We barely know the plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so you can expect that little to nothing at all is being revealed about the follow-up, Star Wars: Episode VIII. We know that Rian Johnson is directing, and that, according to Lawrence Kasdan, it will be it's 'own weird thing'. We also know that Master Jedi Luke Skywalker will play a major role after only having a cameo in Star Wars 7. Now, we can rest assured that at least one of the new characters being introduced this December will not die when the Resistance blows up the Starkiller Base (whose destruction isn't a spoiler, but a hypothetical guess).
Of the three main new villains, we now know that Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma will live to see another day, and will have a major arc in the overall new trilogy being set up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not much more than that is known. We're not even sure of this character's place in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or what she may be tasked with doing. Though it does appear she is in charge of leading Flametroopers in a destructive search for BB-8 on the desert planet of Jakku.
Right now, with just a few weeks left before it opens, Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains shrouded in mystery for the most part. The wait for its sequel will be the shortest in franchise history, with Star Wars: Episode VIII coming just 17 months later, and we'll even get one spinoff movie before then. In a new Los Angeles Times article profiling the woman of Star Wars, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy had this to say about Phasma's inevitable return.
"She's an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word."
This is the first and only character officially confirmed to be returning in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Mark Hamill's participation in the sequel was only made known when he was spotted shooting the first scenes for the movie on Skellig Michael in Ireland. That shoot had to happen early, because the production was only allotted a short amount of time to use the world heritage location which is home to an ancient monastery. Disney and LucasFilm still haven't announced his participation in the movie at this time.
In terms of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma is being compared to Boba Fett. Which might mean she has very little screen time. Something Star Wars: Episode VIII could certainly make up for. Especially if she catches on with fans. About the character's appearance this December, Gwendoline Christie had this to say.
"She makes a lot of impact but she's not at the forefront of the action all the time."
Looking at Captain Phasma with her armor and helmet on, you might not immediately recognize her sex. Which was intentional. Kathleen Kennedy wanted to make sure a new kind of female character was introduced into the mix. About the way she looks, and carries herself, Gwendoline Christie had this to say.
"Kathleen Kennedy said to me, 'Have you ever Googled 'female heroines'? I said, 'No,' and she did it for me. If you do it, there are a lot of scantily clad women. Now women should be allowed to dress exactly however they choose, but the idea that you Google female heroines and there isn't a diverse range of examples that come up, I find it a bit depressing. We see women in a different range of roles in the film. And the reason I love my character so much and I feel so enthusiastic about Capt. Phasma is, yes, she's cool, she looks cool, she's a villain - but more than that, we see a female character and respond to her not because of the way she looks. We respond to her because of her actions. I think we're a society that has promoted a homogenized idea of beauty in women - and in men - and I think it's really interesting, modern and necessary to have a female character that isn't about the way her body looks. It isn't about her wearing makeup. It's not about her being conventionally feminized. The idea of this enormous legacy and franchise embracing an idea like that, which of course to many of us feels logical, is actually really progressive. And long overdue."
What are your initial feelings towards Captain Phasma? At this early stage, it's still too soon to judge her character. Will she be cool enough to carry a bigger role in future sequels? Or will she end up being the next Jar Jar Binks? We won't know for sure until this December. But for right now, Phasma's future appears brighter than her chrome armor.