Few could argue that the character of Captain Phasma was severely underused in The Force Awakens. Prior to the film, the accepted wisdom was that we were looking at the next Boba Fett, an armoured bad ass who would take no prisoners and thus snag a rabid fanbase in much the same way that Fett had in the original trilogy.
History tells us that didn’t happen.
Step forward two years and the Journey To The Last Jedi program, which steers us through the fall to the release of the film. Author Delilah S. Dawson has been tasked with giving us an origin story that may surprise some readers but should intrigue all.
Phasma (real name) is a member of the Scyre clan on the warrior world of Parnassos. Once a civilised world with mining corporations and advanced technology, the planet has fallen on hard times. By the time of the novel it’s a broken planet inhabited by increasingly downtrodden and desperate people fighting constantly for scraps and spiralling towards extinction.
The setting is immediately evocative of Mad Max. The road warrior was mostly silent, flashing glints of humanity through his steely exterior. You could argue Phasma is similar, but while her exterior is shiny, she holds no sentimentality. A product of her environment and her upbringing, Phasma is destined for more than a life among the shattered remains of Parnassos.
Fighting alongside her brother Keldo, Phasma comes to lead the Scyre in their battles with opposing clan the Claws. Locked in ongoing warfare over territory and supplies, Phasma is taught to fight tooth and nail for everything she has, which brings her to the attention of high-ranking General, Brendol Huz, father of Armitage Hux from The Force Awakens. Impressed by her drive and tenacity, Hux installs her as the chrome-clad public face of the First Order, replacing his previous favourite the red-armoured Captain Cardinal.
Relegated to a supporting role and seeing Captain Phasma’s chromed visage everywhere he turns, Cardinal sets about finding the truth about her past so he can discredit her. Using a captured Resistance spy to do his dirty work, he sets his schemes in motion.
Dawson has form in the GFFA, writing fan-favourite stories in the official magazine the Star Wars Insider before snagging the Phasma novel and her familiarity and ease with writing in the Star Wars galaxy shows. Dawson’s words evoke the character we met – albeit briefly – in the 2015 film and, in tandem with Marvel Comics forthcoming mini-series, whets the appetite for what we will be seeing in The Last Jedi on the 14th December. The threat and mystery of Phasma remains intact, and for that Dawson should be commended.
STAR WARS PHASMA / AUTHOR: DELILAH S. DAWSON / PUBLISHER: CENTURY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW