In the upcoming installment in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, Gwendoline Christie – mostly known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones- is playing Captain Phasma, the commander of the first order’s legion of troopers, and she’s pretty damn happy to be playing the first female villain in a Star Wars movie, ever.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Christie says “We know very little about her at this stage, but what I think people are drawn to is that this is a very progressive female character.We see Captain Phasma, and we see the costume from head to toe, and we know that it is a woman. But we are used to, in our media, connecting to female characters via the way that they look, from the way they are made flesh… She’s Star Wars’ first female villain. It’s incredible, it’s timely, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
In all of the past Star Wars films, there were many characters who’s actual faces and bodies were never shown (i.e. Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca, Anthony Daniel’s C3PO, Jeremy Bulloch’s Boba Fett, etc), and even in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is a character who will sport a mask. The difference between all of these characters and Captain Phasma is that Phasma is a woman. “We are actually connecting to a female character as a human being,” Christie says, basically pointing out the fact that when a woman is cast in a role in a movie of this genre, she’s usually oversexualized, and that’s all moviegoers will remember about her. With Phasma, we have a chance to not focus on her looks, but rather her motives, actions, and even her character progression throughout the film.
It’s yet to be known whether we’ll even see Phasma without a helmet in the movie, but knowing that there’s a female character in the role and knowing we’re not going to see her in a skintight, formfitting outfit is actually pretty groundbreaking for the sci-fi/action adventure genre. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost guaranteed to break box office records, but it seems like they’re looking to break social boundaries with this film as well. Hats off to the people at Lucasfilm.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is scheduled to release on December 18th, 2015