Here’s my latest focus on the Women of Star Wars. I chose these two secondary characters to look at together, since they’re both masked and a bit mysterious.
I realize there’s a Star Wars book on Phasma’s backstory (and a comic as well), and perhaps you’ve read it. I have not. And that’s fine, because I intend this blog to focus mainly on the films, and what we can glean from them. If that limits my analyses of characters or plot points, so be it.
That being said, I did read The Last Jedi novelization, and there was a great little tidbit in there that revealed volumes about this character.
I find Phasma interesting even though she has a very limited role in the films. She principally acts as Finn’s antagonist. She’s cold, efficient, almost like a robot beneath that flashy silver armor. We don’t know much about her, we don’t even see any of her face until the end of TROS–only that one cold blue eye peeking out in rage before she dies.
But in TLJ novelization, Finn recounts that there were rumors in the barracks about her–that the First Order had found her on some backwater, pre-Industrial type planet, and that she’d been some kind of wild, Amazon-like Queen. I find this fascinating. I’m guessing the First Order gave her a choice–join them or die. Phasma is a survivor, and so she chose life. They gave her a place of superiority and a chance to use her formidable skills.
Though she’s not a Queen anymore, she does have some power. As a queen, she would have expected obedience and loyalty, and I think that’s why Finn’s defection rankles her so much, why she takes it so personally. It appalls her.
This little piece of information about her former life changed my opinion about her. It made her a bit more three-dimensional to me, a person with a past. Sure, she’s one of the “bad guys,” but I understand her a little more. And I’d like to think that when she agreed to join the First Order, one of her stipulations was that shiny, bad-ass armor–fitting for a Queen.
Another female character whose face we don’t completely see is Zorii, Poe’s mysterious comrade from the past.
I’m guessing they were lovers, or close to it during Poe’s spice runner era, but something went wrong–he left for the Resistance. This is what set her off and made her not too happy to see him when he arrived on Kimiji. He abandoned her and their independent way of life, for a cause she may have seen as hopeless. Like most in her profession, she probably felt that it’s best to live outside the law no matter who rules, and not join (kind of like DJ in TLJ, but less icky).
After a bit of persuasion from Rey, she does agree to help them find Babu Frik, and even gives Poe her prized Captain’s medallion to help him get past the First Order fleet. Clearly, she still has a soft spot for him. Either that, or she has a spark of resistance in herself as well. This plays out at the end of TROS, when she joins the fight at Exegol. But she still won’t give in to Poe’s flirty suggestions. I kind of like this girl!
What I find interesting about both Phasma and Zorii is that they are masked. Female characters have always and forever been judged on their looks, but you can’t with these two–their faces are covered, and so we must judge them by their actions and words, not what they look like (although Zorii’s form-fitting outfit clearly marks her as female–there you go, guys!). We only get glimpses of their eyes, the proverbial “windows to the soul”. We see the cold rage of Phasma in that blue eye; and the reluctant compassion in Zorii’s eyes.
These are two women in the Galaxy who choose not to be victims, and do what they can within the crappy situations they find themselves in: Phasma through power and intimidation; Zorii through freedom and choice.
What did you think of these two characters? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!