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Literature / Star Wars: Phasma

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A real Stormtrooper has no room for sympathy.
A real Stormtrooper is the extension of the First Order... nothing less.
Phasma is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel by Delilah S. Dawson, who had previously written Star Wars short stories Scorched and The Perfect Weapon, which both gave backstories for new characters Greer Sonnel and Bazine Netal respectively. Likewise, Phasma delves into the backstory of Captain Phasma, who debuted into the franchise in The Force Awakens. It is a part of the multimedia project, Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy named Vi Moradi endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Captain Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.


Not to be confused with Captain Phasma, which is a comic series that takes place during and between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, also centering around Phasma.

It was released on September 1, 2017, along with Leia, Princess of Alderaan as a part of that year's synchronized release of Star Wars merchandise known as Force Friday.

Black Spire serves as a sequel, following the adventures of two of Phasma's main characters.


Tropes in this book include:

  • A Father to His Men: Cardinal truly loves the children he trains, memorizing their numbers and nicknames and keeping track of their progress through the First Order. Part of the reason he despises Phasma is that she does not share the same care for their troopers as him.
  • After the End: Parnassos is an odd example, particularly for the hi-tech Star Wars universe. Generations ago, it was a Con Star Mining Corporation colony. At some point, a nuclear accident caused a considerable part of the planet to be blasted into a sandy and rocky wasteland, and automated orbital defense platforms meant that reclaiming the survivors was infeasible (or at least not worth the effort), which left the survivors to become tribal and scavenging. Phasma is born into this life.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Terpischore Station is manned entirely by droids who, in the absence of living beings, have devolved into what is essentially a cult. Averted for Calliope Station, where Siv finds the droids helpful and obedient and even births and raises her child there.
  • Ascended Meme: When asked to describe sand, Brendol Hux says it’s “Course and rough. Irritating. Gets everywhere.”note 
  • At Least I Admit It: Phasma believes that everyone deep down is a monster like her, but she at least embraces it while everyone else is too ashamed to admit it. This is very likely a clear case of her believing that everyone is just as bad as her, even though they really aren't, which is a very common thing for sociopaths to do.
  • Bedtime Brainwashing: First Order trainees are given subliminal messages as they sleep about how loyalty is everything and how the First Order is the only salvation in the galaxy. To make it creepier, the kids know it's happening and seem to think of it as comforting, with Cardinal remembering it as "a mother's voice".
  • Blood Knight: Phasma loves killing. Loves it.
  • Bread and Circuses: The people of Arratu are placated with bloodsports to distract them from their slowly starving population.
  • Call-Back: All There in the Manual mentioned that Phasma's chrome armor was forged from the Imperialis, Palpatine's yacht from Lando. Brendol arrives on Parnassos using the Imperialis, and Phasma later uses it to forge her armor.
  • Call-Forward: Cardinal warns Hux that Phasma's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder would be a huge detriment to the First Order, which Hux mocks, believing that Phasma's ruthlessness is a sign of strength and Cardinal is weak for thinking otherwise. Come The Force Awakens, and she quite happily sells out Starkiller Base to save herself, destroying Hux's prize project and dealing a crippling blow to the First Order. Ironically, Armitage Hux murders his own father, much like his hated colleague Kylo Ren will do in The Force Awakens.
  • The Cameo: While overtaking a mining facility, Phasma finds a helmet described as having a T-shape visor, suggesting it is a Mandalorian helmet. It is also said to be brightly-colored, though this might not mean anything.
  • Cannibal Tribe: The people of Arratu eat captured travelers and the dead due to their rapidly dwindling resources. They aren't particularly thrilled by it, but have no other choice.
  • Canon Immigrant: With the presence of Gand immigrants on Parnassos, it is re-established the species refer to themselves in third-person.
  • The Cavalry: When the Scyers are attacked by a pack of "skinwolves," Brendol Hux's Stormtroopers rescue them by killing the wolves with their blasters. It's a rare moment to see a Stormtrooper do anything heroic.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Phasma is not the most loyal person in the universe. In the novel she betrays her parents, her brother, her tribe and Brendol Hux.
