captain phasma

After the Books and TV Shows, We Need a Major Female Villain in a Star Wars Movie

Beyond Phasma, who should've had a bigger role.
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Today, we got our first look at Admiral Ar’alani from the upcoming Star Wars novel Thrawn: Treason, and I’m already in love. A Chiss Admiral who’s ready to fight the strange threats of the Unknown Regions and deal with her colleague, Thrawn, as he faces the Empire, she’s the latest in a long line of female anti-heroes and villains in the Star Wars novels, comics, and TV shows. Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, Doctor Aphra, Asajj Ventress, Governor Pryce … there are so many fantastic lady villains and anti-heroes in the books and TV shows.

So that leaves the question: Where are all the lady villains in the movies?

Originally, the prequels were supposed to introduce a Sith female villain in Attack of the Clones, but the villain was changed to Count Dooku during pre-production. The concept art was later used to create Ventress for the television show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Captain Phasma made an appearance in the sequel trilogy, but she got an underwhelming death and was not particularly well used before she tumbled to her (assumed) doom in The Last Jedi.

Qi’ra technically counts as a criminal in Solo, but she’s more of an anti-heroine at best and just a vague love interest at worst. There’s a chance that Zorri in The Rise of Skywalker might be a bounty hunter, but the Keri Russell character is being kept under wraps, so we won’t know until December. Everyone else is a heroine, through and through, and while I’ll never say no to capable lady heroines, I would love to see some variety of female characters as we progress into the future.

While I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of Imperial and First Order characters, it would be cool to see a capable and evil military leader who’s also a woman—or a bounty hunter who’s a little less than friendly and tends more toward the selfish. There’s potential, as the series moves beyond the Skywalker Saga and a straightforward tale of good vs. evil, to explore a little more moral ambiguity on the big screen, with female characters occupying roles beyond the heroic.

Leia is phenomenal. Rey is phenomenal. Padmé, Rose, and others are equally amazing, but there’s potential for truly amazing female characters on the big screen who also aren’t just pure of heart. Imagine seeing a movie for Rae Sloane, an Imperial officer who was one of the founders of the First Order. She might not be a hero in the traditional sense, but she’d be a fascinating character to explore in greater detail. (And she’d give us a Black, bisexual protagonist, too!) Or a Doctor Aphra solo film; think a morally grey, queer Indiana Jones in space.

A bounty hunter film starring a woman would be phenomenal, as well. Think of a crew of morally grey-to-villainous characters, mostly women, that have a wild, Fast and Furious-in-space adventure, and then think of all the money that would rake in.

Overall, I’m just excited to see a greater variety of characters on screen, especially women. There’s potential for really fascinating, flawed, possibly evil women to dominate Star Wars, because the future of the Force is female, and that means we deserve all sorts of women onscreen.

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Image of Kate Gardner
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.