Press: : How Gwendoline Christie and Rian Johnson Developed Captain Phasma’s Backstory

IGN – Captain Phasma is a Star Wars character who didn’t get explored to great depth in The Force Awakens, but one who fans will get to learn much more about in the coming months. In addition to the December release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the chrome Stormtrooper will be at the center of an upcoming companion novel, Phasma, and a comic book series — and no one is more excited about this than Gwendoline Christie.

 

IGN had the chance to sit down with Christie at the summer 2017 TV Critics’ Association press tour while she was promoting her role in Top of the Lake: China Girl, and she was bursting with excitement about the upcoming releases which will explore her Star Wars character more. She hasn’t had the chance to read the novel or comics yet — “I haven’t been allowed entry to it” — but she did admit, “I have been following [Phasma author] Delilah Dawson, who I’m following on Twitter just to say, ‘Remember me? Do you think about me?'”

 

Captain Phasma was one of the most anticipated and popular new characters to be introduced in The Force Awakens, in no small part because of Christie and her Game of Thrones fame. When speaking about the role Phasma has to play in The Last Jedi, Christie said she and director/writer Rian Johnson worked together to develop her character’s backstory and what her motivations are.

 

“Rian and I did have long conversations about this character and who she was, and I was utterly delighted in how willing he was to listen to my ideas and really thrilled to exchange them with him and hear his,” said Christie. “He really is a master writer and director, and I think we’ve seen that in the films that he’s made but I think that we truly will see that in the depths to which he goes in The Last Jedi.”

 

Though Phasma’s backstory didn’t get explored in The Force Awakens, Christie said she develops her character’s origin and motivations regardless of who she’s playing, be it a captain of the First Order or Brienne of Tarth or Miranda in Top of the Lake: China Girl.

 

“I’m hugely lucky to be classically trained with a method approach, so I do all of my work about who, for me, that character is, so I can go into that situation and everything is justified in logic and fact, like it is for us as humans,” she said. “Life governs the decision-making process that becomes who we are.”

 

When asked about playing characters like Captain Phasma who exist beyond just her performance, Christie said she’s always viewed her work as an actor as “much more three-dimensional.”

 

“It fascinates me to be involved in something that also resonates in other incarnations of books or of merchandise, whatever it is, because people are connecting with the material that’s outside just literally watching it,” she said. “They’re connecting with it in a way that’s tactile, that’s in their lives, that stimulates different parts of their brain, different part of their soul.”

 

Top of the Lake: China Girl premieres on September on Sundance TV, while Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15th. Game of Thrones is currently airing on HBO.

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