Gwendoline Christie has the best explanation for why her character Captain Phasma hates Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Star Wars has always had a reputation for fearsome villains, many of whom use masks to render themselves inhuman. The most famous, of course, is Darth Vader himself. When Lucasfilm launched the Star Wars sequel trilogy in 2015, they introduced viewers to a whole new range of antagonists – many of whom were designed after the patterns of the past.
Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was one of the most fascinating. It’s striking that there’d never been an (obviously) female stormtrooper before, let alone a woman among their senior ranks. Phasma’s backstory was explored in Delilah S. Dawson’s excellent novel (appropriately titled Phasma), and the character went on to become a major player in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This set Phasma up as a fearsome rival for John Boyega’s Finn, who she hated with surprising passion. Speaking at Star Wars Celebration 2023, Christie herself gave the real reason Phasma hates Finn; in her view, it’s because “she fancies him.“
Phasma’s Repression & Control Is Central To Her Character
Christie spoke at length about her interpretation of Phasma, explaining she spent a lot of time considering what it meant for a woman to wear stormtrooper armor – and, importantly, to never take it off. She believes Phasma has cultivated a persona of complete and utter self-control, and that repression of her humanity is therefore at the core of Phasma’s identity. It is no coincidence that Phasma’s armor is sleeker and more reflective than anything worn by common stormtroopers, because this reflection signifies her refusal to let the world in, to allow herself to change and grow in response to the circumstances around her. Phasma views herself as a fixed point, nothing more and nothing less.
Finn Represents Everything Phasma Has Lost
This, Christie argues, lies at the core of Phasma’s view on Finn. He represents everything Phasma does not have; he is the stormtrooper who grew and abandoned the mask, embracing his humanity and casting aside the structures that constrained him. Finn is a symbol of the humanity Phasma has repressed, and she cannot help but covet this. As Christie puts it, she has “a repressed desirous lust, the envy of someone who’s liberated themselves from the constraints of order and authority.” Christie’s initial comment – that Phasma “fancies” Finn – may sound off-the-cuff and vaguely irreverent, but there’s a real depth to her thinking on this point.
Phasma Hates Finn Because He Speaks To Her Greatest Weakness
This, fundamentally, explains the contradiction at the core of Phasma’s character. She hates Finn because he represents everything she senses she cannot have, and she simultaneously desires this humanity and is repulsed by it. There is a “brittleness” to Phasma, because she has committed herself to an inhuman life, and Finn represents the humanity she has shunned. Finn’s very existence speaks to a part of Phasma she has given up on, showing her there was another choice, another path she could have followed. He makes her feel lesser, reduced, shrunken by the armor she wears and the inflexibility of her heart. The dynamic is a powerful one, and it is just a shame Star Wars didn’t explore it in greater detail.