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Captain Phasma’s ‘Star Wars’ role is limited, but her toy-shelf appeal sure isn’t

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Captain Phasma (played by Gwendoline Christie) proves more elusive as toy than character. (photo by David James / courtesy of Lucasfilm 2015)

I’VE GOT a Captain Phasma theory.

Now, yes, you may be saying: Captain Phasma? She was nearly a non-entity in “The Force Awakens.” But hear me out.

Perhaps you are one of the many who have thrilled to the new Star Wars film, but who were also less than moved by the leader of the Stormtroopers. Maybe you were expecting to hear Captain Phasma’s voice often, shouting strategic orders and leading the First Order to victory. Or maybe you thought you’d see Captain Phasma in enough action scenes that you would come to understand how she earned not only a spiffier silver Stormtrooper suit to distinguish herself from the rest, but also a cape. Few things signify being important more than wearing a cape. Just ask Darth Vader.

Yet in the film, her minimal presence was a letdown. Captain Phasma (played by the underused Gwendoline Christie) served as little more than a shiny new prop. She got to blurt a few lines and be captured, and ordered around, by a former sanitation worker of a Stormtrooper (Finn). If you were hoping for brilliant escape moves and, say, a duel between Captain Phasma and Han Solo — or Captain Phasma and anybody — then, well, we’re sorry for your disappointment. Heck, the Stormtrooper that called Finn a traitor gave us more action.

So what happened to Phasma?

Well, there were a lot of people to introduce: Two young/next-generation heroes, and the original cast, and a brand-new villain. And few films looking to make a fortune will stretch close to three hours. So some character from the film’s poster wasn’t going to get a lot of screen time. Victim: Captain Phasma.

But what about Captain Phasma’s prominence in the trailers? What purpose did that serve? Well, she might not have been on screen much during the film proper, but it’s worth noting: In plastic form, Captain Phasma is still helping Disney rake in tons of tangential coin.

Yes, as much a commercial force as the new Star Wars film is right now, the House of Mouse is also pulling in a massive amount of galactic credits from the merchandise — perhaps as much as $3-billion, according to some reports. And one of the most difficult-to-obtain toys since Force Friday seized our wallets awhile back has been…Captain Phasma herself.

Some of the most in-demand toys from the new wave of Star Wars action figures have been from the “Black Series” of Dark Side baddies. These figures have flown off the shelves since Day One. And though Kylo Ren was initially in especially high demand — resulting in his price doubling to more than 50 dollars if you were trying to get the figure quickly online — eventually new shipments of Kylos arrived en masse, returning the price to suggested retail.

There was no such luck with Captain Phasma, though — who proved more elusive as a toy than a character. If you’re fortunate enough to find a Captain Phasma figure online (to say nothing of in stores), expect to pay 60 bucks ballpark, because her diminished role in “The Force Awakens” has not diminished the asking price.

The plastic side of any geek movie franchise has its battles to wage. And though Phasma accomplishes little in “Force Awakens,” she deserved a higher rank in the merchandise division.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go weigh whether to take this Captain Phasma Black Series action figure out of the box — or keep its value intact.