Ever since her first appearance in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma of the First Order has been a popular new character in a galaxy from far far away. Many refer to her as this generation’s Boba Fett, citing her intrigue, her general bad-ass style, and well, the fact that we don’t know much about her. That’s all changed with Phasma, a novel in the Journey To The Last Jedi series.
SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK
Author Delilah S. Dawson seems to have a good handle on who Captain Phasma truly is, and with good reason: she was given a fairly blank canvas with which to work. Phasma tells the story of our beloved “Chrome Dome” from the beginning, chronicling her entry and subsequent rise to power within the First Order ranks. In the book, the current day setting takes place before the events of The Force Awakens, while the bulk of the story takes place 10 years before that.
So who is the woman underneath the shiny, sterling armor? Phasma is from a planet called Parnassos, an unforgiving, brutal backdrop that helps explain what made Phasma the way she is. Growing up in a region called “The Scyre,” various primitive tribes scour the land for resources simply to make it through each day. There is no modern technology in the Scyre. Medicine is a pipe dream. Weapons are limited to sharp objects like spears and swords of sorts. Rival factions face each other. It’s not pretty. The planet was largely left untouched by the various powers at be in the galaxy, namely the Galactic Empire and the First Order.
One day, a First Order shuttle crash lands on the planet and as fate would have it, that shuttle is run by none other than General Brendol Hux, father of Armitage Hux from TFA & The Last Jedi. The story takes the reader on a long journey afterwards, which is told from the viewpoint of Captain Cardinal, a rival Stormtrooper who wears a stark all-red armor. He has hunted down and captured a Resistance spy named Vi, who has some dirt on Phasma. Cardinal goes through great lengths to acquire this information. He and Phasma are the only two captains in the entire First Order, and Cardinal has a personal vendetta to settle against Phasma.
That’s as far as I can go without getting into spoiler territory story-wise. The novel is what I would consider to be just past the perfect length for a Star Wars story, clocking in at approximately 375 pages depending on which format you choose to read it with. In mostly switching back and forth between the flashback story telling of Vi and the current day setting, I was always looking to read “just one more chapter.” In other words, Phasma can get addicting. The final quarter of the book tells of life aboard the First Order’s Star Destroyer, the Finalizer. Momentum is found more than ever during this leg of the story, and I couldn’t put the book down once I reached it.
The atmosphere of Phasma is full of intrigue and does a wonderful job of telling us about Phasma’s life on Parnassos. She’s a hardened warrior and now we know why. Her meteoric rise to power in the First Order is exciting to read about. Dawson does a magnificent job of understanding who Phasma is, how she would think, what she would say in a given situation. She truly connects with the character in a way that is often lacking in this day and age, particularly one that is already established from a major motion picture (albeit established in a small way). Many Star Wars fans aren’t completely satisfied with how Phasma was handled in The Last Jedi (I am not one of them), and I would recommend that those fans read this book. The story group at Lucasfilm certainly executed nicely on helping Dawson and the team over at Marvel to deliver a satisfying, well fleshed out story on Phasma’s existence, covering most of her life in the process of both the novel and the comic mini series.
Aside from Phasma, we get to learn about the Hux family. Phasma tells us a bit of the history of both Brendol and Armitage, as well as their perception around the First Order. Perhaps the best line in the entire novel comes when a certain character notes that Armitage Hux is a “greasy ginger.” What’s more is the way we get to see the inner workings of the First Order in grand detail for the first time. We’ve heard before how children are “recruited” to be Stormtroopers, but this story tells us more about that process from the eyes of someone who has truly had too much of the First Order kool aid. We find out what training programs look like, what a day in the life of a Stormtrooper is, and we even get brief references to Supreme Leader Snoke and a younger Kylo Ren, as if they are just a few guys in charge, as opposed to the brutal, twisted villains the average fan would see them as. I have many times written about the change in perspective that is seen so much throughout the new canon Star Wars content: the view from the bad guys. Whether it’s the Empire or now the First Order, we have come to learn that everything isn’t so black and white, that the gray area is where a lot of this galaxy exists. Much like, in a way, real life.
Delilah Dawson delivers an ultra satisfying first dive into the psyche of Captain Phasma, her motivations, and her story. I had always admired Phasma in her brief screen time in both The Force Awakens & The Last Jedi, but now I see the character in a much more well rounded light. I feel as if I finally know who Phasma is, and being able to relay this into a legion of information-hungry Star Wars fans was no small task.
+Details the origins of Phasma, as well as her rise to power within the First Order.
+Interesting story could have been adapted as a screenplay.
+Life inside the First Order before The Force Awakens.
– Pacing is generally very good, but hits a weak point towards the middle of the novel.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s Editor In Chief and self-proclaimed Star Wars historian. You can find him rambling about his love of all things from a galaxy far far away on Twitter.
If you want to see more fresh Geeky content, support us through our Official Patreon Page & simultaneously earn perks & exclusive rewards.
Be sure to keep up with The Geekiverse across social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. Watch The Geekiverse on YouTube and listen to The Geekiverse podcasts on Soundcloud or iTunes today!