When the first cast photo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, it was greeted with a mixture of excitement and consternation. Excitement because duh, new Star Wars. Consternation because only one new female cast member, Daisy Ridley, appeared in the photo. Some fans voiced their disappointment about the lack of ladies, and whether it was because of those concerns or not, Lucasfilm soon announced Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie were cast in the film. Christie plays Captain Phasma, the shiny leader of the First Order stormtroopers. But apparently, the character of Captain Phasma was originally a male.
Vulture spoke to The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan at a press event and learned Phasma was conceived as a man. Kasdan told them, “Everything was happening simultaneously. When the idea came up to make Phasma female, it was instantaneous: Everyone just said, ‘Yes. That’s great.'” At a press conference on the same day, J.J. Abrams said Captain Phasma’s armor was originally a design for Kylo Ren.
It’s hard to say whether the decision to gender swap Phasma was directly because of the reception of that first picture, but it’s certainly a possibility. I’d be pleased if Lucasfilm did reevaluate the role after hearing from the community. Christie is happy about it, too. She didn’t know about Phasma’s initial gender until Vulture shared the news with her after they talked to Kasdan. Christie said, “I think that’s great of them, don’t you? That there was a discussion about that, and an evolution?” Word, Gwendoline, word.
Lucasfilm is also trying to include more female writers and directors:
Do you think Lucasfilm changed the gender of Phasma because of the fans, or was it just a coincidence? Talk to me in the comments.