Here are 10 little-known details about Captain Phasma, the chrome-armored commander of the First Order’s stormtroopers.
Since its earliest films, Star Wars has been filled with cool-looking characters who made a huge impact, despite having the briefest of appearances. One great example of this is the character, Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In the most recent trilogy of films, the equivalent to that character is Captain Phasma, the chrome-armored commander of the stormtroopers.
Yet, not much had been revealed about that character within the two films that she appeared in. Instead, much about her motivations and past were left out for the sake of pacing, only to be elaborated on in supplemental material like comics and a novel. So, here we reveal 10 little-known facts about the First Order’s enigmatic villainess.
1. Phasma was originally a rejected concept for Kylo Ren
Costume designer Michael Kaplan had originally conceived Kylo Ren as the lord of the stormtroopers and came up with a design of the character clad in bright, silver-armor. This idea was then passed over to concept artist Dermot Power, who proceeded to create the familiar image of the chrome-plated stormtrooper captain.
2. Phasma was inspired by a rejected concept drawing created by Ralph McQuarrie
Dermot Power’s design for Captain Phasma took some inspiration from an image of a lightsaber-wielding stormtrooper that Ralph McQuarrie had drawn during his time working on the original Star Wars trilogy.
This concept was rejected for both the original trilogy stormtroopers and later the earliest idea for Kylo Ren as a lightsaber-wielding Lord of the Stormtroopers. It finally found its way into the films via the character of Finn, the First Order stormtrooper-turned-Resistance ally who was shown using a lightsaber throughout The Force Awakens.
3. The character originally wasn’t going to be a woman
As mentioned previously, Captain Phasma was originally meant to be an early idea for Kylo Ren. Even afterward, when it was decided to split the character into two individuals rather than one, they kept the gender the same. It was only after internet backlash for a perceived lack of female representation and Gwendoline Christie’s audition that this character switched genders.
4. The character’s name was inspired by a 1979 horror film
J.J. Abram’s was inspired by the 1979 horror film, Phantasm when coming up with a name for the new commanding officer of the stormtroopers. This film’s villain was an otherworldly being known as the Tall Man that incidentally wielded two deadly chrome spheres for his weapons. Abram’s thought these weapons reminded him of the character’s unique chrome armor and thus came up with the name, Phasma.
5. The character’s homeworld was desolated by a nuclear meltdown
Captain Phasma came from a planet called Parnassos in the unknown regions. It was once a lush, green planet that had prime farmland and was covered in crystal clear oceans. But a nuclear meltdown — resulting from an accident caused by strip mining by the ConStar Mining Corporation — ravaged the planet. The result was akin to the Chernobyl incident but on a planetary scale. Pristine forests and green plains were turned into purple deserts and the planets fauna were mutated.
Another side effect of the nuclear meltdown was that it affected the birth of children. In fact, most births resulted in miscarriages or premature deaths. As a result, children became a precious commodity for the clans.
The corporation abandoned the planet and tried covering up its tracks by not only destroying evidence of the accident but also listing it as uninhabited. Furthermore, they left a planetary defense system activated so that anyone coming near the planet would be unable to uncover the truth and expose the corporation’s secret debacle. The planet’s citizens were abandoned and the generations born after the great scourge were reduced to a near primitive state. Phasma, along with her brother, Keldo, grew up into this post-apocalyptic world.
6. Phasma’s homeworld was also inspired by a Mad Max film
According to Delilah S. Dawson — the author of the Phasma novel — the character’s post-apocalyptic homeworld was inspired by the Mad Max films, specifically as seen in the Oscar-winning Fury Road. The planet’s name, Parnassos, is possibly inspired by another film that Phasma actress Gwendoline Christie starred in called, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Alternately, the name of the planet may have come from the famous mountain in Greece.
7. She’s a true villain(ess)
If the measure of a villain or femme fatale is their willingness to betray others in order to achieve their goals, then Captain Phasma is a contender along with the best of them. Unlike her heroic Game of Thrones counterpart Brienne of Tarth, Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma is as disloyal and ruthless a character as can be found anywhere — in any galaxy.
Her first betrayal came when she conspired to have her parents killed by a rival clan called the Scyre. They were murdered but her older brother, Keldo, was spared thanks to Phasma wounding him in the leg. To add insult to their memory, she later painted herself with their ashes as part of a rite of passage to join the Scyre.
