Gwen Christie talks about the experience of playing a female storm trooper, and how it was an interesting opportunity to never take her helmet off.
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With Star Wars Episode VIII getting off the ground this month, the interviews with cast members over returning to their roles have already started. Gwen Christie, whose character Captain Phasma was a runaway fan favorite months before the first movie came out, is definitely back for the next installment. Whether that was a choice due to the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the chrome armored captain, who is the first Storm Troooper to be openly gendered female, or a pre-planned one may never be known. But most fans are asking a different question about Christie’s next turn in the saga: will Phasma remove her helmet?
But Christie tells Entertainment Weekly that the fact that her character didn’t take her helmet off was one of the things that drew her to the part.
“I thought it was a really interesting opportunity because as an actor I’m interested in transformation and different kinds of roles. What’s the role about? Who is the character? What does the character mean in the function of a project or story? I thought it was a really interesting opportunity to play a female character where we formed an opinion of her based on her actions rather than the way she has been made flesh. And that concept within a Star Wars movie, a mainstream phenomenon, was very modern and interesting and exciting. I made no secret of the fact I wanted to be in the film, I campaigned hard to be in the film, but to be in it as that kind of character – she’s a woman, she’s in armor, the armor isn’t sexualized, and in the film we don’t see the actor’s face – I thought that was an exciting, modern concept.”
It will change how people see Phasma if she takes her helmet off in Episode VIII. Christie of course won’t say one way or the other, between Game of Thrones and Star Wars she is a pro’s pro about keeping spoilers from entering the conversation. She won’t even give away any of Phasma’s backstory–not even what she might have made up herself, like Oscar Isaac did with Poe Demeron. All she will say is that she’s thrilled to be in the next installment.
Let’s just hope the next movie gives her a little more to do. Considering that Phasma’s part was basically finished before the production got a load of how well the fans responded to just the idea of her, there wasn’t time to expand her role in the first movie. I have a feeling that won’t be the case for Episode VIII.