Next month, Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto open the blast doors to one of “The Force Awakens” most enigmatic villains: Captain Phasma, as she stars in her own limited series in the lead up to “The Last Jedi” coming out this December.
With Captain Phasma’s dominating presence and the eye-catching chrome Stormtrooper armor, few were surprised that she would find herself a fan-favorite despite having only a small amount of screen time. Naturally, Thompson and Checchetto seek to address this through giving fans a glimpse into Phasma’s story in the lead up to Episode XII. To get the skinny on this new series, we spoke with Thompson to see what she and Checchetto have in store for readers this fall!
Marvel.com: Normally, Kelly, I like to ease into these interviews, but with CAPTAIN PHASMA, I’m coming in heavy! If we look at “The Force Awakens,” Phasma looked like this total badass character especially with what we know of Gwendolyn Christie. But the most we see from her doesn’t register with a major league villain between killing some nonthreatening villagers and then being taken prisoner by some newbie good guys. Are you going to give us a chance to see the truly imposing and terrifying side of this character?
Kelly Thompson: Yeah, I mean, I think we all can understand that Star Wars can’t be a “Phasma Story.” Star Wars is an ensemble piece and there’s only so much room for a character like Phasma, no matter how well designed and potentially charismatic! I, of course, can’t tell you how much she’s going to get to be in the next film, but I think it’s fantastic that she’s getting a chance both through her comics and through her own novel to tell her story. She’s a character with incredible potential, and it’s exciting that it’s being explored.
Marvel.com: When we consider the back story to her armor alone – the remnants of one of Palpatine’s Naboo ships – we’re clearly looking at a character with a deep back story. Yet, we really don’t hear much from her. What insights can you share with us about developing her story further?
Kelly Thompson: Phasma is an incredibly complex and also laconic and mask-wearing character. She is not easily known by anyone, and that is deliberate on her part. I’m lucky enough to have gotten to read an early draft of the novel, which delves deeply into Phasma’s back story and it’s very cool stuff. The comic, however, is more focused on the present – and specifically what happens when Phasma gets out of that garbage chute. We are drawing on some of her back story in more subtle ways, but we didn’t want to step on the novel’s toes. As a result, we don’t go too deep into that territory, focusing instead on who Phasma is today.
Marvel.com: In The First Order, we see General Hux as a political beast – someone anxious to climb his way to the top of the order and garner favor from the ominous, Supreme Commander Snoke. Kylo Ren, however, shows us a much more impetuous and undisciplined villain, who finds himself struggling with the light side of his otherwise dark nature, as he too seeks Snoke’s favor. Where does Phasma fall in all of this? Is she loyal to the more militaristic Hux or do you think she plays another game?
Kelly Thompson: I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say here, but Phasma, more than any other character we’ve met in the Star Wars universe I think, is a survivor.
Marvel.com: Now, I have to believe there’s a real tightrope act for you here given that we still have two more films to go and plenty of story to tell. How do you strike the balance between revealing just enough information without spoiling what’s to come?
Kelly Thompson: We were given very clear parameters about our story, showing Phasma’s road from the garbage chute to the next film, which, to be honest, was a huge, exciting, and slightly terrifying responsibility. But I hope we embraced it and fans will dig it. I don’t think it’s quite what anyone is expecting, but I hope that’s a good thing!
Marvel.com: With working in an already established world, I’m curious what aspects of the story you and Marco Checchetto plan to bring?
Kelly Thompson: We start out in Issue #1 on Starkiller Base, so fans will be getting a closer look at the last moments of Starkiller Base and all that entails. The rest of the series takes place on an all-new planet with all-new monsters, aliens, and threats…exciting stuff that I hope fans will dig!
Having Marco Checchetto on art is absolutely fantastic. He’s got this incredibly realistic style that works so well for Star Wars, and he’s an excellent storyteller with sharp instincts. His work blows me away every time I see new pages. And we’ve got Andres Mossa on colors and Paul Renaud on covers, which means the visuals are just across the board incredible.
Marvel.com: As a final question: What do you think victory for Captain Phasma looks like? Do you think she’ll achieve this goal in either the next installment of the new trilogy or, at the least, by its end?
Kelly Thompson: I think Phasma is looking for victory every day. Every day is an effort to survive and advance. Ultimate success for her is being so powerful that she cannot be destroyed, but even if she achieved such a thing, I don’t think she could relax or enjoy it. Ideally, there’s a story in her future that forces her to confront that strength/weakness within herself and come out the other side having changed or grown. But because Star Wars is not a “Captain Phasma” story as we already discussed, I don’t know if something like that is in her future or not – in the films — or anywhere — we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store.