WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters now.
Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was one of the breakout characters of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The chrome commander of the First Order’s Stormtroopers might not have had a major role in the film, but her armor was so visually striking that comparisons to the original trilogy’s Boba Fett were unavoidable. Some of those comparisons even came from filmmakers, who sought to create a character that would enjoy the same level of popularity as the fan-favorite bounty hunter. Unfortunately for Phasma fans, Star Wars: The Last Jedi dispatched Christie’s character in a similarly inglorious fashion. It wasn’t quite slipping down the gullet of a sarlacc, but it might as well have been.
The result is that Phasma feels like an underutilized character whose backstory was outsourced to canonical comics and accompanying novels. Her final fight with Finn in The Last Jedi lasts only a few moments and is hardly the climactic showdown audiences expected. In fact, the mainline Star Wars films have done nothing to prove how cool Phasma really is. As it stands, her two big scenes so far have involved her getting thrown down a garbage chute after committing treason and losing a fight to a former Stormtrooper wielding a Z6 baton. Similarly, her fiery death seemingly comes out of nowhere.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because Boba Fett shared a similar fate. The iconic bounty hunter was introduced in the Star Wars Christmas Special (no joke, he first appeared as an animated character), but thankfully came to prominence in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Once a go-to mercenary for Jabba the Hutt, the clone warrior eventually falls under the contract of the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Boba Fett is eventually able to kill two birds with one stone, capturing a carbonite-frozen Han Solo with Vader and transporting the smuggler back to Jabba in short order. Soon afterward, he’s getting digested by a sarlacc.
Which isn’t to say that was the end of Boba Fett’s story. Lucasfilm eventually acknowledged the massive popularity of the character, revealing his origins in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and making him an integral figure in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Boba Fett’s adventures even continued after that. George Lucas himself always assumed the character had escaped the sarlacc pit, a revelation that is technically no longer canon since the character has yet to appear in any official Star Wars material since the Expanded Universe was purged. So, the character’s fate has been pushed to the edges of the Star Wars universe, a fate Christie’s Phasma might share as well.
That wouldn’t be so frustrating if Phasma’s story hadn’t been such an integral part of The Force Awakens. Much like the Galactic Empire, the First Order is not an organization that suffers insubordination lightly, and Phasma is one of the First Order’s greatest traitors. She allowed a strike team of Resistance members to infiltrate the Starkiller Base and then she gave them the codes to lower the planet-sized world destroyer’s shields. Phasma might be pulling the strings in The Last Jedi, ordering the execution of Finn and Rose, but it likely should have been her head on the First Order chopping block for her unspeakable treachery.
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