Unfortunately, Keldo was the next one to be betrayed by Phasma. His sister had befriended General Brendol Hux of the First Order, who had been left stranded along with his troops after the planet’s defense system had disabled their ship. The two struck a deal after he offered both her and some of her comrades passage off of the planet, plus a role within the organization, in exchange for their help navigating the dangerous terrain of Parnassos.
Phasma became an enemy of both her brother and their tribe following the theft of much-needed supplies, along with breaking a peace treaty with a rival clan called the Claws by murdering their leader, a Dug named Balder. Her brother gathered some of his fellow tribesmen to trek down Phasma and her new allies across the deadlands of Parnassos. They eventually confronted each other nearby the generals’ ship where a hobbled Keldo was shot by his sister.
Phasma’s survivalist mentality didn’t end once she joined the First Order. Her first victim after joining the First Order was her niece, Frey whom she claimed died from a weapons malfunction. The reason for eliminating her came down to removing anyone with ties to her past.
Next, came her benefactor, General Hux, after his son, Armitage, made her a more pleasing offer of power — in exchange for helping assassinate his father. She even turned against the First Order itself after the Resistance attacked Starkiller Base and “forced” her to deactivate their defense shields.
Finally, Phasma did what any opportunistic villain would do in her situation — she framed one of her fellow officers, Lieutenant Sol Rivas, for this deed. She’s bad. Very bad. With allies like Phasma, you don’t really need to worry about Jedi and Rebels.
8. She’s a cold-hearted assassin
Captain Phasma assassinated General Brendol Hux using a deadly insect from her homeworld called a Parnassos Beetle. This creature’s venomous bite caused its victims to swell up until they eventually exploded from within (!) leaving behind only hair, shriveled organs, and translucent bones. The watery-fluid left behind its victims then helped to feed its young. After being bitten by this deadly beetle the general was placed into a bacta tank, that unfortunately for him, did nothing to reverse the ill-fated side effects. And here I thought bullet ants had one heckuva bite. Ouch!
9. She’s got a red rival
Captain Phasma’s rise in the ranks of the First Order wasn’t without contest. Her greatest rival was a former right-hand and personal guard to the general that she assassinated. This stormtrooper’s name was Cardinal. He wore a similar armor to Captain Phasma that was crimson red like a Sith Troopers, instead of chrome like his rival’s.
Cardinal had taken a Resistance spy named Vi Moradi prisoner and was interrogating her for information to use against Phasma. This is how her backstory came to be revealed in the novel by Delilah S. Dawson. Cardinal then proceeded to use the incendiary revelations to depose of his rival. Unfortunately, he was thwarted by both Phasma and Armitage Hux, the former general’s son who had been promoted to the vacant position following the elder Hux’s gruesome death.
Captain Phasma and Cardinal later fought a fierce battle against one another, but the latter was defeated and left to die from a wound caused by a poison-laced blade. Vi found Cardinal before he succumbed to his injuries and fled with him back to Parnassos. Cardinal who later went by the name Archex eventually sacrificed his life while helping to establish a Resistance base on the planet Batuu.
10. Her armor was forged from the scrap of one of the Emperor’s yachts
After joining the First Order Captain Phasma returned to her homeworld and back to the site of the deceased General Hux’s crashed ship. There she stripped the ship — a Naboo yacht that formerly belonged to Emperor Palpatine — of its chromium. Afterward, Phasma took the scrap to Cleo Station on a neighboring continent and used its armory to forge her distinctive armor. Furthermore, she used the repurposed chromium to coat her weapons as well.
The newly forged chromium armor was strong enough to withstand certain intensities of blaster fire, along with the added benefits of radiation protection. Despite being superior to regular-issued armor it wasn’t strong enough to resist the damage caused by a riot baton, as seen in the final confrontation between Finn and Phasma onboard Supreme Leader Snoke’s command ship, the Supremacy.
So, there you go. We hope that this helped to fill in a few gaps left in the sequel trilogy about this intriguing but under-utilized character. But, as you have seen, there was much more to her than simply having a cool, memorable appearance.
Ending on a positive note, The Mandalorian and other future Star Wars streaming projects looks like the best place to give us fans more than mere glimpses of the franchise’s armor-clad badasses. It’s also a good medium to flesh out these characters arcs and create new toys for kids (and adults) to seek.