Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens is starting to level off at the box office, it's still one of the biggest movies of all time, shattering Avatar's domestic record ($760.5 million) with $879 million and the third-highest global total of $1.9 billion. This blockbuster not only brought back a number of classic character, but introduced a number of new heroes and villains as well. One of the main villains, Kylo Ren, almost had a much different look, according to costume designer Michael Kaplan. When asked about how Captain Phasma's (Gwendoline Christie) look came about, the costume designer revealed that it was actually a discarded design for Kylo Ren that caused writer-director J.J. Abrams to create the Captain Phasma character based on that design.
"When I was trying to 'tackle' Kylo Ren's character, I thought, what if he were The Lord of the Stormtroopers, in bright shining silver armour? I had this strong image in my head which I conveyed to one of my brilliant concept artists (Dermot Power). He produced a stunning illustration which was immediately shot down by J.J.; not right for Kylo Ren! The drawing remained on our design room wall. One afternoon, Kathleen Kennedy came in for a meeting, pointed at the illustration and exclaimed: 'What is that? It's fantastic!' JJ wrote the part of Captain Phasma for the armoured character, and brilliantly cast Gwendoline Christie in the role."
Of course, it isn't known when exactly this happened, or how far along in the script J.J. Abrams was when he decided to create the Captain Phasma character. There were rumors early on that Gwendoline Christie's character was originally envisioned as a male role before she was cast. The costume designer also spoke about the difficulties of coming up with an original mask for Kylo Ren that wasn't derivative of anything we've seen before.
"I had a take on Kylo Ren's dark layered costume and hood, very early on; it was the helmet and 'face' that was so challenging. My design team and I worked very closely with J.J. Abrams on this. You have no idea how many designs and concepts we came up with that were shot down. It's incredibly tough to come up with a mask that doesn't feel derivative of an existing super hero or to another iconic reference."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now the third highest grossing movie of all time, with $1.9 billion, behind Titanic ($2.186 billion) and Avatar ($2.788 billion). The film rapidly rose through the box office ranks in its first month, but it remains to be seen if it can surpass those movies to be the top-grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office. Since it will likely still be playing in theaters for several more months, it seems completely possible that it could break those records, but we'll have to wait and see. What do you think about these new details?