Star Wars actor Gwendoline Christie says the first time she saw the chromium armor she'd be donning as a part of her role playing Captain Phasma, she knew it was a sign of something different for female characters moving forward.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Christie expanded a bit on the experience of seeing the armor and how her excitement over getting to join the cast of Star Wars only increased when she realized that the body suit armor hadn't been tailored to the female form:
“When I was taken to the top-secret wardrobe department to see my Captain Phasma costume – a shiny, full-body suit of armor – I was truly electrified," she said. "Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, had asked me if I’d ever Googled ‘female superheroes’ and proceeded to show me the results, a plethora of scantily clad, cartoon-like women and not a whole lot else.”
Christie's not wrong, either; one of the ongoing debates within genre fiction surrounds costumes that often go the way of being overly sexy because a female character is wearing them. And sometimes, even when a woman does get the chance to wear a full suit of armor, it comes with one major difference: a chestplate that contours to the shape of her breasts -- which isn't just impractical in terms of combat, but also doesn't lend much in the way of comfort to the wearer either.
In spite of the occasional setback when it comes to giving strong female characters a wardrobe that is both practical and functional in fighting scenarios, there have been some examples that demonstrate the possibility of making a woman warrior sexy as a result of her power, not because of her body. Christie's no stranger to playing characters along those lines already; on Game of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth frequently dons armor that protects her without having to blatantly outline her curves.
As for Captain Phasma, it's encouraging that there's nothing to distinguish her from any of the other First Order troopers on the battlefield in terms of her gender -- unless she chooses to speak, that is. And while she may have ended up in a particularly trashy situation at the end of The Force Awakens, everything we've seen so far out of The Last Jedi suggests that we can expect even more power from her when she steps out again in that shiny suit of armor next month.