Is Captain Phasma Really Dead? Gwendoline Christie Missing From ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Cast List
When Lucasfilm announced the official cast list of Star Wars: Episode IX on Friday, it was as if millions of Captain Phasma fans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, as Gwendoline Christie was not included.
Lucasfilm has now said that the 2019 film, which they’re calling the end of the Skywalker saga, will feature the return of everyone you would expect, i.e. Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd.
However, the studio also announced that Episode IX would feature the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Clearly, then, Lucasfilm is not hiding the fact that dead characters will return in the next movie. Lucasfilm also announced that Billy Dee Williams is coming back as Lando Calrissian, so it doesn’t seem like they’re trying to conceal potential surprises in their cast listing. Despite that, Gwendoline Christie is nowhere to be found.
Coming out of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, most fans seemed to assume that Captain Phasma was still alive. Sure, she fell off screen into a pit of fire, but her suit has been established to be able to sustain an extraordinary amount of damage. Plus, Phasma returned from apparent death once before. At the end of The Force Awakens, we have no reason to believe that she is still alive, considering she was thrown into a trash compactor and left for dead on a planet that subsequently blew up. However, she managed to survive that. So since we didn’t see Phasma’s body in The Last Jedi, why couldn’t she still be alive?
The cast list of Episode IX is certainly a major blow to those theories, but it’s possible that Lucasfilm just didn’t want to spoil the fact that a character who is supposed to technically be dead really isn’t. Sure, the studio did so with Mark Hamill, but that’s different since it’s not as if Luke will be revealed to still be alive; he’ll just be returning as a Force ghost, something fans figured would happen. If Phasma were to return, there would have to be a surprise reveal that she is still alive, something that is a bit more of a spoiler.
So perhaps Lucasfilm will try to keep the secret a bit longer, although if Phasmsa really is coming back, it’s difficult to imagine the studio will manage to keep that under wraps until the film opens.
For what it’s worth, The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson hasn’t been all that definitive in interviews about Phasma being permanently dead. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he jokingly compared her to South Park‘s Kenny, a character who constantly dies only to return in the next episode. Johnson also told Slashfilm that “there’s always a chance” that Phasma survived and that whether she did is up to J.J. Abrams.
It’s reasonable to think that Abrams, the man who created Phasma in the first place, wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to utilize her again, and Christie appears to be interested in returning. Costume designer Michael Kaplan told Entertainment Weekly after The Last Jedi came out that “Gwendoline has it all figured out how she wants to come back.”