Captain Phasma: The Woman behind the Chromium

Greetings sentients, and welcome to the Sarlacc Pit! This week the next part of the Skywalker saga, “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi,” will be released! Now, there has been a lot of hype for this movie, especially considering the success of “The Force Awakens.” It is also the second movie of the trilogy, which tends to be where the wild stuff happens in Star Wars (in Episode II we saw the origins of the Empire, with Anakin beginning his fall to the dark side and the introduction of the Clone army, in Episode V it was revealed that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father and Luke’s own struggle with the dark side began). As people struggle to coalesce their final theories as to who Rey’s parents are, who Supreme Leader Snoke is, and who will die in Episode VIII, I want to focus on a different part of  the new triology: Captain Phasma, the chromium-plated First Order captain. Arguably one of the most hyped characters in “The Force Awakens,” many viewers were disappointed in the fact that Captain Phasma did very little besides act like an overbearing school teacher and get thrown into a trash compactor. However, it would appear that Phasma will be seen again in “The Last Jedi,” and will be more active than she was during her film debut. This week, I am going to discuss more about Captain Phasma, focusing on two pieces of canon that have been released in the recent months: the novel Star Wars: Phasma, written by Delilah S. Dawson, and Marvel’s Star Wars: Captain Phasma. This post will contain spoilers, so read at your own risk!

Early Life

“I am Phasma, and I am the greatest warrior of Parnassos.” – Phasma, Star Wars: Phasma

Phasma grew up on the planet Parnassos, a planet that had been colonized at one point by the Con Star Mining Corporation before a massive nuclear meltdown left the planet increasingly uninhabitable. By the time Phasma was born on this planet, the atmosphere was becoming more and more toxic, making many of the inhabitants dependent on a type of salve (called oracle salve) made from the remains of dead animals and people to survive. Phasma was born into a small and weak clan that lived around a cave that was envied by the Scyre and Claw clans, which they constantly had to fight off. Realizing that her tribe would inevitably be overtaken by one of these two stronger clans, Phasma engineered the slaughter of her entire clan by the Scyre (irreversibly injuring her brother’s leg in the process) to ensure that her and her brother, Keldo, would be accepted by the Scyre when they took over their tribe’s territory.

Phasma quickly became the strongest fighter in the Scyre clan, which mostly got by from scavenging crashed starships which were often brought down by Con Star Mining Corporation’s still-operating planetary defenses. She spent her days covered in protective armor (or what passed for armor) and a war mask, breeding the habit of keeping her face covered when possible. Eventually, the leader of the Scyre clan was killed and Phasma used a group of warriors trained by her to place Keldo and herself in charge. Keldo was a very intelligent and strategic thinker, but useless in battle due to his crippled leg, Phasma served as Keldo’s enforcer.

Phasma first encountered the First Order when Brendol Hux’s (father to Armitage Hux seen in “The Force Awakens”) father crash landed on Parnassos. Phasma introduced herself to Hux and his stormtrooper contingent, and seeing that he was from a planet that was not dying and had the kind of technology that could greatly help her people, Phasma insisted that they assist Hux in returning to his starship to call for help from the First Order, with promise that Brendol would take the Scyre tribe to a different, more habitable planet. Keldo refused, believing this would only cause problems with their rivals, the Claw clan. Angered by this, Phasma betrayed her brother and their clan by taking her strongest warriors and helping Brendol return to his ship. During their escape from Parnassos it is possible (but not confirmed) that her face was terribly disfigured after a fight, leading to Phasma never removing her helmet in front of others. This eventually led to an all-out war between Phasma, her warriors, and Brendol’s stormtroopers against the rest of the Scyre clan, which resulted in the deaths of all Scyre clan members except for Phasma and one other survivor, who was left on Parnassos. When help from the First Order arrived to retrieve Brendol and Phasma, the First Order Star Destroyer bombarded Phasma’s former home, destroying everything she had ever known. Phasma returned once, years later, to retrieve chromium plating from Brendol’s destroyed starship, which had once belonged to Emperor Palpatine himself. She shaped this chromium into the armor which she would later wear.

