A Different Phasma Showdown
Johnson describes Phasma as “the Kenny from South Park of Star Wars,” able to come back after seeming to meet her end again and again.
In fact, she’s so tough that she had to “die” twice in this sequence. The version in the final movie is the result of reshoots. (We don’t have an image from the deleted version, but here’s one from the finished sequence.)
Originally, Johnson had a different downfall for the chrome Stormtrooper. Rather than Finn finally gaining the upper hand on Phasma, she has him beaten — and surrounded by other Stormtroopers.
That’s when they begin talking. Finn unspools the story of her cowardice in The Force Awakens, turning over the shield codes to Starkiller Base to save her own life. The other Stormtroopers shuffle uneasily. They’re not sure it’s healthy to know any of this.
Phasma is showing something through the gash in her half-destroyed mask: fear.
Before the other Stormtroopers can react, she does a quick-draw on each of them, blowing away her fellow soldiers. Then as she and Finn clash again, she is hit with a blast herself, hurled into the inferno of the crumbling hangar bay.
Why did he change it? “Pacing. Entirely pacing,” Johnson says.
It just took too long to play out. “I really like the little moment of Phasma being caught and getting called out by John, and that little game of chess that they have,” he says. “But we needed a much more condensed version of that scene, where essentially it’s the same outcome.”
Only in the original version, it seemed much more definite that Phasma was finished forever.
Now, we don’t quite know. As Luke tells Leia, “No one is ever really gone.”