Captain Phasma, fantastically foreboding in her silver Stormtrooper armor, is as underdeveloped a villain as the Star Wars franchise has to offer. On screen, Phasma is two-dimensional in a way that allows Star Wars fans to find her vaguely threatening but not totally unlikeable. The one thing keeping her from being a fully realized villain is that skull-like ‘trooper helmet; that’s why The Last Jedi needs to remove it.
Inverse’s Last Jedi Wishlist is a 15-part countdown to the next film in the Star Wars franchise. Ranging from the plausible to the “this is mostly a joke but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be great,” this wishlist is a collection of the Inverse entertainment team’s favorite theories and rumors about what to expect from The Last Jedi.
Next up: Gwendoline Christie’s wholly underappreciated face and an on-screen identity for Captain Phasma.
The following speculates on what could happen in The Last Jedi, meaning, if any of the following comes to pass, everything below of this could be considered a very intuitive spoiler.
Phasma got her own self-titled, four-part standalone story in Marvel’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi comic series, which explored her capture by Resistance troops at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and her subsequent path to The Last Jedi. Fans were offered a peek into Phasma’s psyche and motivations in the limited series, but the average Star Wars fan probably has no idea this series exists. To them, Phasma will remain a two-dimensional character, Finn’s former commander and little else. At least, she will if someone doesn’t rip Phasma’s helmet off in Last Jedi.
Think about how much of a difference was made in Force Awakens when Kylo Ren removed his helmet while interrogating Rey. Instead of a faceless Vader stand-in, audiences were suddenly introduced to the pain and contempt living behind the former Ben Solo’s eyes. While Kylo Ren, portrayed by Adam Driver, certainly has more emotional hold over the audience as the son, nephew, and grandson of Star Wars’ greatest heroes and villains than Phasma might have, removing her helmet would tell a simple but effective story fans might not expect.
Letting audiences see Phasma’s face would give her an identity, something for people to hold on to.
Whether or not Phasma actually looks like Christie under that helmet — she might be scarred, burned, missing an eye, or, perhaps, might not even be human — removing the helmet would make her sympathetic. Eyes are stereotypically referred to as “the windows to the soul” for a reason, and Christie has proven herself an incredibly emotionally adept actor while portraying the beloved Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones.
Brienne, termed an outsider and “freak” in George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, could have easily internalized people’s dislike for her and become a villain. Instead, Brienne has been one of the most morally stalwart characters in the series, and it’s fair to assume that a good majority of her likeability is due to Christie’s portrayal of the Stark family’s protector.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi should give Christie the same opportunity to bring life to Phasma, the first outrightly villainous female character in Star Wars history.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15.