Gwendoline Christie on why playing Captain Phasma was so challenging

Captain Phasma looks set to bring a whole new breed of badass to the Star Wars universe, with Game Of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie set to bring the new character to life. While taking on strong female roles is nothing new to the actress, it wasn't without its challenges, not least of which was acting while being clad top to toe in armour throughout the shoot.

"It was very important to J.J. that I was there acting a part," says Christie to Variety. "I found it to be a really interesting acting challenge... it was exciting to me to have that weight of responsibility taken away, of having to be a certain way as a woman, to have to be mindful in a way that isn’t always useful. To have that stripped away was very liberating, and it meant that as an actor I had to focus on other things. I had to focus on what my body was communicating and what exactly my voice is communicating."

"It becomes about the way in which you hold your hand," she continues, "the way in which you walk, where your weight lies and what you want that to mean, and I wanted to give the character identity. I thought it was interesting to make something about the character identifiably female in a non-superficial way, and I hope that comes across."

"I don’t think many female actors get the opportunity to play a part where they’re not having to think about the way their face looks, but I found exactly the same thing with Brienne of Tarth, and that was very liberating," says Christie. "It was great as an actor to work on your skills — that it isn’t about holding your head so you look beautiful."

"It’s about what you’re transmitting, and to be in service of an idea greater than yourself, whether it’s the character’s overriding objective or, beyond that, hopefully something more sociopolitical. We have seen an image of [Phasma] and again, it’s an unconventional kind of woman exhibiting a kind of strength, but in a very different way to my other two characters."

The first image of Captain Phasma does indeed look impressively striking, and it will be exciting to see how Christie conveys her formidable screen presence from inside that suit. Co-starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open in the UK on December 17 2015 and the US the following day.