Phasma is a canon novel written by Delilah S. Dawson as part of Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It tells the origins of Captain Phasma of the First Order prior to the events of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The novel was first published by Del Rey on September 1, 2017 in hardcover, and was released in paperback on April 24, 2018.
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 endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—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.
The Resistance operative Vi Moradi and her droid U5-GG ("Gigi") are on a scouting mission checking hyperspace coordinates for any First Order activities. During one such routine mission, her Starhopper is captured in the tractor beam of the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Absolution. As a precaution, she gives Gigi a memory wipe. Vi's Starhopper is hauled into the hangar of the Absolution where she and Gigi are detained by a continent of stormtroopers led by Captain Cardinal, who wears red stormtrooper armor.
Vi claims to be an independent trader but Captain Cardinal recognizes her as a Resistance spy and insists on interrogating Vi himself. Taking care to keep the interview off First Order records, Cardinal takes her to a secret interrogation room in the bowels of the Absolution and fastens her to an interrogation chair. After learning that Vi had previously visited the planet Parnassos, Cardinal asks her what she knows about his rival Captain Phasma, a rising star in the First Order.
A leadership struggleEdit
Vi feigns ignorance until Cardinal activates the interrogation chair's electroshock setting. Under pressure, Vi proceeds to tell a story about Phasma told by a woman named Siv. Siv's story begins twelve years ago on Parnassos. The then sixteen year old Siv is part of a band called the Scyre, a group of hunter-gatherers who lived on the environmentally ruined world of Parnassos, which suffered a great cataclysm years ago. The Scyre eke out a harsh living on this post-apocalyptic world.
The Scyree are led by the ailing, elderly Egil. A young upstart named Porr has stabbed Egil in a leadership coup, seriously wounding the ageing leader. Porr insists on using a detraxor to extract the nutrients from Egil's body, a quasi-religious ritual that provides protein to the clan on the barren world. Siv speaks out against Porr's dishonorable action, telling him that he has violated the sacred ritual. A young man named Keldo, who is missing the lower part of one of his legs, also condemns Porr for killing the leader outside of combat.
Porr is defiant and proclaims himself the new leader of the clan. However, he is challenged by Keldo's younger sister Phasma, a big-built and fearsome warrior. Phasma rejects Porr's offer of becoming her deputy and challenges him to a duel. Phasma performs well against Porr in the fight. However, Keldo incapacitates Porr by slicing the tendons of his ankles, permanently hobbling him. Keldo justifies hobbling Porr as punishment for raising weapons against his people. Supporting her brother, Phasma then forces Porr to choose between death or life serving her. Porr chooses to live and submits to Phasma and Keldo. As Keldo and Phasma assume leadership of the Scyre, Egil dies and is subject to the detraxor.
Seeds of sibling rivalryEdit
Returning to the present, a dissatisfied Cardinal demands "pertinent intelligence" about Phasma from Vi. Vi and Cardinal strike a deal for the stormtrooper captain to release her once she has divulged useful information about Phasma. In addition, Vi convinces Cardinal to reveal his face. Vi determines that Cardinal was one of the General Brendol Hux's child soldiers that he recruited into his training program following the Battle of Jakku. Vi also reveals that Phasma falsely claimed that Parnassos was destroyed in order to conceal a secret deal with the late General Hux.
Continuing the story, Vi tells Cardinal that Phasma will do anything to survive. Ten years ago, the Scyre mother Ylva had a five year old girl named Frey. Due to a high infant mortality rate, the people of Parnassos valued their children. A rival clan called the Claws, led by the Dug Balder launch a raid in an attempt to kidnap Frey. However, the Scyre thwart the intruder's attempt with Phasma defeating Balder in combat. She wounds him by smearing her sword with a paste made from a toxic lichen.
Despite the victory in safeguarding Frey, tensions erupt between Phasma and her brother Keldo. Keldo is upset that Phasma withheld the secret of the toxic lichen from him. With Balder wounded and his people licking their wounds, Phasma then proposes raiding the Claws' settlement and seizing their territory for themselves while they still have the momentum. However, Keldo disagrees and insists that they only use military force for defense rather than aggression, no matter how tyrannical their neighbors are. Following a vote, most of the Scyre vote in favor of Keldo's proposal to negotiate a peace with the Claws. However, Phasma regards her brother's decision as a betrayal, sowing the seeds of discord between the two siblings.
Incentives and dialogueEdit
While Cardinal is mesmerized by the story, he still demands information that will help take down Phasma at a meeting with the late Brendol's son General Armitage Hux tomorrow. In return for more information, Vi convinces Cardinal to bring her water and protein rations. While Cardinal feeds her, Vi tells the stormtrooper that they get to eat real food and plants in the Resistance with ingredients such as spice and salt. In return, Cardinal tells her that he subsisted on sand rats, birds, and crickets while living on Jakku.
