J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens features the return of original trilogy heroes like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), but the focus of the narrative is going to be more on the plethora of new characters that populate the galaxy far, far away. There's a younger generation of heroes and villains awaiting their turn in the spotlight, and many of them have already left a strong impression with moviegoers.
Star Wars is a franchise known for memorable evildoers, and the sequel trilogy looks to up the ante considerably. The Force Awakens introduces the likes of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). With Oscar-winner Benicio del Toro perhaps joining their ranks in Rian Johnson's Episode VIII, how much room is left on the Dark Side's roster? Does someone need to get killed to make way for del Toro's character?
That may happen, but with just a couple of weeks left until The Force Awakens has its premiere, it's been revealed that at least one of the new villains will live to fight another day. Those who have become enamored with Christie's Captain Phasma can breathe a sigh of relief, as the stormtrooper leader has been confirmed for the next film.
In a LA Times write-up detailing the women of Star Wars, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy shared that the studio has big plans for Phasma down the line and will bring her back for at least Episode VIII:
[Lucasfilm President Kathleen] Kennedy has big plans for Phasma and confirmed that the captain will carry on into the next movie. “She’s an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word.”
Since the entire Star Wars 7 marketing campaign has been based around keeping major secrets under lock and key, it's a little odd that they would announce something like this now. That said, it is nice to see Phasma will continue to be a thorn in the Resistance's side post-Force Awakens. She is the franchise's first female villain, and as Lucasfilm strives for gender equivalency in their tentpole series, it's arguably important to keep her around for more than one movie. Time will tell if Phasma is a strong character, but right now it would be disappointing if her role was cut short after all the interest she's generated (a la Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace)
It's fascinating to hear Kennedy refer to Phasma as "important." Kylo Ren has been the poster boy for the Dark Side throughout the marketing campaign, with only small glimpses of Phasma in the trailers and TV spots. Kennedy's wording suggests Phasma has a large role to play in the saga, which will only give fans another aspect about the movie to speculate over. Many were already curious to see how the First Order captain fit into the story, but knowing that she'll be back in the sequel should make moviegoers even more excited to see Phasma in action.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: LA Times