The Thing About Phasma

The lights glint against her armor

And now no man or beast can harm her

She carries herself within her armor with purpose

And now no one will ever see beneath the surface

She aims with deadly precision

And now you’re out of commission

Warrior of the Scyre

With circumstances so dire

The only one willing to take a stand

I am yours to command

-D. Quinn

SPOILERALERT

This article reveals details about The Last Jedi and the book, Phasma . You have been warned.

I’m a huge fan of Phasma. I was a fan of her when I found out that she was being portrayed by the illustrious Brienne of Tarth, a.k.a. Gwendoline Christie. I was even more excited when I found out that Christie literally begged for that role. I had such high hopes for this character. And the epitome of my love for her was reached when I read the book “Phasma” by Delilah S. Dawson. The narrative is an in-depth telling of the history behind Captain Phasma—one of the most faceless faces in the Star Wars Universe. Yes, Phasma is her real name. It’s not a code name or a name given to her by the First Order. It is indeed the name she was given at the time of her birth.

If you’re like me, you had a million and two questions about this character—where is she from? How old is she? What does she do for fun? Most of these questions are answered in the book.

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Captain Phasma Revealed. . .

Where is she from?

She’s from a planet called Parnassos and the territory where she resides is called the Scyre. It’s a harsh and unforgiving place where only the strong can survive because the planet is barren and dying.

How old is she?

The book doesn’t really go into her age, but, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say she was in her mid to late twenties in the book (people on her home planet didn’t often live past their thirties) and she was one of the younger, more spry members of the team. When the new Star Wars movies take place, much time has passed—between 10 and 15 years—so, in the movies, she’s probably about mid to late thirties, perhaps even early forties.

What does she do for fun?

Nothing. Fun is not a word within Phasma’s vocabulary. The Scyre is too harsh a place for that kind of life. It’s a place where each tribe literally prey on other tribes for children. They take them, adopt them as their own, and use them to ensure their own tribe’s survival. Children don’t usually last long and they are not a common occurrence. While the people of the Scyre tend to pair off and find comfort in each other, no one can ever recall Phasma doing such a thing. Phasma tends to hang back during the rare occasions of merrymaking.

Don’t Mess with Phasma

I once heard a theory that stated that maybe, just maybe, Phasma might be an undercover member of the Resistance. I desperately wanted this to be true. Not just because that would mean that my new favorite Star Wars character was indeed one of the good guys, but also because it would have been some exceptionally good storytelling—and I’m a sucker for amazing storytelling…. I loathe the cliché. After reading this book it was clear, unfortunately, that Phasma can’t possibly be a member of the Resistance. I suspected this before The Last Jedi, but the movie simply confirmed this for me. So, let me tell you why.

As I said, Phasma is born and raised on one of the most unforgiving planets I have ever heard of in the Star Wars Universe. Their environment is literally killing them—there are beetles that liquefy innards with a single bite, the smallest of cuts can kill if not treated properly, and the water level on the planet was rising, thus eliminating the available land spaces for a given person to live. The planet didn’t start out that way, but, due to a nuclear occurrence at the hands of Con Star Mining Corporation, the planet began to die. And it was taking people along with it.

Given the hand of cards she was dealt, Phasma played the cards she needed to survive. These tactics ranged from crippling her own flesh and blood brother to killing her niece—all of which was done without batting an eye. Phasma is as chilling as her exterior armor—a symbol of terror and ruthlessness.

But enough about her on a personal level. This was supposed to be a book review, but I just couldn’t help gushing about Phasma…

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About the Book. . .

The book is told from the point of view of, not Phasma, but another character, Vi Moradi. Vi was sent on a mission by the Resistance to gather as much information as possible about Phasma—her life, history, next of kin—but she has the misfortune of being taken captive by Captain Cardinal, a character similar in appearance to Phasma and who is in the First Order. His armor is red, he also has a cape, and no, that is not the name he was born with. He seeks to destroy Phasma and her infamous reputation. Before Phasma came along he was top dog, but when she came into power, he was slowly relegated to second-hand work as she began to take over his duties. Cardinal, hoping to find information that will betray Phasma’s allegiance to the First Order, tortures and interrogates Vi. Unlike Phasma, Cardinal had been in the First Order since he was a child. It was all he’d ever known and he cherished it deeply. At his core, Cardinal was actually a pretty good guy—he only wanted to take out Phasma to protect the First Order and he felt bad for the way he treated Vi. Cardinal obtains the information that he needs, but, ultimately, it doesn’t culminate in the removal or destruction of Phasma. She will continue to be the bane of Cardinal’s existence for many years to come.