When Cardinal asks Vi why she joined the Resistance, Vi admits that she is a mercenary but says she will not work for the First Order, regarding them as the "bad guys." In response, Cardinal counters that the Resistance lacks morals and advocates anarchy, destruction, and selfishness. When Vi responds that the First Order is bent on galactic dominance, Cardinal claims that democracy has failed in the Republic and the New Republic because sentient beings are incapable of making choices that are in their best interests in the long run. Cardinal argues that the First Order stands for stability.
After a political discussion, Cardinal talks about growing up in poverty on Jakku and castigates the New Republic for ignoring poor, backwater worlds in favor of rich worlds. When Vi counters that the First Order is presently not feeding and providing medical care to the children of Jakku, Cardinal says that time is coming. An argument almost breaks out when Vi questions Brendol Hux's goodness. Vi manages to defuse the situation when she offers to tell Cardinal more information in return for water. Cardinal also informs Vi that he knows that her brother Baako Moradi is a diplomat, which unnerves Vi since she has not informed Baako about her work as a spy.
The crashed starshipEdit
Vi then narrates the story of how Phasma first encountered Brendol Hux. Following the truce with the Claws, a starship crashed in the wasteland near Balder's territory. Seeking to salvage metal, tech, clothes, medicine, food, and blasters, Phasma advocates securing these supplies. However, her brother Keldo is unwilling to risk conflict with their neighbours. Keldo reluctantly lets Phasma lead her warriors to salvage the ship after extracting a promise from Phasma to find a compromise with Balder and to preserve the peace.
Upon reaching the borderlands, Phasma disregards Keldo's orders and orders one of her warriors Gosta to kill a Claw sentry. Upon reaching Balder's plateau, they find the Claws gathered in the presence of five strangers. These strangers include General Hux, three stormtroopers and a black metal droid. Balder allows General Hux to speak and the general speaks through the droid. Brendol offers to provide the people with weapons, food, medicines, and water in return for helping him and his men to reach his fallen ship.
Brendol also tells the Claws that he from the First Order, who are recruiting warriors from all over the galaxy to their cause. He claims that his people are well cared for and well trained. In return for their help, Hux offers them a place in the First Order. Claiming that she is the greatest warrior on Parnassos, Phasma offers to help Brendol find his ship. Balder objects to her presence on the grounds that she is breaking their truce. Phasma appears to accept Balder's offer to trade the Scyre's child Frey in return for upholding the truce but instead stabs Balder in the chest.
As a fight breaks out between the Claws and the Scyre, Phasma convinces Brendol and his troopers to follow them. One of Phasma's warriors Torben carries the wounded Hux on his back. Under Phasma's leadership, the Scyre warriors inflict substantial casualties on the Claws while losing two of their numbers. Despite breaking the truce, Phasma regards this skirmish as a victory since she and her warriors not only killed the Claws' leader but also acquired Brendol and his soldiers.
Returning to the present, Cardinal says the story is not enough and demands more information. When Cardinal asks Vi what angle she is telling it from, she tells him that she has been researching all the big names in the First Order including him. Regarding Cardinal as a principled and honorable soldier, she tells him that he can either use her information to take Captain Phasma down or realize the truth about the First Order and defect. Unable to find any fault in Phasma's actions, Cardinals demands that Vi provide more incriminating information.
Forging an allianceEdit
Returning to Vi's narration, Phasma and her Scyre warriors bring Brendol and his stormtroopers back to their camp. Phasma is impressed by the discipline and training of the First Order stormtroopers. During the journey, Phasma takes the time to ingratiate herself with Brendol, who reveals that he had observed several more habitable landmasses while flying over Parnassos including grasslands, forests, and large compounds. Phasma also learns about the First Order and its goals of bringing stability, progress, and order to the galaxy.
Returning to the Scyre home in the Nautilus, Phasma attempts to placate her brother Keldo with a salvaged leg from Brendol's missing translator droid. Despite the presence of the offworlders, Keldo is upset that Phasma callously broke their peace treaty with the Claws. Keldo is also not impressed by Brendol, disputing the "greatness" of the First Order due to their inability to disable the orbital defense system. Phasma tells her brother that she intends to help Brendol and his men find their ship in exchanges for riches and gory. Keldo is opposed to the idea since he wants to guard the Scyre's meager holdings.
