SPOILERS: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FORCE AWAKENS (WAVES HAND) YOU WANT TO GO HOME AND RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE. THEN YOU WANT TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE FORCE AWAKENS AND JOURNEY TO THE THEATER TO WATCH IT LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE FREE WORLD (WAVES HAND)
I am most definitely a Star Wars: The Force Awakens apologist. After several viewings I feel that Disney, LucasFilm and J.J Abrams brought us by far the best Star Wars film since 1983 and gave us a chapter in the saga that not only stands on it's own but enhances the legend. The Force Awakens is in my opinion a very worthwhile, fun and entertaining entry to the Star Wars franchise with amazing new characters! However, others surprisingly feel different.
Those people see a "ripoff'" of the originals instead of a rhythmic and symphonic homage. A whiny, weak wannabe villain instead of a troubled and complex Kylo Ren. I saw an Awakening in Rey, while others saw a cheap, untouchable hero that some like Max Landis call a Mary Jane. I do agree that the film definitely has it's flaws and most of those could be summed up in another article. However one agreement I do share with detractors of The Force Awakens is the misuse of one Captain Phasma.
As 2015 laboriously lumbered towards the Dec.18th release date of The Force Awakens, hardcore fans and the general public were teased with rumors and minute morsels of detail about the film. The addition of Gwendoline Christie to the Star Wars cast was one of the more notable announcements. Gwendoline, who portrayed the heroin Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones not only solved an early casting problem, that being the lack of female characters but also brought gravitas and excitement to the film. People wildly speculated as to who Gwendoline would portray, and when it was revealed that her character would be none other than the chromed and caped Captain Phasma, who's images fans had been obsessing over for months, the Star Wars fan base lost it's mind.
At 12:00am September 4th 2015, also known as Force Friday, fans were allowed to purchase the first wave of The Force Awakens merchandise. Thus unleashing the Disney/Star Wars marketing juggernaut which Captain Phasma was a huge part of. Action figures, masks, lunch boxes you name it, Captain Phasma was everywhere and even saturated the market more than more central protagonists like Finn and Rey. This caused some to speculate the significance of Phasma's role in TFA, with many believing she was a vital antagonist.
However that's not how things turned out. Captain Phasma was largely absent at critical junctures of the film and was simply thrown into a trash compactor before the films epic climax. Granted Phasma's anti-climactic and un-ceremonial end lends itself to the mystery of her character's involvement in Episode 8 (which has been confirmed). However it is was cheap and weak attempt at building the rivalry Phasma was developing with defected Stormtrooper and fugitive Finn (FN-2187).
HOW TR-8R STOLE PHASMA'S THUNDER
Ok, this really really bugs me. In one of the teaser trailers that was released leading up to The Force Awakens we see our first glimpse of an encounter between Finn, who's wielding none other than Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, and a First Order Stormtrooper who in turn is brandished with a riot control baton. I like many others leaped out of my chair with excitement when I first saw a glimpse of this battle. We have never seen a Stormtrooper use such a weapon or even engage in hand-to-hand combat before. This signaled to me that Stormtroopers in the Force Awakens meant business and were no longer the clumsy afterthoughts like before. After my first viewing of The Force Awakens I was really pleased with the scene and the Stormtooper who boldly goes toe to toe with Finn after labeling him a Traitor became an instant legend and viral internet meme taking on the nickname TR-8R. I did however leave the first viewing of Star Wars with disappointment regarding the under utilization of Star Wars first female villain Captain Phasma. Leaving my second viewing it hit me, TR-8R SHOULD HAVE BEEN PHASMA!!!!!!. Think about it, not only would this give Captain Phasma another scene in the movie but furthered the rivalry between Phasma and FInn. As you know, TR-8R bests Finn in their brief but exciting battle before getting shot by our favorite smuggler Han Solo. Replacing TR-8R with Phasma would not only show that Captain Phasma is a force to be reckoned with but would further her credentials in the upcoming chapters of this saga. If it was revealed that Phasma survived Han's blast due to her Chrome armor it would have cemented her legend, and this combined with Star Wars first hand-to-hand Stormtrooper battle would have cemented Phasma as an all-time Star Wars icon.
HOW TO FIX CAPTAIN PHASMA.
Granted hindsight is 20/20 and I'm sure that J.J and the crew would have used Phasma better if they would have known how critical folks would be after the films release. Not to mention we have no idea what's in store for episodes VIII and IX and if Phasma's role in The Force Awakens was supposed to be an introduction to the characters later involvement. Regardless of intention Disney and LucasFilm have a little egg on their face so they need to wipe it off. If Episode 8 is to be the darkest chapter in this trilogy, much like The Empire Strikes Back was in the original than you can expect The First Order to kick some Resistance butt and cause despair to Rey, Finn, Poe and all the heroes of The Force Awakens. Captain Phasma has to be a MAJOR part of that. I don't think she needs to usurp [Kylo Ren](tag:3458106) and Snoke but should at least get equal billing to General Hux. Phasma needs to confront Finn and Poe and make them pay for not only escaping but Finn's betrayal and leaving her for dead on Starkiller base. Phasma needs to win at every turn and a legendary story explaining her escape on Starkiller base would help repair her image. Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow need to decide if Phasma's charcter deserves more of an arc or if she is just a shiny, marketable, overrated Boba Fett. I think the latter is a terrible waste of Gwendoline Christie's talents and I hope that LucasFilm goes above and beyond to use Phasma more and repair one of the few major flaws of [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158).