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I've only seen The Force Awakens once, but I'm as far as I can remember, Phasma doesn't really do much, except:

get taken hostage that one time and disable the shields around the Starkiller after being asked twice

Was she originally supposed to play a bigger role?

I was really expecting to see much more of her, or at least see her in combat.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

On the contrary, she was supposed to play a smaller role - just being an incidental character - but was bumped up in importance.

According to io9:

Captain Phasma, Finn’s commanding officer, was clearly meant to be a minor character who shows up in a couple of scenes and then Finn turns the tables on her in a funny moment before tossing her into a garbage compactor. And then they cast Gwendoline Christie in the role, and decided to upgrade her to major supporting character after all—Christie did a lot of press for this movie, remember.

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Ah very interesting! Cheers – Daft Jan 9 at 13:08
Well that certainly explains why her part in the film was so disposable. – Valorum Jan 9 at 14:17
I heard (forgot where though, sorry) that Phasma plays a major part in the new trilogy, and that it's just accidental that her screentime in VII is not bigger. And she will return in VIII. Also, the io9 quote, saying "clearly", smells like conjecture. – Mr Lister Jan 9 at 17:37

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