Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
One of the biggest complaints about J.J. The Abrams Force Awakening was the way he promoted the presence of a chrome-plated assault trooper, Captain Phasma (played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie), whose actual appearance in the film proved disappointing. The fans expected some redemption for the character in December's The Last Jedi, but she only appeared for a brief appearance and a quick death at the hands of her former soldier, Finn. The last episode of The Star Wars Show premiered a deleted scene in the run up to the release of the film, which shows a different ending for the character, which fits much better with the novels and comics that Captain Phasma built. throughout 2017.
This new scene begins just after Finn hits Phasma in the face with his riot stick, destroying his helmet. In the film, it apparently fulfills its purpose just after that point, when the floor opens below it and leaves it in space. Here, she gets up to confront Finn, who asks what would happen if someone discovered that she was responsible for the destruction of the Starkiller Base. When he sees that the patrols surrounding Finn are listening, he kills them all, which causes Finn to cut off his hand (a reliable troop of Star Wars) before throwing it onto the hanger with a heavy cannon, presumably, until his death.
Last year, I picked up the Phasma novel by Delilah S. Dawson, and I was surprised at how he expanded the background of his main character. Raised on the distant post-apocalyptic planet, she was a character who only looked on her own, joining the First Order only because it would be an escape from brutal life on her home planet. In my interview with Dawson later that year, she explained that the theme of the book was that "Phasma will do anything to survive", and that the character is more threatened by those who stand in the way of his survival.
That novel was not the only place where Phasma appeared last year: she was also the star of a series of four-track comics, Captain Phasma, that follows the character after the destruction of Starkiller Base, while running to track a Survivor of the First Order who could know that she was complicit in the destruction of the base. In the process, kill potential witnesses, including those who helped her.
That is why it is a real pity that this deleted scene has not reached the final cut of the film. On the one hand, it would have been a more satisfying closing for Finn's encounters with her, which allowed her to confront her on a personal and emotional level. In the final cut, Finn wins, but it's abrupt and hasty, as he pushes it into space. The result is the same, but the final version does not have the same emotional weight.
It's also a disappointment, because this is clearly the scene that the Lucasfilm Story Group was building before the movie: establishing Phasma as a vulnerable character, despite the chrome armor, and someone who is willing to reject his own people if they feel threatened It is a visible reminder that multimedia projects like Star Wars, with its large amount of books, comics, TV shows and movies, are complicated, and that late changes in the game can disrupt the arcs of the history long planned. In this case, the final cut of The Last Jedi essentially turns the story of Phasma and Captain Phasma had been running into a dead end, and undermines both stories.
In addition, this scene makes Phasma the rough character we were promised: instead of just dying, he shows his true colors as a soldier who is only in the game to protect himself, no matter the cost. It's a scene that really deserves to be in that final cut. In an interview with EW, director Rian Johnson says he changed the scene due to his rhythm: "We needed a more condensed version of that scene, where essentially the same result is." Still, given how many Star Wars villains have survived worse (from immersion in lava to being eaten by a Sarlacc pit), maybe JJ Abrams will bring it back somehow for Episode IX, and we can wait all over again for something a little better