It was inevitable that Captain Phasma would get some form of story set outside the movies in which she appeared. The marketing around her leading up to The Force Awakens and the fact that she was brought back for The Last Jedi practically promised we’d be getting more stories with her as a main character.
And so, it wasn’t much of a surprise to learn that her novel would arrive in September 2017, just a few short months ahead of her return in The Last Jedi. Penned by Delilah S. Dawson, Phasma tells the tale of how the legend of Captain Phasma comes to be. Which serves as a nice segue into our first section.
What It’s About
The entire story, up until the last few chapters, is actually told in narrative form by Resistance pilot Vi Moradi. During a recon mission Moradi is running for General Leia Organa, she is captured by the First Order. Moradi is held in secret by Captain Cardinal, a high-ranking stormtrooper wearing bright red armor instead of the standard white.
Cardinal is looking for dirt on his rival, fellow stormtrooper trainer Captain Phasma. He is trying to take her down and he believes Moradi has the information he needs. Moradi spends most of the novel in a torture cell, and agrees to tell her story after being electrocuted at the hands of her captor. The story that ensues is how Phasma encountered the First Order.
Phasma lives on the planet Parnassos, which has been decimated to the point that the groups living there survive in tribes. It’s a very post-apocalyptic setting. Phasma is the fiercest warrior of her tribe. After encountering a downed escape pod, Phasma is introduced to Brendol Hux (father of General Armitage Hux from the sequel trilogy).
Hux tells Phasma of his ship that he needs to return to, and Phasma, struck by the promise of a better life and supplies, defies orders from her brother (leader of her tribe) to assist Hux in returning to his ship. From here on out, much of the novel is the story of their journey to Hux’s ship. On the way, they encounter other tribes and primitive cities, and even stumble across a mining colony and discover what happened on Parnassos to set it in such a state.
None of this really helps Cardinal, though, and he continues to insist that Moradi provide him more incriminating information. What Moradi eventually tells him is that there is strong circumstantial evidence to tie Brendol Hux’s death to the venom of a rare bug found on Parnassos, the insinuation being that Phasma is responsible for the death of Brendol Hux. While Cardinal has little evidence to support the claim, he decides to take it General Hux to attempt to use the information about his father’s death to bring about Phasma’s downfall. Instead, we learn that General Hux orchestrated the entire thing, along with his father’s death.
Cardinal confronts Phasma, armed with a poisoned blade from Parnassos given to him by Moradi. During the skirmish, Phasma is able to turn Cardinal’s blade back on himself and leaves him for dead. Moradi, who has escaped her cell, encounters Cardinal poisoned and bleeding out. She injects him with an anasthetic to save his life.
The novel ends with a flashback of Phasma returning to Parnassos and forging her signature chrome armor from the wreckage of Hux’s ship, which happens to be Palpatine’s old Naboo yacht.
What I Thought
For the most part, aside from some minor nitpicky things I’ll cover here, I very much enjoyed Phasma. I loved the dystopian, post-apocalyptic setting. It’s not someting I think you see very often in Star Wars, and it felt very unique.
I also loved both Vi Moradi and Captain Cardinal as characters. I think they played extremely well off of each other. My one tiny criticism here is that I feel the interludes on the Finalizer were just a little repetitive. It felt like we got similar interactions in most of the scenes, with Cardinal demanding more and Moradi teasing it. Aside from that, these are two characters that I felt very invested in and I understand I have another novel to read that features these two together. I’m very excited for that!
Overall, I really think that’s my only complaint. And seeing how it’s as minor as it is, I can safely say I think this novel is a success. It gives an excellent backstory to a character I think very much needed one. Phasma is powerful, raw, unforgiving, and yet almost understandable. Dawson manages to balance all of that incredibly well.
- Phasma’s armor is made from scraps of Palpatine’s Naboo yacht (how cool is that?!)
- Armitage Hux and Captain Phasma conspired to kill Brendol Hux
- Young stormtrooper recruits started in training with Captain Cardinal (who takes a great deal of pride in his work), and then graduate as they get older to train with Phasma (who turns them into killing machines, somewhat to Cardinal’s lament)
- Phasma’s homeworld is Parnassos