In a now-deleted tweet, author Delilah S. Dawson wrote that she has a pitch ready to go for a sequel to her novel Phasma – with one catch, that is: it would be set after the events of The Last Jedi.
Which, of course, would mean that Phasma survived those events, after falling through the debris of Snoke’s Star Destroyer after her fight with Finn. Dawson promoted her novel in a tweet, and then wrote in a follow-up tweet:
“… and I have a pitch ready to go if the powers that be want the rest of Phasma’s story after she fell through that fiery hole while fighting Finn. We know what her armor is made of, and we know she’s ruthless. I want to write what she does next.”
Authors have pitches for stories all of the time, and so an author pitching a story for a follow-up book about a character is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s hardly even newsworthy. So why write an article about it? I thought I’d do so because it raises some interesting discussion about bringing back dead characters in Star Wars, what mediums to do it in, and whether this would be a good idea.
By now, probably most everyone knows that villains don’t exactly stay dead in Star Wars. Maul was presumed dead in The Phantom Menace, only to return in The Clone Wars, Solo, and Rebels. Palpatine was presumed dead in Return of the Jedi, only to return in The Rise of Skywalker. And Boba Fett was presumed dead in Return of the Jedi, only to return in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. There’s a precedent for these things happening, so much so that if we don’t actually see the body (or even when we do, like Maul), we may as well assume they’re fair game to bring back.
Is that healthy for the franchise? Overall, I’m going to say no. But I feel a bit sheepish about saying that, because the three examples I just mentioned I actually am a fan of. Of course Boba Fett survived; that’s been long accepted as fact. And Palpatine surviving isn’t new either, and though that was more controversial, I thought it made a ton of sense. Maul surviving was the one I was most resistant to at the time, but now it’s the one I’m most happy about; even if some of the explanation is somewhat unsatisfactory, the ensuing storytelling more than made up for it. So far, then, I’ve actually been happy with these decisions, but returning to my prior point, I think overall this is not a tenable way for the franchise to keep telling stories. If they can’t leave villains dead and have to keep reviving them, sooner or later (and one could argue we’re already there) it’s going to lessen stakes and cheapen stories.
Thus I would say I’m very cautious about it, and in general opposed to it. If done, it’s got to be handled extremely carefully and with intentional storytelling – which is the reason why Dave Filoni made it work with Maul, against seemingly all odds. But in that way, it reminds me a bit of the World Between Worlds from Rebels – in the hands of an expert storyteller like Filoni it became my favorite episode of Rebels, but in the hands of a lesser storyteller it could become a franchise-damaging disaster. As such, I would be careful who I trust to bring a character back from the dead, and I’d want a compelling case about how it could be done, why it would be needed, and where it would be handled.
All of which is to say that I’m not a big fan of bringing Phasma back. I would love to learn more about her character and get further stories about her, but having her survive the events of The Last Jedi would be largely unnecessary, in my opinion. She served her purpose in the story and then exited it. I suppose a story may eventually come along that brings her back, but I don’t think a standalone novel like this is the way to do it. Nor does it seem that will be happening any time soon.
Give Dawson another Phasma book? Absolutely! Have it set after The Last Jedi? I’m not sure how I feel about that.