Masked figures like Boba Fett and Captain Phasma may have more in common to Star Wars fans than you might think.
Cool armor. Concealing helmets. Less screen time than we’d like, but just enough to make us buy all their action figures.
Boba Fett and Captain Phasma. Two antagonists from different Star Wars trilogies who have a lot more in common than might seem at first glance.
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Both are similar and different in plenty of ways. One of the most significant similarities is that both wear helmets for the entirety of their time on-screen (at least counting the original and sequel trilogies).
We don’t see their faces. We catch a small glimpse of what’s under Phasma’s helmet, but not long before her (presumed) demise.
There’s another comparable circumstance connecting the two, however: Both, by the end of their final saga films, are assumed to be dead. But there’s no definite guarantee that either of them still can’t make canon appearances beyond their respective demises.
Boba Fett, in fact, did survive his time in the Sarlacc pit in the legends timeline. He has a whole subplot in one book series in which he’s experiencing the physical effects of being a clone and is trying to complete one last mission before his body essentially fails him.
Phasma has made several appearances in the expanded universe outside the sequel trilogy, including Star Wars: Resistance, multiple comics, and a novel written about her origins. But all these stories took place before The Last Jedi and her death at the “hands” of Finn.
Could she still be alive? She survived once, escaping the trash compactor on Starkiller Base and hunting down anyone who may have known about her betrayal to the First Order. Could she have survived her final fall?
Odds seem low, considering her death in both the film and the deleted/alternate scene involved a lot of fire and possibly the endless, unforgiving vacuum of space.
But hey, it’s Star Wars! You never know!
What frustrated fans about Fett’s appearances in the original trilogy is actually the exact same thing that is currently frustrating fans in the sequel trilogy regarding Phasma.
Not only do we get very little on-screen backstory for either character, but their seemingly sudden deaths, compared to their minimal screen time, makes their existence seem like cheap marketing ploys.
Why give a character a backstory when you can give them so many statues, figures, and other merchandise that kids will be distracted by how cool they are and forget about how they fit into the story. Right?
You could look at it that way — and many fans do. It may have some truth to it.
To be fair, figures for both characters — and plenty of other merch — ARE cool. Coming from someone who currently has seven Phasma figures on the shelf to the left as she writes this sentence, anyway.
But you also have to remember that there is only so much that can fit into 120 minutes’ worth of a fantasy film. You can’t give every single character a backstory or even include them in all three movies in a trilogy. There’s just too much going on. There’s too much to cover in such a short amount of time.
So these characters get to live on in the expanded universe. It’s frustrating for fans who don’t want to read books or comics or watch animated TV shows — and there’s nothing “wrong” with that choice either.
But the Star Wars universe is just too big to be contained only in movies. That’s what the expanded universe is for — for anyone who is curious about stories outside what we get on the big screen. You don’t have to read every comic or know every side character’s name from every book. You pick and choose the stories and characters that interest you. You create your individualized version of your fandom and find others who enjoy those same interests.
We have yet to see Boba Fett in much canon outside the movies at the time of writing this (he did appear in The Clone Wars for an arc or two). Does this mean we will, the same way we have with Phasma? Well, that’s up to Disney. And possibly Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
The truth is, some characters just don’t have as much substance in full-length films as we’d like. That doesn’t make them bad characters, and it certainly doesn’t make the movies they’re in “bad movies.” This is one of many tough things about storytelling on the screen. You have to decide who and what’s most important and leave the rest in sub-plots — or out of the final product altogether.
Only time will tell if some of our favorite “mysterious villains” survived the unsurvivable. Until then, we can just continue admiring our armies of action figures and hope their likenesses come to life before our eyes someday in the not so distant future.
Do you think Captain Phasma is still alive? Will we see Boba Fett in The Mandalorian? So many possibilities …