Looks like the stormtrooper captain survived the trash compactor! In a recent interview with People, Gwendoline Christie confirmed that Captain Phasma will indeed be returning for Episode VIII. This news is quite relieving to hear because we didn’t get to know a lot about her. All we know is that she loves chrome and doesn’t like when troopers take off their helmets. Other than that, we know zilch.
It almost feels somewhat confusing because, before [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) came out, Christie spent a lot of time hyping this character up. Women and little girls not only had a female protagonist but also primarily a female antagonist as well. She made it out like this character was going to be the next Boba Fett. In a way, she was kind of right because he was also barely in the series and died in an anti-climatic way. However, marketers sure seemed to get a lot out of it because Phasma toys were selling out like hotcakes! It’s sad to see so many Phasma toys on the shelves but with no real reason to idolize her. With this in mind, the real question is is Captain Phasma's return a good thing for Star Wars fans?
Star Wars hasn’t had its fair share of female villains or bounty hunters (if you don't count the extended universe). Captain Phasma might not necessarily have been a villain but she would have looked awesome in a fight, that’s for sure. Heck, it could have been her spinning that baton around instead of the famous “TR-8R”.
In fact, anything would have been better than her fate in the trash compactor. Not only was her end random but it seemed very out of her character. At first, she was this intimidating captain who Finn was afraid to disobey but soon she’s doing whatever he asks of her. I even thought there was going to be a plot twist because she was so compliant. But, alas, we don’t see her for the rest of the film.
As seen in her part in [Game of Thrones](tag:817617), Christie has a knack for turning masculine tropes on their ugly heads. In Game of Thrones, she plays Brienne of Tarth — a knight who is the exact opposite of a princess. I think fans were excited to see Christie go down a similar path and take on a role that is predominantly cast by a male character. There were, at least, some good parts, such as her armor.
"I thought the costume was incredibly striking. I also just liked this notion of a female stormtrooper... I felt it encouraged diversity and it was doing something new and it was an interesting bit of casting for women, and I hope that in something that was such a mainstream success it would breed more of those kind of opportunities for other women" - Christie speaking to People magazine.
Unfortunately, some people didn't react as well to Phasma even before the film was released. Men were complaining that forced diversity was "lame" and her armor didn't look "feminine enough". And then once they had gotten the news that she would be returning, there were complaints that she wouldn't be a good addition because we saw so little of her in The Force Awakens. Doesn't that sound a lot like Boba Fett as well?
Despite the complaints, strong female character roles are becoming more common, especially in 2015 . A great example would be Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road. Not once did she need to be saved by Max or any other male character. In fact, she did the majority of saving and made sure that Immortan Joe's wives were free. And she wasn't even considered a nobody; she was one of Immortan Joe's top imperators which means that her skills were highly valued. The film was not only a fantastic action film but also showed that women can have a key role that's not a damsel in distress. While Phasma might not be saving anyone, she'll (hopefully) be one of the only stormtroopers that has more to her than just firing a gun.
Christie has been an inspiration for women throughout her career, and hopefully she will be able to show it again in Episode VIII. It doesn’t even matter if she’s a side character or not. As long as she’s threatening and has some iconic moment that doesn’t have to do with trash. Hopefully, the film goes down the path of having Phasma hunting down Finn and possibly Poe as well (almost mirroring Boba Fett and Han's cat and mouse game). As seen in his previous films, Rian Johnson hasn’t had trouble creating strong female roles so this shouldn’t be a challenge for him.