Captain Phasma is not the Next Boba Fett (Spoilers)

captain phasma

Even though The Force Awakens usurped the expectations of a Star Wars movie as set by the prequel films, it failed in one particular aspect: Captain Phasma. Pretty much every new high profile character was a hit, except for her. Phasma looked great, but failed to do anything noteworthy. People have been comparing her to Boba Fett recently and while the comparison is fairly relevant, the two are not equal.

There was a bit of “to do” surrounding this chromed up Stormtrooper with a cape. If a Stormtrooper has a cooler than normal costume, then they must be ultra cool. Secondly, she was played by Gwendoline Christie, who A. Is a woman. B. Plays a bad ass on on Game of Thrones. There was a bit of a hope that a super cool bad guy could be played by a woman and not be sexualized, which is extremely rare in Hollywood. Plus, why hire an actress who is known for being a tough as nails character on a popular genre show if you’re not going to do something neat with her?

force awakens 26 phasma leads stormtroopers

However, it is extremely unfortunate that this was not the case. Phasma does look cool, but she doesn’t do anything that could be considered cool to back up the look. She is effectively a bureaucrat. She yells at Finn and knows how to push some buttons. Then she’s “killed”, though I have the feeling that expanded universe writers will get her out of that one.

bobafett

The comparison to Boba Fett is correct in one aspect: Fett’s coolness and the obsession with him by the fanbase is mostly based on his looks. His character design is freaking fantastic. And he was mysterious, saying very little. Phasma character design is just as cool in many respects. But the split between the two boils down to this: Fett is seen being competent. Phasma is only seen as necessary for a plot point.

While people love to bag on Boba Fett, in the little screen time he has in The Empire Strikes Back (about 3 minutes), he accomplishes a lot. The powerful Empire couldn’t find Han Solo and friends thanks to Han Solo being tricky. All the other really scary looking bounty hunters couldn’t find him, yet Boba Fett did. Was it just simply figuring out that Solo was somewhere in the area hanging out? Yeah, but nobody else figured that one out so victory goes to him.

Star Wars_Boba Fett_No Disintegrations

Furthermore, Vader’s line of “no disintegrations” aimed directly at Boba Fett gave Fett a ton of street cred. Vader was (and is) the big bad in Empire and if the biggest bad ass is chastising you for doing a bad thing, then that shoots you way up in the rankings. Perhaps if Kylo Ren said something to Phasma like, “You’re super awesome, but tone it down a little.” It might give her some more street cred. Then again, Kylo Ren is no Vader.

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Finally, Fett manages to get away with Solo in carbonite. While that may not have been all due to his actions, he was still the one to get away with one of the beloved heroes of the franchise. Vader failed getting Luke, but Fett got his man.

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Contrast this with Captain Phasma who basically played the needed roll of a commander to chastise Finn and then later have the knowledge of how to turn off some important shields. They could have just had a Stormtrooper with a shoulder pauldron to do the job, but Phasma looks cooler so one must assume that when Finn turns the tables on her, it’s a pretty big deal.

They fail to show Phasma do anything extra ordinary, which is a shame. Fett didn’t do anything cool, fighting wise, until Return of the Jedi where he used a rocket pack and a wrist rope. Despite dying in a pretty stupid way, at least Fett got to temporarily stop Luke where nobody else was having any success fighting the guy (aside from a lucky blaster shot to his hand later).

Star Wars Phasma 2

I really wish that instead of the melee combat Stormtrooper facing Finn with the lightsaber it would have been Captain Phasma. It would have given her at least one moment to shine. And as the audience we’d be more invested in the fight as it would have been a much more meaningful showdown, instead it’s just some fellow Stormtrooper looking to take down a traitor. She could have displayed some fighting prowess and Finn could have bested her in combat, giving him some street cred as a capable warrior, and perhaps making it more understandable how he could even go toe to to with Kylo Ren for a little while. Instead, Phasma simply gets caught and joins Fett in an undignified “death”.

