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Star Wars' Gwendoline Christie: Last Jedi goes 'deeper,' 'further' than previous film

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Film Frame/Lucasfilm; Inset: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Get ready for more Captain Phasma when The Last Jedi debuts in December.

While the character became a fan-favorite character even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens bowed in 2015, Captain Phasma was only briefly explored in the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise. However, the chrome-plated Stormtrooper is expected to get more screen time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with rumors swirling that the character played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, will even be unmasked. Either way, Christie says director Rian Johnson will be delving “deeper” into all of the characters in The Last Jedi, with the actress revealing she played a role in developing Phasma’s backstory.

“I was just so delighted to be in The Last Jedi, and for that to be directed by Rian Johnson, who is another director I’ve long admired since I watched Brick, actually; I thought that was a really brilliant piece of work,” Christie told EW at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Saturday, where she was promoting Top of the Lake: China Girl. “When I met him, these are huge things to me and things I never thought would happen in my career, so when Rian invited me to read the script, have my thoughts and then to come and discuss it with him — as he did all of the cast members — I was really thrilled to have an opportunity of a forum where I could put my ideas forward and have some back and forth about where we felt things were and where we felt they can go. What I can tell you about the next Star Wars film is I think Rian does an exceptional job of going deeper, of going further, and really exploring what these relationships are.”

While Star Wars fans wait the long months until The Last Jedi debuts in December, they can catch Christie both on Game of Thrones as well as Top of the Lake: China Girl, in which the actress plays police constable Miranda Hilmarson, the new partner to Elisabeth Moss’ Robin Griffin. The role actually offers Christie a rare vulnerability in playing a character who does not have the confidence of Brienne or Phasma. “Instead of the character being incredibly strong, having an incredible moral compass of being able to somehow transcend any obstacle, instead this is a woman who is intensely vulnerable, extremely raw, making decisions on an emotional basis that often results in complications,” Christie said. “[She] is ultimately failing at life and not having a life that’s successful and functioning well, to the extent that she doesn’t have strong functioning relationships with the people around her.”

The role also allowed her to do more heavy lifting emotionally instead of just physically. “I was definitely pleased to have a break from armor as armor has been a focal point of my working life for some degree of years now,” Christie said with a laugh. “But really what I wanted was to work with Jane Campion. I really wanted to play a role that was really different for me. In it being different, it would mean it would stretch me. I really wanted to be stretched as an actor, I really wanted to utilize some acting muscles that I hadn’t used in a long time, not since I was at drama school.”

Top of the Lake: China Girl will run as a three-night event starting Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Sundance. Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. And Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit theaters on Dec. 15.