The timeframe of the book is before The Force Awakens and the chapters jump from present day to roughly 10-15 years before the movie. The book has a very Mad Max feel to it as Phasma and her gang spend much of the book wandering across the desert. I never did tell you why Phasma couldn’t be a member of the Resistance. That’s because the First Order rescued Phasma from her bleak surroundings. The First Order and Brendol Hux, the father of Armitage Hux, crash landed on Phasma’s planet. When Phasma meets Brendol, she is in awe of him and his capabilities. She instantly becomes enraptured with the stories he tells about the First Order and she immediately wants to be a part of that world. She will do anything to survive and realizes that the First Order is the best way to go about that. Phasma and a selection of warriors, of which she is leader and head warrior, agree to help Brendol find his ship. They encounter many obstacles along the way—and Phasma gets them out of every bind they encounter.

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The back and forth of the chapters is both jarring and enjoyable. From the stark and pristine presence of the First Order to the untamed horror that is Parnassos, once can’t help but feel a chill travel up their spine when reading this book. The ever-present danger the group finds themselves in lends a hand to that chill.

Dawson illustrates a perilous world fraught with terror in this book and she does it well. I, personally, couldn’t put this book down and I’d gladly read it again. It is, in fact, the very reason why I fell in love with Phasma as a character. The fact that Phasma doesn’t tell her own story does not detract from the plot, but rather enhances it. Hearing the story from Vi’s perspective, and witnessing the awe in her voice as she talked about Phasma was astounding. We don’t always know why Phasma makes every decision she makes—she’s just as mysterious in the book as in the movies—but we do know that she never made any decision without weighing all options and going with the more feasible and lesser of two evils (because every decision had necessary evils on her home planet).

As cold and calculating as Phasma is, Dawson has you rooting for her survival and that, my friends, is the best reason to read this book. You might want to hate Phasma, but Dawson’s writing just won’t let you do that.

Phasma Deserved More

In the movies, Phasma, albeit a support character, was not utilized to the best of her capability. She was in TFA for LESS than 10 minutes total, for crying out loud!! So, I thought that, given her book was released right before the movie, she would get more screen time in the TLJ—that was a hard NOPE. Benicio del Toro (as awesome as he was) saw more screen time than she did.

She did utter a line that made me squeal like the tiny little girl I am, though. “So good to have you back.” But, ultimately, they didn’t do right by her. She appears to be dead, and if she really is…well…I’ll save that for another day. She bites, claws, and scratches her way to a better life for herself only to be molly-whopped at an opportune moment by a freaking sanitation worker. They disrespected my girl. I’m more upset about her alleged death than I am about the existence/creation of Midi-chlorians (of which there has been no mention in these movies, which is good…right?). Phasma is a cunning, ruthless, no-nonsense, kill-or-be-killed, lethal, stunning, tactful warrior. She carries about her shoulders an air of, rightfully earned, self-confidence. They didn’t utilize this character, or the actress, to her maximum capability.

Sorry, Finn, but you should’ve gotten the work and (sorry if I upset anyone) I wouldn’t have been upset if Finn had perished at her hands. Phasma has fought and killed much more lethal than him. It would’ve been a glorious death for Finn.

I’m holding out hope for Phasma. She survived the destruction of Star Killer base, for one. And the horrors that she saw on her planet rival those of most characters within the Star Wars Universe. Let’s harken back to the prequel times with Darth Maul. If he can survive being severed at the waist, then I think it’s safe to say that, given the right resources (and none of the infamous beetles of Parnassos), anyone can survive, especially one as lethal as Phasma.

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2 thoughts on “The Thing About Phasma

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  1. Shes 30/31 in the book. If you do the math based on other peoples ages and the chapters times between events, shes roughly the same age as Kylo Ren, and younger than Armitage Hux.

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