By now we’re all well acquainted with the secrecy surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but I know one person who will probably be pretty thrilled when this thing finally hits theaters: Rian Johnson. The Looper filmmaker is writing and directing Star Wars: Episode VIII, which starts production imminently, but he’s been unable to say pretty much a single word about it for fear of spoiling aspects of The Force Awakens. After all, Lucasfilm wouldn’t want to ruin a character’s fate by announcing that person is or isn’t part of the Episode VIII cast.
Well now we know at least one character who’s coming back for the sequel. As part of a pretty great feature in the L.A. Times on the women of the new Star Wars universe, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirms that early fan favorite Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie, has a role in 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.”
Phasma—or the “Chrometrooper” as she’s called—was initially intended to be played by a male before Kennedy and J.J. Abrams decided to swap the gender of the character. She quickly caught on with fans after her unveiling, even as we still know very little about her. But Christie says the character was borne out of a desire to create a more complex female character than Hollywood tends to offer:
“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.”
This, along with the fact that Daisy Ridley’s Rey is one of Force Awakens’ main characters, bodes well for the future of the franchise, especially in a blockbuster climate dominated by testosterone-heavy or gender traditional films.
And knowing that Phasma turns up again in Episode VIII is actually a “spoiler” I can get on board with. We previously learned that Phasma doesn’t have a massive role to play in The Force Awakens, so it’s great to know that we’ll have an opportunity to see the character fleshed out further in at least one more film.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18th, while Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated for release on May 26, 2017.
For more of our Star Wars coverage, peruse the recent links below:
- Lawrence Kasdan Talks ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ and Beyond, Young Han Solo Movie
- Watch Mark Hamill Hit the Streets as an Undercover Stormtrooper
- New ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Images Tease Kylo Ren’s Obsession
- Watch: Harrison Ford Uses Doll to Explain ‘Star Wars’ Injury to Jimmy Fallon
- J.J. Abrams Explains Why He Turned Down, Then Said “Yes” to ‘Force Awakens’