No character in all of Star Wars has been as underused as Captain Phasma, the chrome-domed stormtrooper commander played by Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie. Phasma is billed as one of the First Order’s “commanding triumvirate” on the official Star Wars site, but while fellow First Order brass Kylo Ren and General Hux get to do things to move the plot along, Phasma’s big moments have been:
• Getting immediately captured and unceremoniously thrown down a garbage chute in The Force Awakens.
• Getting defeated in hand-to-hand combat in less than 60 seconds, then unceremoniously falling into a fiery pit in The Last Jedi.
As Star Wars careers go, this is worse than Arvel Crynyd, the guy who shows up for about two seconds in Return of the Jedi before crashing his A-Wing into a Star Destroyer. Crynyd managed to take out Darth Vader’s flagship, even if he didn’t do it on purpose, while Phasma’s biggest victory is executing a bunch of unarmed villagers. So it’s a relief to know that Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson originally envisioned a slightly more interesting fate for Phasma. As the deleted scene shows, Phasma was supposed to climb back up to Finn’s platform after he knocks her off, giving him the opportunity to speak these immortal lines:
You call for order. You beat us down. But when your shiny neck was threatened, you squealed like a whoop hog!
From a character point of view, the deleted scene is slightly more interesting: Phasma calculates the odds that her compatriots will believe Finn’s story about her humiliating surrender, then shoots her own troops rather than risk dishonor. But from an extended universe point of view, the deleted scene is much more interesting, because what the hell is a “whoop hog?” Are they related to “womp rats?” Are there other heretofore unknown Star Wars animals whose names are just a normal Earth mammal plus an onomatopoeic word for beating on something that begins with a “W?” Wham deer? Whap weasels? Whale whales? It’s a good thing that we don’t definitively see Phasma dead in either version of the scene—there’s a lot about animal taxonomies in the Star Wars universe we’ll need her to clean up in Episode IX.