December 7, 2017
How Rian Johnson Almost (Accidentally) Killed Off Captain Phasma in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
You’ll be forgiven for not remembering that Captain Phasma was left to a questionable fate at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens — it turns out Star Wars: the Last Jedi director Rian Johnson didn’t remember, either.
The stoic villain who terrorized her former insubordinate Finn (John Boyega), was left at the bottom of a trash compactor at the end of The Force Awakens, shortly before the super weapon that housed that trash chute exploded. Phasma obviously escaped death, but a thoughtless line of dialogue from Johnson almost buried Gwendoline Christie‘s character back in the dumpster.
In an interview with io9, Johnson described the first meeting between Finn and Captain Phasma, who is bent on revenge against the former Stormtrooper. In a classic case of “kill your darlings,” Johnson had written what he thought was a brilliantly funny piece of dialogue for the scene — until he realized it made no sense. io9 writes:
“When I was first writing, I got really excited because I’d written a line where she said ‘I was stuck in that garbage thing for three weeks’ and he gives her a look and says ‘What did you eat?’” Johnson explained to io9.
…but then he had the realization you probably just had.
“Then I realized, no, [Starkiller Base] blew up,” he said. “If she was in the garbage chute, that means she blew up with the planet.”
Ah, the pains of creativity in the face of canon. Speaking of canon, the way that Captain Phasma actually does escape the trash chute and the Death Star is totally insane, as shown in Marvel’s Captain Phasma comic book series.
We’ll have to wait until December 15 to find out how the scene really plays out. But Johnson does reveal why he decided to bring back Captain Phasma, who could have easily been left for dead if not for the marketing department’s affinity for the character.
“We needed her alive here,” Johnson said. “Mostly because I wanted to hang out with Gwendoline Christie.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.
Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.
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