Another moment where she could have shined is if she double crossed the heroes when they made her turn off the shields. It would have added a nice complication and reinforced her loyalty to the First Order, though it would have thrown off the pacing of the film.

As a side note: It’s interesting that the heroes condemn a captured and helpless enemy to a horrible death. Forget if Han shot Greedo, the way he treats prisoners of war is appalling.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m a Star Wars expert and I’ve analyzed what could make her cool again. Here’s my findings, from most important to least:

  1. A return in the Force Awakens sequel where she kicks a lot of ass.
  2. An expanded edition of Force Awakens that features scenes of her actually doing stuff.
  3. Appearances on a Star Wars cartoon/TV series.
  4. A lot of comic book appearances where she is developed more.

You can see I left out a novel that focuses on her, because a book would definitely not be enough to redeem her coolness factor.

Time can only tell if a cult of fandom will be formed around Captain Phasma like there is for Boba Fett. Fandom is pretty forgiving, but it’s doubtful that she’ll endure much beyond action figures and occasional cosplay. It’s really a shame, since she has such a great look.

  • T16skyhopp

    I didnt mind her just being a hard ass officer. I thought she was great early on and was fine in a small role. It was the rolling over at gunpoint that turned me off. She seemed like she would be a loyalist, empire or die sorta thing, and then it’s like “nope. I’ma just turn off these shilelds and let you blow the base, its cool.”

    Apparently there was a deleted scene where she forced Finn so shoot a fellow trooper to prove his gun wasn’t working in the opening battle. This would have given her more cred as a foil for Finn and at least could have made the roll over funny later on. This hard ass hates him, but haha he showed her.

  • Man, that deleted scene would be great and really help her out.

    I thought that she was going to double cross them on the shields going down part. Maybe I’ll edit the article to include that…

  • The show down between Finn and Phasma felt like he was really getting one up over on her, when all she basically did was scold him for not wearing his helmet. If she’s such a badass to warrant that armor and sweet ass cape, why would a blaster under the chin convince her to turn off the shields. It’s Austin Powers logic, ask the bad guy three times and they’ll give you the answer.

  • T16skyhopp

    It’s a shame because I felt the whole squid monster scene could have gone.

  • Edited out you mean? I wasn’t super into it, but I guess it helps show how bad ass Han is now, explain why he doesn’t have a crew, and helps them get out of that situation.

  • T16skyhopp

    Yeah. I did not care for it. I mean, it introduces Han, gives them a reason to help each other, leave the larger ship and lets the bad guys know BB-8 is on the Falcon. But it was so meh to me. I feel like it could have started out the similarly but when the gangsters show up, just have Han and Chewy run for it and hit a switch on the way into the Falcon. Door opens, monster sounds and commotion heard. Escape. Save 10 minutes. Add Phasma stuff back in.

    If that earlier stuff played out like Finn gets scolded, he claims his gun isnt working, is forced to kill a trooper proving it was working, and then sent for reconditioning before escaping, I would enjoy her being one upped later enough it wouldn’t matter she was a pushover.

  • Cutting it your way would have also saved us from having some really CGI looking monsters.

  • T16skyhopp

    Yup…

  • Shawn

    I’d like to see Phasma come back in the sequel to show off her superior Stormtrooping skills, letting us see why she should be considered a badass besides her look. All we got to see of her was walking and standing around, with a gun on her at one point. They never showed her being shoved into an garbage compactor, so maybe they just ended up knocking her out. That’s what I’m hoping, at least.

  • I just ran across this quote, “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.”

    Man, it would have been helpful to have actually have seen this in the film.

  • It’s puzzling considering the lengths that Abrams / Lucasfilm went to go “practical” with the creatures on Jakku and Maz’s tavern. Those Japanese Tentacle Porn monsters were something you’d expect out of a Resident Evil movie.

  • Jjabramsmith

    Got the impresion that she was a robot with a female voice, her moments sounded very mechanical and would bridge the giant gap of where did all the battle Droids go…this could mean that her “character” can come back with some dignity…. very similar to a dark trooper…also no one really talks down to a Droid while the two big baddies talk shit on each other