  • Cliffhanger: Chronologically speaking, as the novel ends, Cardinal is dying from having been stabbed with a poisoned dagger by Phasma, Vi is flying to Parnassos both to save Cardinal's life and to fulfill her promise of finally getting Siv off-world, and Phasma might be very well headed to Parnassos too, to get rid of whoever revealed her past to Cardinal.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Parnassos is full of these but special mention goes to the beetles that Phasma uses to kill Brendol. For details, the beetle's venom initially causes swelling and fever, but over time, cause paralysis and the victim to liquefy to death.
  • Dark Action Girl: Suffice to say Phasma more than makes up for her lackluster appearance in The Force Awakens. The book also plays up the dark part significantly.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The book is largely Phasma's backstory and most of it is not pretty. But it is still not enough to justify her actions.
  • Death from Above: The Finalizer turbolasers Arratu and the Scyre on Brendol Hux's orders.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Keldo leads the Claw Clan in an attack on Phasma and Hux's party after they betray them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • While Cardinal doesn't outright condone Phasma's decision in aiding the First Order at the cost of betraying her brother, Vi can clearly see that he is truly conflicted while saying this.
    • Even Brendol Hux is disgusted at how the Con Star Mining Corporation, who was responsible for the nuclear explosion that turned Parnassos into a Crapsack World, decided to leave the planet rather than either contain the damage or at least try to fix the mess they caused.
  • The Faceless: Phasma has never revealed her face to anyone in the First Order, preferring to operate under her helmet at all times. This behavior tracks back to her time in the Scyre where she would almost always wear her tribal mask, and later a scavenged helmet.
  • Gladiator Games: A favorite past-time in Arratu and done partially as a form of population control. They simply don't have the food to feed everybody so the games keep the number of hungry mouths down and provide a spectacle to keep the people pacified.
  • Hannibal Lecture: A rare heroic version when Vi Moradi is captured and tortured but tries to turn her captor to her side by convincing him the First Order is evil. She succeeds.
  • Hate Sink: If you're expecting the book to reveal a tragic backstory for Phasma... Well, it's there, but it doesn't justify her being a horrible human being. She's someone who will do anything to ensure her own survival and will stoop to any low to get what she wants.
  • He Knows Too Much: Phasma's killing of Brendol Hux and Frey is because she wants everyone who knows about her past dead. By the end of the novel, she has also tried (and possibly managed) to kill Cardinal and intends to return to Parnassos to kill whoever informed him.
  • The Hermit: Churkk the Gand comes off as this, living alone near the radioactive portion of the wasteland. He would suggest it as a subversion, since he is covered in non-sentient golden beetles whom he says he communicates with, although they don't have much to say. Whether this is him Going Mad From The Isolation is up to interpretation.
  • Human Resources: Detraxors, one of the few bits of still functioning technology, are used to drain nutrients from corpses and convert it into a salve. It's treated as respectful last rites among the Scyre, as it allows the dead to continue to protect the living, and Siv being unable to administer it to their dead takes a toll on her.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Siv is pregnant throughout most of the book and terrified of losing her child to Parnassos' ecosystem.
  • Kick the Dog: Phasma does this repeatedly throughout the book, especially where Siv and her brother Keldo are concerned.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Brendol Hux, a brutal fascist who abused his own son, does not have a nice death courtesy of Armitage and Phasma.
  • Klingon Promotion: Both Phasma and Armitage Hux engage in it. Phasma kills the Arratu and takes his place, along with other tribal and clan leaders. Armitage has Phasma kill his father so he can take his place.
  • Language Barrier: As the people of Parnassos are "more primitive" as Brendol puts it, they have to use his translator droid to communicate with him and the First Order. An interesting example in that both sides speak the same language, just in drastically different dialects.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: While the Scyre and Claws live savage lives and have so for generations, they're aware of a greater galaxy and higher technology out there from stories passed down within their tribes. Siv's detraxors are an example of this. Also, Phasma and her party have little trouble adapting to blasters and vehicles that they come across in their journey.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: How Phasma killed Brendol Hux (by poisonous beetle) and Frey (apparently by rigging her weapon to blow up).
