In less than two weeks we’ll know what characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens manage to survive to see the film’s closing credits. In the meantime that means any news about who may be appearing the Force Awakens sequel, Star Wars Episode VIII, is definitely spoiler territory, so venture no further if you wish to remain spoiler free.
Speaking with the LA Times, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirms that Captain Phasma, the “chrome stormtrooper” seen in the various trailers for The Force Awakens played by Gwendoline Christie, is set to return for Episode VIII.
Kennedy has big plans for Phasma and confirmed that the captain will carry on into the next movie. “She’s an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word.”
Previously we learned that Mark Hamill is also set to return for Episode VIII, though given the nature of his character’s Jedi powers he could still conceivably be killed off in The Force Awakens.
Pasma is the first female villain in the Star Wars saga’s cinematic side. (Previously, there was Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress who appeared in the Clone Wars animated TV series.) Originally the character was set to be male, but then Kennedy and Force Awakens J.J. Abrams decided to swap genders, wanting to add some strong female characters into the mix. It was something that the franchise had never done too well, outside of original trilogy’s Princess Leia. It was the fact that Phasma was a strong character that attracted Christie to the role.
“We see women in a different range of roles in the film,” Christie says. “And the reason I love my character so much and I feel so enthusiastic about Capt. Phasma is, yes, she’s cool, she looks cool, she’s a villain — but more than that, we see a female character and respond to her not because of the way she looks. We respond to her because of her actions. I think we’re a society that has promoted a homogenized idea of beauty in women — and in men — and I think it’s really interesting, modern and necessary to have a female character that isn’t about the way her body looks. It isn’t about her wearing makeup. It’s not about her being conventionally feminized. The idea of this enormous legacy and franchise embracing an idea like that, which of course to many of us feels logical, is actually really progressive. And long overdue.”
Looper director Rian Johnson will be picking up the threads of Phasma’s story for Episode VIII, which is set to begin production early next year for a May 26, 2017 release.