So at the time of writing this post, I am less than 100 pages into the novel Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, but I am already loving it! Fresh off the Inferno Squad book, I dove right into this one because of how much I like the character of Phasma. I will say that her death in The Last Jedi at the hands of a janitor turned rebel hero did not sit well with me. I’ve had some people say that “Well if you don’t see a body she could still be alive. Look at what happened with Maul and Boba Fett”, which to be fair, is true; however, Disney really likes killing their villains by falls, so that doesn’t bode well for Chrome Dome. One of the main characters in the book besides Phasma is another First Order captain named Cardinal. Unlike Phasma, who’s armour is made of the same material as a Starship, his is the standard First Order armour just painted red. At this point in the book, he is torturing a Resistance spy for information that he can use to usurp Phasma as Leader of the First Order troopers. The book is very good and I am very excited to see how this is going to play out considering you never hear of Cardinal or Pyre in the movies, maybe now you will since Phasma is dead?
Cardinal is introduced, as I previously said, in the Phasma book; whereas, Commander Pyre was introduced in the Star Wars: Resistance cartoon series. Pyre has been a recurring antagonist in the series but has yet to make the leap from the small screen to the big screen.
Let’s breakdown each Commander and what they’re responsible for in the First Order…
Phasma is from a nuclear ravaged planet called Parnassos. She was one of two leaders that rested control from a would be usurper in their clan. Her and her brother Keldo ruled the clan of the Scyre for several years before she left to join the First Order. When General Brendol Hux (Armitage Hux’s father) crash landed on Parnassos, he offered Phasma the opportunity to join the First Order if she helped him get back to his ship. Phasma deserted her people and assisted the general in getting back to his ship. When they returned to the Star Destroyer, Absolution, Phasma was put in charge of training the teenage/adult First Order Troopers while Cardinal was kept at training the young recruits. Hux, recognizing Phasma’s potential as a military leader, promoted her to Captain and made her his personal bodyguard replacing Cardinal.
After a year of being in the First Order, Phasma returned to Parnassos in her TIE fighter. She located the crashed ship of General Hux and salvaged the chrome armour plating. She flew across the ocean on Parnassos in her TIE to Cleo Station. Once she arrived at Cleo, she used the Synthicator to manufacture her unique Chromium Armour which was capable, as we see in The Last Jedi, of deflecting blaster fire.
She trained several classes of Stormtroopers for the First Order including FN-2187 (Finn). During a training exercise, she noted that Finn’s class had the potential to be the best troopers the First Order had ever produced; but that Finn showed too much empathy. Following the exercise, Phasma took Finn aside after he sacrificed the objective to help his fallen comrade (FN-2003), and told him that he must leave behind anything that could potentially weaken the First Order, meaning FN-2003.
She continued to monitor Finn with his unwillingness to kill without provocation and his desire to help his comrades, with disdain. When Finn betrayed the First Order she took it as a personal failure and wanted to correct the mistake. Following the battle at Starkiller base in The Force Awakens, and her capture at the hands of Finn, Han and Chewie, she managed to get off the base before its destruction and make her way to the Supremacy, Snoke’s ship. She had another encounter with Finn and the two engaged in a long awaited battle. Finn proved victorious (utter bullshit) and Phasma was incinerated when she fell to her death.
Cardinal was born on Jakku with the name of Archex. He spent his early and some of his formative years on the planet, but when his mother died, he and the rest of the orphans were unsure of what to do. Following the battle of Jakku (where the Rebellion finally destroyed the Empire, see Battlefront II main story), General Brendol Hux invited the orphans onto his ship to come to the Unknown Regions. Once on board the ship, Archex and the rest of the orphans were inducted into the Stormtrooper training program. Archex was given the designation of CD-0922 and proceeded to complete his training. He was one of the first new class of storm troopers (The First Order) and was raised to believe that the New Republic was corrupt and disorderly; only true order could be established by its eradication and the installation of the First Order as the ruling party (a.k.a. New Empire).