  • Morality Pet:
    • Frey, a girl from Parnassos that Phasma spared and took to the First Order in hopes of turning her into a ruthless Stormtrooper on her level. But then Phasma somehow kills her anyway in order to keep up her Mysterious Past.
    • Also, Phasma doesn't bother to take Siv with her, but she still points Siv out in a direction where Siv could receive medical care and shelter, negated by implications that Phasma will head off to kill Siv after learning that her story is out.
  • Mythology Gag: When asked what sand feels like, Brendol Hux describes it as "Coarse. Rough. Irritating. Gets everywhere."
  • Nature Versus Nurture: At first, you could say that Phasma's overall personality was the result of living in a Crapsack World that forced her to become ruthless in order to survive. But then, after comparing her to the rest of the Parnassians, who all lived lives that were just as harsh as hers, it is pretty noticeable that Phasma, who will go to lengths to survive that no other would, was most likely born already with a more morally shady personality. It is more than likely that had Phasma lived in a better lifestyle, she may not have become what she turned out to be, but she most certainly wouldn't have exactly become a good person either.
  • One Name Only: Phasma's name is revealed to be just "Phasma", though since she's from the Scyre clan, her name could technically be "Phasma Scyre".
  • Prequel: To The Force Awakens, as it explains the backstory of Captain Phasma prior to the events of the film.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Phasma is quite fond of these and uses one on Cardinal.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Worn by just about every warrior on Parnassos with the exception of Brendol Hux and his stormtroopers.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The ship Brendol uses to destroy the Scrye homeland and Arratu matches the description of the Dreadnought from The Last Jedi.
  • Savage Wolves: The skinwolves, predatory animals native to Parnassos. Three Scyre warriors led by Phasma and three First Order stormtroopers do battle against a pack of them.
  • Scavenger World: Parnassos is a former Con Star Mining Corporation colony that was nuked and abandoned. An automated orbital defense system keeps most ships from landing. As a result, the world bears a lot more resemblance to Borderlands than to more pleasant locations in Star Wars like Tatooine.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Vi Moradi buys time by telling Cardinal the story of Phasma's origins.
    • Attempted by Siv, who offers her services as a storyteller to the Arratu. He seems interested at first, but dismisses the idea after he decides she's too boring.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Phasma is responsible for the deaths of her parents and her brother. General Hux also has Phasma kill his father, Brendol.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Phasma is nearly seven feet tall, and Cardinal notes her surprising beauty when he finally sees her face.
  • Translation Convention: The Scyre folk's dialogue is presented in standard Basic, even when the Language Barrier between them and Brendol is a plot point. Justified as the story is being recounted by Vi.
  • Token Good Teammate: Cardinal is the only one of the Hux crew that has pretty strong morals, idealism, and is actually concerned with the plight of the less fortunate.
  • Theme Naming: Abandoned Con Star Mining stations on Parnassos are named after Greek muses: Terpsichore, Calliope, Cleo.
  • The Rival: Cardinal to Phasma.
  • Road Trip Plot: The bulk of Phasma's backstory ends up being about her and her band transporting Brendol Hux to his ship after he and several other First Order personnel crash land on Parnassos. Along the way the encounter the various human and inhuman horrors of the planet.
  • Uncertain Doom: The book ends with Cardinal poisoned and Vi trying to get him to a proper medical facility. We do not know currently whether he lived or died. He was evnetually confirmed to have survived in Black Spire.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Vi's internal narration confirms that she "embellished" some parts of the story she told Cardinal. Exactly which parts are real and which aren't is never stated. Going by Phasma's reaction, the bulk of the story was at least accurate.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Phasma is directly responsible for the Scyre Clan's destruction along with just about every remaining piece of civilization on Parnassos.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Cardinal, surprisingly. Said idealism is shattered by the end of the book.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Phasma kills Frey because she was the last living person who knew of her past.

Alternative Title(s): Phasma