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Captain Cardinal

SW: Phasma
by yo go re

Looks like Kyra Sellers and King Kong have a new friend in the "action figures based on novels" club.

Served as Armitage Hux's personal guard, as he was among the orphans that Brendol Hux took in to create the First Order from.

That's... not very well written, is it? Not just ending the sentence with a preposition (because despite what your grammar teacher told you, it's not an error to do that), but the phrasing and sentence structure are just... sloppy? The info is correct: the boy who would become Cardinal was born on Jakku, and was recruited as a child soldier under the command of Hux's dad. The kids were trained harhly and leveraged to tear down the remnants of the Empire so the First Order could be formed. In the cadet program he was renamed CD-0922, and after attaining the rank of captain, was put in charge of training newer recruits. Until someone else came along to usurp his position: an escapee from the post-apocalyptic planet Parnassos, named Phasma.

CD-0922 viewed Hux the Elder as almost a father, so was very proud when Brendol gifted him a personalized set of red armor and a new name to go with it. When we hear the word "cardinal," we think of the bird; the bird, however, is named after the ecclesiastical position because its color reminded European settlers of the robes worn by Catholic cardinals; those cardinals got their title because historically, they were the specific leaders in charge of the main - or "cardinal" - churches of Rome; that sense of the word cardinal (as in "cardinal directions" or "cardinal numbers") comes from the Latin cardinalis, which comes from the word for a door hinge - in other words, the point that something turns or depends on. But while the progression of hinge > importance > priest > bird makes sense in English, would it really translate the same way in Galactic Basic?

When I first saw this figure in the store, I thought it was just a repainted Phasma - which would be mean, considering how much he hates her - but it turns out that's not the case. In fact, he's just a repainted First Order trooper. Well, mostly; the helmet is a different mold, taken from a different Target exclusive: 2017's First Order Stormtrooper Executioner. It's a little longer than the original, and has a sharper angle to the "frown" on the front. Other than that, though? It's the regular body, but red.

It makes sense, though. In the story, Brendol chose red because it was "a color of power" - someone who had come up through the ranks when the Emperor had an entire cadre of personal guards would see that as something to emulate. The toy's red is a great shade, very shiny and not at all plasticky like some red toys end up looking. Also, he doesn't have the "3D printed" ridges of the Sith Troopers, so that's nice too.

The reason I initially mistook this for a repainted Phasma is that Cardinal is a captain, just like her, so he also wears a cape over one shoulder. While hers was molded plastic, his is softgoods, and thus doesn't block the articulation at all. (The Disney Store exclusive battle-damaged Phasma also has a cape like this.) Like Phasma, his cape has a stripe along one edge - and in a fitting reversal, while she had a red stripe to contrast with her silver armor, Cardinal has a silver stripe to contrast with his red. Someone in the design department was paying attention!

One thing he definitely gets from Phasma is her Sonn-Blas F-11D blaster rifle. His is red, of course, but it's the same mold. He also has an SE-44C blaster pistol, like the standard troopers. Both weapons can be plugged into a notch on the toy's right leg, though both hands have their trigger fingers extended if you want him to come out guns blazing.

I only got Cardinal because I liked him in the Phasma novel, but the toy turned out better than I expected. Although there isn't a single new mold to be found here, they've never been combined in this particular configuration before, and the color is awesome. He's by far the easiest of these "Galaxy's Edge" Target exclusives to find - everything else sells out, but you're likely to see a couple Cardinals hanging on the pegs. Don't overlook this one just because you don't know his source. And heck, give the book a shot, while you're at it; it gives a lot more characterization to both Captain Phasma and General Hux than JJ Abrams ever bothered to.

-- 10/18/20

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