CaptainPhasma.png
Fun fact: Phasma’s cape was made from a material that could absorb blaster bolts

After this, she joined the First Order’s stormtroopers, quickly rising up the ranks to “Captain,” although her true rank was much higher than the title implied. Around this time, Phasma befriended Armitage Hux, who she deemed a stronger and much more cunning leader than Brendol. Phasma and Armitage conspired to kill Brendol to allow Armitage to take over as military leader of the First Order. This earned her Armitage’s confidence and she often served alongside him and Kylo Ren during what is known as the Cold War (the war between the First Order and the Resistance) on Starkiller Base, a planet-turned-giant superweapon/base for the First Order.

Aside from assisting in fratricide, Phasma’s number one duty was training stormtroopers. Another First Order captain, known as Cardinal for his red captain’s armor, was in charge of raising and brainwashing newly acquired (read: kidnapped) child recruits. Eventually, the recruits would be moved into Phasma’s tutelage where she would train them to be warriors. Cardinal had also been one of Brendol Hux’s most trusted bodyguards, and was angered when Brendol began favoring Phasma over himself. Years after Phasma killed Brendol, Cardinal found out and confronted Phasma, resulting in her stabbing him twice with a poisoned dagger she had owned while growing up on Parnassos.

Afterwards, she continue to train stormtroopers and fight against the Resistance. Arguably her greatest failure was FN-2187, who fought against lifelong training after a battle on Jakku. FN-2187 assisted captured Resistance fighter, Poe Dameron, in escaping (Poe would then name FN-2187 “Finn”). Finn later returned to Starkiller base with famous Rebel Alliance General Han Solo to assist in freeing another captive and help the Resistance destroy the giant super-weapon. The last we saw of Phasma in “The Force Awakens,” Finn and Han Solo used her access codes to lower Starkiller Base’s planetary shields and threw her into a trash compactor.

Phasma in trouble
Finn and Han Solo conspire to dump Phasma in a trash compactor

Escape from Starkiller Base

“Phasma will do anything to survive.” – Vi Moradi, Star Wars: Phasma

Phasma was able to escape the trash compactor with little trouble, and was able to return to the computer where she had been forced to lower Starkiller Base’s shields. She was able to delete all records that she had accessed the shield functions to avoid being blamed for the destruction of the First Order’s base. However, she knew the First Order would need someone to blame. She saw that Lieutenant Sol Rivas had accessed the computer system just before she did, making him a perfect scapegoat. Phasma joined with a First Order pilot to track Rivas to the planet Luprora. On Luprora, there were two groups of people, one was a weaker terrestrial species, and the other was a stronger marine species, which had apparently capture Sol Rivas when he arrived on the planet. In order to get to Rivas, Phasma led the terrestrial people to war against the marine people, which pretty much led to their slaughter. When Phasma reached Rivas, she killed him with no hesitation. Before leaving Luprora, Phasma killed the First Order pilot she had brought with her, as well as destroying the astromech droid that accompanied them to ensure there were no possible witnesses. Phasma then returned to the First Order fleet, giving Armitage Hux a briefing framing Rivas as a traitor to the First Order who helped the Resistance destroy Starkiller Base and killed a First Order pilot when Phasma and the pilot attempted to bring him to justice. Thus Phasma was able to escape Starkiller Base alive and in the First Order’s good graces.

Captain-Phasma-4-Review-Confess
Despite framing Sol Rivas for her own actions, Phasma still tried to force Rivas to confess before killing him

Conclusion

That brings us to “The Last Jedi,” and paints a perfect picture of who Phasma is: a chromium-plated killing machine who would (and has) kill her own mother if it meant her own survival. By the looks of the trailers it looks like we will see Phasma in action as she continues fighting for the First Order against the Resistance. But with her penchant for betrayal, maybe the First Order should be careful, should they every show weakness around Phasma…

As for next week, Star Wars canon has lately been turning away from focusing on the Jedi vs. Sith/Light Side vs. Dark Side with an emphasis on the in-between or gray area of the Force. So next week I plan on focusing on this trend in Star Wars canon and investigating the potential of the gray area in the Force. As always, thank you for reading, and may the Force be with you!

 

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