It seems that Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), the first female stormtrooper in the Star Wars movies, wasn’t crushed inside a trash compactor as J.J Abrams would have us believe. She has survived somehow and will return in Star Wars Episode VIII.

“I will be in the next Star Wars movie. I think that’s an exclusive, actually,” Christie told the People deputy editor on the red carpet at the SAG Awards this Saturday.

The character of Captain Phasma was hyped a lot during the promotion of “The Force Awakens.” However, she turned out to be merely a background character in the final film. Christie’s face was never shown and Phasma appeared to only carry out orders given to her.

She appeared to be a strict imposer of discipline to the stormtroopers, but once Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) confronts her inside the Starkiller base, she appeared powerless and at gunpoint does what they ask of her, which is to drop the shields of the Starkiller base so that the Rebels can attack it. It is then implied that she was thrown down a garbage chute into a trash compactor, to her death.

Christie, 38, said she was very much excited at the prospect of appearing in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and had sought the role for a long time. “I was very overexcited. I made no secret of the fact that I really campaigned for the part for a long time,” she said.

She also added that the part of Phasma was originally intended for a man. “I was delighted when J.J. Abrams wanted to have me in the film and then wanted to cast me in this role that had originally been designed for a man.”

Christie felt the notion of a female stormtrooper “encouraged diversity and it was doing something new and it was an interesting bit of casting for women.” She added that the massive success of the film “would breed more of those kind of opportunities for other women.”

The Game of Thrones star also told People she thought it was interesting and modern that the armour wasn’t “sexualised or feminised in any way.”

There are quite a number of fan theories doing the rounds on the internet about the actual identity of Phasma.

Some fans theorise that Phasma is actually a double agent for the resistance. According to a Reddit post, Phasma, despite being a Captain, was very easily man-handled by Han Solo and company into dropping Starkiller base’s shields which led to its destruction.

The Reddit poster speculates whether Phasma was incompetent as a captain or if she was a double agent for the resistance who infiltrated the enemy base and earned their trust only to betray them by helping Han and Rey destroy Starkiller base. It must be kept in mind that Abrams only implied but never showed us the actual fate of Christie’s character.

Also, when Finn realises early in the film the cruelty of the First Order and removes his helmet, Captain Phasma asks him to report to her for inspection. Finn then makes a daring escape with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who was being held captive by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Phasma then reports to General Hux that FN 2187 (Finn) had reported to her and was sent for reconditioning. She could be lying and in actuality might have simply told Finn to escape with Poe.

According to Cinemablend, there is another theory that Phasma is a force-sensitive being in league with Snoke (Andy Serkis).

It remains to be seen whether her role is expanded in Episode VIII and such questions will be answered when Rian Johnson’s film hits theatres.