The first issue of a new Star Wars comic centering around sequel trilogy villain Captain Phasma reveals how she escaped from Starkiller base at the end of The Force Awakens. It's well-known now that the stormtrooper commander, played by Gwendoline Christie in the films, is returning in this December's The Last Jedi. However, when viewers last saw her in Episode VII, the Captain was about to be unceremoniously tossed down the garbage chute on Starkiller, after being forced to lower the shields for the Resistance. When the planet was blown up, it was unknown how/if Phasma made it off-world, posing yet another mystery for fans.
Lucasfilm's story group works hard to ensure the Star Wars franchise is alive and well across multiple mediums, using novels and comic books to fill in gaps in the canon that the films simply do not have time to cover. This was the perfect avenue to explain how Phasma survived the events of Force Awakens, with her own comic being launched as part of the "Journey to The Last Jedi" publications.
According to io9, the debut issue of the series spans a grand total of 6 minutes, testing one's suspension of disbelief to almost absurd levels. Phasma gets out of the trash compactor thanks to one of the Resistance's bombing runs on the base, which opens up a hole in its side. She then wipes the records that show her security codes were used to disable the shields, and sees that Lieutenant Sol Rivas had accessed the shield systems during her time in the garbage. Phasma schemes to frame Rivas as the one responsible for the base's destruction and tries to hunt Rivas down (witnessing Kylo Ren's duel with Rey in the process). She cannot reach him before Rivas flies off in a TIE fighter, so Phasma pairs up with a First Order pilot and new astromech BB-9E to escape in a TIE of her own.
This is a great illustration of the value of the non-movie canon materials, providing die-hard fans with answers to questions they may have had. It's unlikely this comic will be referenced at some point in The Last Jedi, but for interested parties, it'll make for a fun read, especially after Phasma was shortchanged in Force Awakens. Many were disappointed with the way the character was handled in Episode VII, but Lucasfilm is making strides to ensure she gets her due justice now. Phasma's role in Star Wars 8 is said to be more action-heavy, and she is also the subject of a new novel that delves into her backstory.
One of the more interesting inclusions in the comic is the droid BB-9E, who is lovingly being referred to as BB-8's evil twin by viewers. His role in the film remains under wraps for the time being, with clues in merchandising suggesting he has connections to Kylo Ren. Here, however, he's associated with a random pilot before being whisked away with Phasma. Regardless of how BB-9E fits into the movie, Lucasfilm is making sure fans are keenly aware of his presence before December rolls around.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019