Gwendoline Christie on Captain Phasma


Gwendoline Christie is having a moment. Currently, the actress who came to prominence as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones is about to debut in not one, but two of the biggest movie franchises this holiday season. First she’ll appear in the final installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 as Commander Lyme. The, less than a month later, she’ll appear as Captain Phasma, the chrome plated Stormtrooper leader of the First Order in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It’s that second role that really has her excited. Though in all three, Christie plays a bad ass warrior who turns ideas of gender on their head, she feels that the role of Captain Phasma has the most potential to be a role model for young girls. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, she pointed out that the fact that she’s a woman seems ancillary to the character is the key.

“We know very little about her at this stage, but what I think people are drawn to is that this is a very progressive female character,” the actress says. “We see Captain Phasma, and we see the costume from head to toe, and we know that it is a woman. But we are used to, in our media, connecting to female characters via the way that they look, from the way they are made flesh.”

As EW also points out, at this stage we have no idea if we’ll even see Phasma without the helmet, let alone wearing something that’s not created to emphasize the female form. In science fiction, that’s radical for a female character, who are usually scantily clad–or at some point wind up that way, like Leia in the metal bikini, and cast in the victim role.

“We are actually connecting to a female character as a human being,” Christie says, even if, ultimately, she’s does inhuman things. “It wasn’t just about what I was expressing above the neck, it was also as focused on what I was expressing below the neck. It was an interesting acting experience as well as a fangirl’s dream.”

Christie also says she feels that Phasma will ultimately stand beside Princess Leia as one of the strong female characters of the series, even if she’s on the Dark Side. “She’s Star Wars’ first female villain,” Christie says. “It’s incredible, it’s timely, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

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