Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead.
Star Wars fans were pretty glad that Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma looked to be playing a bigger role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. After hardly seeing her in The Force Awakens I was excited to see her advertised as a crucial character in the Last Jedi. But yeah that wasn’t the case. She probably had less time this time around.
Speaking in an interview with IGN, writer/director Rian Johnson turns down these hopes, saying that Phasma’s role in The Last Jedi was always the same because the film didn’t have enough room to include more of the chrometrooper.
The notion of having a side plot of Phasma throughout the course of the film — look, I love Gwen [Christie]. I love Phasma. It would have been fun. But it just wasn’t the story we were telling. There just wasn’t a place for it. We already had quite a full plate to deal with in terms of all the other characters.
According to Johnson, Phasma was ultimately just included to help develop Finn’s (John Boyega) arc in the film.
There wasn’t a ton of Phasma that we shot for this. The God’s honest truth is, if you take a look at the movie, it’s so full already. There are so many characters to serve already, and it’s tough because Phasma really enters the movie when she needs to, and she does exactly what she needs to do in it. She’s someone at the tail end of Finn’s journey that represents his past for him to have this cathartic moment of being on the side of good and fighting her.
Of course, there could still be hope of the character returning to do a few more moves in Episode IX. Sure Phasma might have fallen into a pit of fire in The Last Jedi, but it isn’t impossible for J.J. Abrams to bring the character back, seeing how Johnson brought the chrometrooper back from the trash compactor she was left in The Force Awakens.