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We were introduced to Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens, but fans were more than a little disappointed when the character played only a minor role. By all accounts, that's set to change in The Last Jedi; as part of their official buildup to the movie's release in December, Lucasfilm has even gone so far as to commission a tie-in Captain Phasma comic and a novel that reveals her backstory. She's clearly being positioned for an important role in the Sequel Trilogy, so this is likely to be one of the most significant Star Wars novels.
With Phasma due for release on Force Friday, September 1st, Lucasfilm has decided to whet our appetites with an exclusive excerpt. You can check out the excerpt on StarWars.com, and then read on for our analysis.
The History Of Captain Phasma Revealed
The excerpt gives us a fascinating glimpse of how more primitive worlds dealt with the constant galactic wars that raged across the heavens. On Parnassos, rival clans had eagerly scoured the wreckage from falling ships, looking for anything that would secure them an advantage. Metal, tech, food, clothes, medicines, and sometimes even working blasters were found in the wreckage of ships — but never before had there been any survivors.
The excerpt also makes it clear that few of Parnassos's "falling stars" (as the ships were called) had ever been Imperial. You'll notice a reaction of awe and amazement when the clan members see Stormtrooper armor. They immediately recognize the potential advantage such armor would give them, and wish they'd had access to the armor long ago. We can safely assume, then, that until now most of the "falling stars" had been Rebel Alliance / New Republic ships. Now, though, they got their taste of the First Order — and they were impressed. Phasma wasted no time in accepting the offer of escape from her homeworld; she was immediately drawn to the First Order's clear power.
An Intriguing Hint At The Novel's Timeline
Here's where things get really interesting, though: this excerpt gives us a glimpse into galactic history. It's probably set shortly after Claudia Gray's Bloodline, where we have the first whispers of the First Order. That means this scene can be no sooner than six years before The Force Awakens.
In turn, that gives us a sense of just how dangerous a force has been building up in the Unknown Regions. We know from Aftermath: Empire's End that the last dregs of the Empire fled to the Unknown Regions, and we can safely presume that there they encountered a powerful dark side presence — Supreme Leader Snoke. The excerpt uses an important character, Brendol Hux, to introduce the First Order. Significantly, he reveals that the group is already scouring the galaxy for the greatest warriors, seeking to recruit them to their Stormtrooper Legions for war against the New Republic. The militant philosophy of the First Order is clear.
I'm fascinated to see the excerpt use the character of Brendol Hux. He's already become a major figure in the wider #StarWars universe, appearing in the Aftermath novels as commandant of the Empire's Arkanis Academy. Hux and his illegitimate son, Armitage, were among the Imperials who fled to the Unknown Regions — and it seems he's prospered there. Hux was actually a member of Gallius Rax's Shadow Council, where he acted as a leader in the dying Galactic Empire, so he may well have become a leader in the First Order. That would certainly explain Phasma's swift rise through the ranks; she now has a chance to impress one of the First Order's most important figures.
#Phasma is sure to be one of the most exciting novels in the "Journey to the Last Jedi" range. Delilah S. Dawson has been given a chance to flesh out the First Order in a way the films have never done. On Force Friday, we'll be peering behind the curtain, and learning just how the First Order really works. Will we get new insights into Supreme Leader Snoke? Will we learn what Brendol Hux has been doing for the last decade-and-a-half? We'll soon find out!