Despite Keldo refusing to approve the recovery mission, a defiant Phasma sneaks out that night with four warriors Gosta, Torben, Carr, Siv, Brendol, and his three troopers. As a snub aimed at Keldo, Phasma also steals the clan's food, tools, and water supplies. Returning to the present, Cardinal finds not fault with Phasma's actions, reasoning that her decision to align herself with the stronger party while eliminating her weaker brother's influence is well in line with the First Order's ways. When Keldo demands documented proof of Phasma's wrongdoings, Vi manages to negotiate a medpac and more food and water in return.
Cardinal's inner strugglesEdit
Before Cardinal leaves the door, Vi asks him if he remembers when Phasma first came to the Finalizer. While walking down the corridor to fetch a medpac and more food and water, Cardinal reflects on the day that he first encountered Phasma, which he regards as the day he lost half of everything he had fought for. Since leaving Jakku, Cardinal had risen up the ranks of the First Order to become the main physical instructor of their stormtrooper program.
On that fateful day, Cardinal recalls being summoned for an impromptu meeting with General Hux. There, he encountered a tall figure dressed in a filthy stormtrooper armor. During the meeting, General Hux divides the stormtrooper training program between Cardinal and Phasma. Cardinal will continue to handle the new and young recruits while Phasma is tasked with training the teenagers and adults. Cardinal is further embittered when Phasma takes over his role as General Hux's personal boydguard.
While fetching supplies for Vi, he reflects on the young First Order cadets in the mess hall. Cardinal believes that the First Order stands for equality and would end the problem of children dying from starvation, thirst, or exposure. Cardinal also feels uneasy about working with an enemy spy to bring down his rival Phasma but reassures himself that he is doing it for the good of the First Order. Cardinal decides to keep her talking while still maintaining control.
Returning to Vi's interrogation room, Cardinal serves her vitamin packs, which Vi describes as tasting almost like chicken. Cardinal then prods her for incriminating information about Phasma. Vi offers to provide Cardinal with information that would deconstruct the myth of Phasma being the ideal First Order soldiers and most importantly information about Phasma's role in Brendol's death.
A perilous journeyEdit
Continuing her story, Siv returns to the journey to Brendol's starship. While loyal to Phasma, Siv struggles with the moral dilemma of stealing her clan's two detraxors. After educating Brendol about the detraxors, Siv and the others learn that the First Order source their food from merchants. After climbing a high mountain, the travelers stumble upon sandy ground where the sand is a mixture of minerals and volcanic ash. During their travels, Carr is bitten in the hand by a gold and green beetle. At Phasma's advice, the stormtroopers coat their armor with the ashy sand.
As the group continues their journey, Carr's condition worsens and his body swells up. Phasma and Hux's party are also attacked by a group of raiders riding sleds drawn by large lizards. The desert is also inhabited by thousands of beetles, which feast on the flesh and blood of the fallen. Succumbing to the bit, the swollen Carr explodes into a cloud of water, leaving only shriveled organs and translucent bones behind. While reflecting on the loss of their fellow warrior, Phasma and her warriors harvest the flesh and skin of the fallen lizards.
While scavenging through the clothes and personal effects of the enemy warriors, Phasma and her warriors discover that they were carrying carved wooden boxes containing the same beetles that had killed Carr. While traveling on a dune, they encounter a pack of skinwolves feasting on a fallen lizard creature. The skinwolves attack the travelers who put up a fight and manage to kill the creatures. Brendol is wounded by a bite to his arm during the attack. As they make camp, Brendol expresses his admiration for Phasma's skills as a warrior and thinks that she will make a suitable leader for the First Order's training program. Brendol's wound deteriorates. Fortunately, the group encounter the droid TB-3, who comes from a nearby station that used to belong to Con Star Mining Corporation.
- "There is a playlist. That's a big part of my process…Big surprise, it's two Star Wars soundtracks and the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack."
- ―Delilah S. Dawson
Delilah S. Dawson used a Spotify playlist while writing Phasma. It consisted mostly of music from Star Wars and Mad Max: Fury Road. Once she got going, she'd put on "violent" films on Netflix as inspiration. She was surprised how unstoppable Phasma felt and how ruthless she could be, how dark she was. Dawson didn't want to kill off the main characters, but realized Phasma had to.
A subtitle, "Blood and Chrome", was considered for the novel, but it was dropped early on.
- ISBN 9781524796310; September 1, 2017; Del Rey; US hardcover
- ISBN 9781524796327; September 1, 2017; Del Rey; US eBook
- ISBN 9781524797508; September 1, 2017; Del Rey; Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition
- ISBN 9781524797515; September 1, 2017; Del Rey; Target Exclusive Edition
- ISBN 9781524797522; September 1, 2017; Del Rey; Walmart Exclusive Edition
- ISBN 9781524796334; April 24, 2018; Del Rey; US paperback
- ISBN 9781787460010; April 24, 2018; Arrow Books Ltd.; UK paperback
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Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology