You’d think someone who has been in The Hunger Games movies, Game of Thrones and, now, Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be unfazed by even the craziest of plot twists, but apparently this isn’t the case for Gwendoline Christie.
While talking to Vulture on Sunday about her role in the upcoming Star Wars movie, Christie was surprised to learn that her character, the villain Captain Phasma, was originally conceived as a male character.
“Really? No. No!” she told Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan, who had just heard the news from Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan. “Please just tell me everything he said!”
According to Buchanan, Kasdan said that none of the new characters were fully defined during the writing process, so he and director J.J. Abrams were both open to tweaking their plans for Captain Phasma.
“Everything was happening simultaneously,” Kasdan said. “When the idea came up to make Phasma female, it was instantaneous: Everyone just said, ‘Yes. That’s great.'”
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Christie agreed that the switch was indeed a good choice.
“I think that’s great of them, don’t you? That there was a discussion about that, and an evolution?” she said, adding that she feels Phasma’s being female has extra significance. “We’re so used to relating to female characters primarily through how they have been made in flesh, and with Captain Phasma, our initial relationship is based on her character and her actions, rather than that random group of elements that comes together and makes us be born in a certain way.”
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The actress also notes that she was intrigued by the character’s lack of sexualized elements.
“That’s what I found interesting about the costume. It’s armor and it’s entirely functional and it isn’t sexualized in any way. I remember when I first saw it, I said, ‘Wow’ – not just because it looks incredible, although come on – but because I thought, ‘This is new,’ ” she said. “I mean, in my own small bubble, this represents the way I think and the way I see things, but it’s not always the way of the world. So for that evolved thinking to be in a Star Wars movie, I think people love that! People have responded so well to that.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18.