CD-0922 completed his training at the top of his class and served with distinction on board the Finalizer, where he was promoted to Captain and Hux’s personal guard. It was then that he got his signature red armour.
” I was his personal guard. He handpicked me on Jakku, trained me himself. I was infinitely loyal. From the time I first put on this armor, he trusted me to keep him safe. He designed it himself because he said red was a color of power . Every moment he spent in my company, he knew he was safe.” – Cardinal to Vi Moradi regarding Brendol Hux, Star Wars:Phasma 2017, Del Rey Books.
When Hux crashed on Parnassos and Phasma helped him to escape, Cardinal was still stationed on the Finalizer and was unable to assist his general. When Hux returned he had a new Captain and a new bodyguard. This didn’t sit well with Cardinal, he wanted his position back. So he kidnapped a known Resistance spy named Vi Moradi, who had been to Parnassos, to interrogate her into giving up any information she had on Phasma. His plan was to present enough evidence to have Phasma demoted and disgraced so he could regain his position.
*There is a lot more information regarding Cardinal but it flies in spoiler territory of the book I am currently reading.*
Cardinal was awarded his armour in a ceremony where he was promoted to the rank of Captain and given his name “Cardinal”. His armour and weapons are coloured red and he sports a black cape.
Pyre is a very new addition to the “House of Mouse” canon for Star Wars. He was introduced as a main antagonist in the Star Wars: Resistance cartoon show where he has remained as a regular in the series.
Nothing is known of his childhood, just that he was recruited into the First Order at a young age and has risen through the ranks to become Commander of the First Order garrison on the Colossus Station on Castilon. He was paired with Major Elrik Vonreg, a fellow stormtrooper, who was one of his closest allies on Castilon. He and Vonreg came up with a plan to partner with a pirate faction that would attack the Colossus Station to cause the leader of the station, Imanuel Doza, to allow the First Order to garrison there. This garrison would effectively control the Colossus Station which was a major refueling station on the edges of Wild Space. Despite the reluctance of Captain Phasma to partner with the pirates she agreed to Pyre and Wonreg’s plan. After several attacks by the pirates on the station Doza requested to meet with Pyre to discuss the possibility of a First Order Garrison. Though it took longer than previously thought, the garrison was permitted on the Colossus Station.
Pyre eventually took control of the station from Doza claiming Doza’s insubordination can no longer be tolerated. He shot Doza’s personal droid bodyguard and arrested him.
Though the First Order did hold the fueling station for a short period of time, the Resistance launched a counter-attack to take it back. Pyre and his garrison fought hard but in the end they were forced to retreat from the station.
Pyre functioned as Phasma’s right hand man and by that designation an extension of her will. As such he needed to distinguish himself from the other troopers of the First Order. He wears Gold plated armour with a black pauldron on his right shoulder. He uses a modified F-11D blaster rifle that was also Gold plated.
“Aside from Phasma, we also have the character Pyre, who is her sort of second-in-command. He needed to look unique as well, and we didn’t want to stick with a silver theme, so I think it was fun that we brought in the gold. It makes him really distinct from her and the rest of the troopers.“―Amy Beth Christenson on the creation of Pyre
These three represent both the training and the will of the First Order. Sure, Kylo Ren is now the figurehead (bye bye Snoke) but he would just be an angsty teenager without these three. My good friend Ben jokingly told me that I have a crush on Phasma. Which to be fair, she is a strong independent woman who could kick the shit out of any man, so it’s more fear than crush, well… maybe a bit of both… But when I pointed out that she is the Boba Fett of the sequel trilogy, he instantly agreed. So, point for me.
I’m looking forward to finishing the book and hope that it will expand on Cardinal a little more and maybe leave it open to him and Pyre showing up in the next movie… it’s a pipe dream I know… but it’s a dream none the less!
That’s all for this week, see you next week!