Delilah S. Dawson’s “Star Wars: Phasma” Explores Enigmatic Stormtrooper’s Origins Ahead Of “The Last Jedi”
In a new Star Wars novel from Delilah S. Dawson, Phasma traces the origins of a mysterious and ruthless First Order officer whose renown is symbolised by her chrome helmet. In this startling novel, fans get a glimpse into the enigmatic history of Captain Phasma, whose dismissive fate in The Force Awakens left us eager to discover more.
Captain Phasma’s dismissive fate in The Force Awakens left us eager to discover more about this chrome-plated First Order villain. A mysterious past is symbolic of her enigmatic present with Delilah S. Dawson’s first full Star Wars novel delving into the history of this intriuging villain.
Phasma’s role in the films is a small one thus far (played by Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie in The Force Awakens) but Star Wars lore tells us that she served as one of Kylo Ren’s entourage in his efforts against the Resistance. Possessing a menacing Boba Fett-like persona, Phasma, who only had a couple of minutes of screen time, is a human female stormtrooper Captain of the First Order, and she played an important role in the First Order’s battles during the cold war which took place 30 years after the Battle of Endor.
Structured around an interrogation, Phasma’s story is captured through Resistance fighter Vi Moradi’s grilling at the hands of a stormtrooper named Cardinal. The crimson-armored stormtrooper has a grudge against Phasma and is eager to extract information that can be used to gain revenge for perceived wrongdoings. Cardinal is angry that Phasma took his limelight, dismissing his value in the eyes of the Supreme Leader.
From this set up we get third-hand experience of Phasma’s journey across the desolate desert planet Parnassos, where she was a Scyre tribal warrior, which has some similarities to George Miller’s Fury Road with its resemblance to a post-apocalyptic earth where paranoid inhabitants bloodily battle with each other to survive.
However, despite the novel being framed around Phasma (indeed, her title is the name of the book), the story has as much focus on the other characters detailed within. We learn of Phasma’s backstory as expected but there’s lots of interest to be gained from the vengeful Cardinal and interrogated Moradi; their character arcs blossoming as a result of their interactions and experiences of her. And any criticisms about Phasma’s development can be set aside by the book’s thrilling adventure story that is very much in keeping with the film franchise’s best attributes.
Indeed, Dawson’s depictions of the world we inhabit throughout the story is immersive, the threats tangible, the horror effectively channelling fear. Moradi’s information comes from Siv, a character who helps Phasma on her expedition to discover the crashed First Order ship which ends up on Parnassos. Siv becomes one of the most likable characters, and her relationship with fellow Scyre warrior Torben adds further depth to the world in which Dawson paints this dark adventure.
This is balanced by our return to the interrogation room where the tension is heated up by Moradi’s attempts to convince Cardinal to defect. It ensures the novel never loses its momentum or interest level and further develops our understanding of the dynamics of the First Order. With Phasma’s role potentially increased in the next Star Wars film, the book is ideal reading for those wanting to swat-up on her origins.
I really enjoyed the book. It’s an immersive, fast-paced story that ties itself into the films with finesse. There’s plenty to keep Star Wars fans entertained while being a thoroughly good adventure for casual genre fans or new readers to the Star Wars novelisation series.