise.Getty Images

According to Entertainment Weekly, the 45-year-old British actress, who plays Val in the new Han Solo-centered prequel, invited photographer Christian Högstedt to take photos of "Star Wars" action figures from her personal collection. The photos were then layered over Westwood’s Absence of Roses pale gold and grey floral print.

Thandie Newton at "Solo: A Star Wars Story" premiere at Cannes Film Festival
The dress honored "Star Wars" characters both classic and recent.Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

The eye-catching gown featured the likenesses of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, John Boyega as Finn, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera and Hugh Quarshie as Captain Panaka. (Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o also appeared in two recent "Star Wars" films, but her character was a computer-generated space creature.)

Cast of "Star Wars: A Solo Story" at Cannes Film Festival
Newton poses at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" with director Ron Howard and her castmates.Reuters

Newton's stylist Erin Walsh took to Instagram to share a slideshow of a design illustration and close-up shots of the epic gown's fun fabric.

"For tonight's #StarWars premiere, Thandie had the brilliant idea to make a dress covered in a print with photos of iconic black @starwars characters! She wanted to celebrate her role in the iconic history of the franchise!!" Walsh captioned the images.

While the "Westworld" star's dress made an important statement about representation in Hollywood, it was also sustainably designed as part of Eco-Age’s Green Carpet Challenge. All of the dress' materials were ethically sourced, right down to the upcycled Swarovski crystals embellishing its train.