Captain Phasma is an enigma. The silver armor-clad character introduced in The Force Awakens only had a handful of lines in the film. Action figures of Phasma have seen more playtime than actual Phasma. But that's changing with the novel Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson. The book details Phasma's origins and how she encountered and joined the First Order. We learn about Phasma's past through the stories of a Resistance spy, Vi Moradi, told to Phasma's nemesis Cardinal, the trooper in the red armor, under duress.
Here are nine key things we learned:
Home, Sweet Home
Phasma is from the planet Parnassos, a world devastated by the Con Star Mining Corporation. The company came to the world offering employment and prosperity, but instead, they brought a nuclear event that wiped out most life on the planet's surface.
Life started to bounce back two hundred or so years later, but the affected had to start from scratch. Phasma was part of a primitive tribe that called a small, stark scrap of Parnassos home. They barely had enough food to go around, and they had nothing resembling modern facilities of any kind. No medicine, no water purification or filtering systems, no technology—you get the idea. The only exposure the Scyre tribe had to tech was when a remnant from the nuclear annihilation washed up on shore.
Since they had to defend their land from other tribes, many members were trained to fight. Phasma was the best of these warriors.
The phrase “fighting dirty” was unknown to Phasma. She protected her tribe and herself at all costs. For example, realizing the lichen on the rocks near their home caused wounds to fester, she gathered it, pounded the lichen into a paste, and smeared it onto her blades to use as poison against her enemies.
Best at Betrayal
Phasma became co-leader of the tribe alongside her brother. But she betrayed him when Brendol Hux and a few First Order stormtroopers crashed on Parnassos. Phasma saw a way to a better life, and she took it, regardless of the cost. She also crossed her remaining family -- when she left Parnassos, she helped Brendol and his troops kill the remaining members of her tribe. Genocide.
No one likes sand, maybe Anakin Skywalker and Phasma least of all. While making the journey across Parnassos to Hux's crashed ship, Phasma criticized sand. “It shifts under your feet. Coarse and rough. Irritating. Gets everywhere.”
For the record, I could go my entire life without hearing another Star Wars character talk about sand.
No Witness Left Behind
After many hardships, encounters with mutant animals, and a whole lot of spilled blood, Phasma and Brendol made it off Parnassos. Phasma tried to make sure everyone else in their group died (she missed one person, obviously, or we wouldn't know this), as she didn't want anyone to know about her history and that whole genocide business. So, once her place in the First Order was secured, she bided her time and then poisoned Brendol. His son, General Armitage Hux, helped Phasma come up with the plan.
Once in the First Order, Phasma became a model soldier. She excelled at every turn, learned how to use a datapad, and climbed the ranks. She was put in charge of handling and training the teens in the stormtrooper program in short order. Her unique chrome armor made her stand out, made her special. The First Order used that and her fearsome reputation to turn her into a symbol of might featured on training and propaganda posters.
Phasma, Armor Maker
You know how Phasma's chrome armor was made from material salvaged from a Naboo yacht that once belonged to Emperor Palpatine? Well, that yacht made its way into Brendol's possession. He crashed the shiny ship on Parnassos. Phasma returned to her home planet to dig pieces of the wreck from the sand, drag them to a former Con Star Mining Corporation facility, and turn the chrome plating into armor, because of course she made her own freaking armor.
All About Survival
Phasma's driving force is to stay alive. It's as simple as that. She went to extreme measures again and again in order to ensure she'd see another day. That's why she punked out on the First Order in The Force Awakens. She's only being loyal to them until there's a better option. Phasma isn't going to put her life on the line for anyone. As Vi says in the book, no one can win against Phasma: “No one will go as far as she will to survive.”
Images: Disney/Lucasfilm, Del Rey
Want more about Star Wars books?
- New Thrawn novel shows different sides to the character.
- What Inferno Squad teaches us about the Empire.
- What we learned from Rogue One: Catalyst.