There's no debate in my mind: Star Wars: The Force Awakens was epic. Rey and Finn were game-changing heroes, Kylo Ren was the complex villain fans have been waiting for, and Han Solo was super Solo-ish. That's not to say the movie wasn't without its faults. My biggest complaint with the film is that it had far too little Captain Phasma. Phasma, the badass Stormtrooper captain played by the equally badass Gwendoline Christie, was only in a few brief scenes, despite being hyped up as a groundbreaking baddie. That said, though she only appeared in a handful of scenes, she still made quite an impression, and will, no doubt, emerge from The Force Awakens as a fan favorite. So, will Captain Phasma be back for Episode VIII and will she get more screen time?
The character's fate in The Force Awakens (spoiler!) remains a mystery. She was in Starkiller Base when the Resistance blew it up, but was never actually declared dead. Furthermore, neither General Hux nor Kylo Ren were shown safely evacuating Starkiller Base, but it's widely believed that they survived, meaning it wouldn't be a leap to assume that Captain Phasma will live to see Episode VIII . It doesn't hurt that Kathleen Kennedy, of Lucasfilm, confirmed that Phasma would return for future Star Wars films, telling the Los Angeles Times , "She's an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word."
Captain Phasma is the first major female villain to ever exist in the Star Wars universe. And, she has possibly the best armor ever seen in Star Wars — yes, I'm talking better than Vader. Seeing Phasma walk down the halls of the First Order in her epic chrome armor, completely owning the place, is a sight to be seen. It also helps make her character unforgettable despite her limited screen time. She leaves an impression — a big one — and that's what makes her such an incredible addition to Star Wars. It's also what makes her future in the franchise so important. Captain Phasma is a name people remember, and, hopefully, Episode VIII will allow her to deliver more memorable moments and become a fully formed character in her own right.
Captain Phasma is already on track to become a feminist icon in pop culture. Her gender-neutral armor struck a chord with fans ever since it was first unveiled, and the fact that her character is in no way defined by her gender is, truly, a revolutionary concept in film. As Christie herself pointed out in an interview with BuzzFeed, "What this does is this takes all of our preconceptions, all of our conventions about the way in which we view a woman, and strips them away. We are actually responding to this character because of her actions, first and foremost, rather than the way that she looks."
Phasma's character is breaking down gender barriers in film simply by existing, but the awesome significance of her character shouldn't be taken for granted in future Star Wars films. It would be easy to relegate Phasma to a background character, having her appear in the background of battle scenes, all while basking in the glow of having a villainous female character that isn't sexually objectified. It would also be extremely cheap and disappointing.
Captain Phasma's time on screen in future Star Wars films should reflect the importance of her character, not to mention the talent of the actress that plays her. If there is any good in this world, there will be more Phasma in Episode VIII and beyond.
Images: Walt Disney Studios; captainphasma/tumblr