Just the sound of Gwendoline Christie’s icy, electrified voice saying that name is like a dagger being unsheathed.
The silver-armored Stormtrooper survived the disgrace of being dumped down a trash compactor in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and she returns in to fight another day in The Last Jedi.
Here’s writer-director Rian Johnson talking about what happens to the First Order commander. Heavy spoiler warning, per usual: Let’s go to the next page …
She looks imperious in her unique Stormtrooper armor, but one thing Captain Phasma does not wear well is defeat.
On her knees, beaten in single combat by Finn (John Boyega), a former subordinate and deserter, Phasma looks up at him through her damaged mask and snarls, “You were always scum.”
Finn nods: “Rebel scum.”
And then, much like Phasma’s fighting spirit, the floor collapses beneath her. We see the towering warrior plunge into a literal kind of hell. Columns of flame rise up to consume her as she vanishes into the inferno.
Anyone who has read Delilah S. Dawson’s backstory novel Phasma knows this hardscrabble woman she is a survivor. But this …?
Who could survive this?
If Anyone Could …
As far as we know, Phasma is no more. But at the post-screening Q&A for The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson left room for a possible return.
“Phasma is the Kenny from South Park of this series,” he joked.
Among those rooting for her return is Luke Skywalker himself. “I think she’s got to survive,” Mark Hamill said, offering up his own theory. “She falls through the flames and lands on a big pile of rubbish.”
Another person who has a secret idea for how Phasma could come back is the actress herself. “Gwendoline has it all figured out how she wants to come back,” said costume designer Michael Kaplan.
“No one’s ever really gone,” Hamill added, repeating one of Luke’s lines from the film.
So that settles it: Phasma may be dead, but if enough people want her back, the ruthless captain could still get a resurrection.
Maybe it’s hard to kill someone who is already dead inside.
The Evil Eye
We didn’t get to see Gwendoline Christie’s face at all in The Force Awakens, and this time we only see one eye glaring furiously from the burning scar Finn cuts in her helmet.
Why not show Phasma’s full face?
“It seemed like a really striking thing to just glimpse the humanity behind it,” Johnson said. “Originally, we were like, ‘Should it be kind of monstrous? What should be behind there?’”
Ultimately, it was one of the heroes who came up with the idea of what we should see of this villain.
“I think we were talking about it and it was Daisy [Ridley] actually who said it should just be Gwendoline’s beautiful, piercing eye,” Johnson said. “Just this perfect blue eye behind this metal monster. I loved that image.”
He felt there was something more disturbing in revealing beauty beneath that mask rather than ugliness.
But if Phasma does return for Episode IX, which is currently being written by J.J. Abrams and Argo Oscar winner Chris Terrio, she is likely to be horrifically burned and broken from her downfall in The Last Jedi.
We could finally get to see a face that truly resembles the monster within.
More post-screening insights (these are heavy spoilers, but if you’ve read this far…)
- Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill on Luke Skywalker’s destiny in The Last Jedi
- The filmmakers explain why Yoda had to return for Luke’s final lesson
- Why Leia Organa finally gets to wield the Force
- Did we learn the truth about Rey’s origin?
- Why we don’t learn about Snoke’s origin – but we do get his ending
- Have we really seen the last of Captain Phasma?