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In the Last Jedi, Finn and Rose are about to be executed by stormtroopers. Importantly, there is a massive contingent of these stormtroopers surrounding them. This is being overseen by Phasma. Then, they are distracted a little.

Ok. A rebel transport crashes into the flagship they are on at light speed. This tears the ship in two.

In the next scene with either character, Finn is getting up and the area is mostly deserted. Soon after Phasma is charging them down and clearly has not forgotten the task at hand.

Where did all of the stormtroopers go?

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    Someone has asked me this several times and I gave him the answer that Finn and Rose were unconscious for a while and the stormtroopers went to their battle stations. He countered, however, that the goodies would have been executed while unconscious and stormtroopers would too be unconscious around them. – kaine Dec 27 '17 at 15:32
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    They all ran away, probably. – Valorum Dec 27 '17 at 15:37
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    Perhaps because they were lying on the floor they were spared from an explosion that engulfed the room. – Clint Eastwood Dec 27 '17 at 15:37
  • @ClintEastwood Clever... I didn't think of that. That would have been cool to show though. – kaine Dec 27 '17 at 15:40
  • They go in the toilet of course. – Möoz Jan 4 '18 at 19:59
31

Among the duties that Stormtroopers have onboard Star Destroyers is cleaning, basic maintenance, and damage control.

This can be seen earlier in the movie when Finn references mopping the floor around the power relays.

When the ship was damaged, many of the troopers in the docking bay would have been tossed around, some would have been killed or wounded, and it is entirely likely that the unarmored prisoners were knocked out and/or thought killed. Captain Phasma, as the leader of the Trooper contingent, had immediate priority items to do: she had to direct her troops to evaluate the situation and save the ship if practical or organize the evacuation if not.

Only when Finn and Rose (with the assistance of BB-8 in his stolen walker) became a threat to the evacuation (by stealing a walker and shooting up the place, and moving towards one of the few remaining functional light craft) did Phasma have to prioritize 'prisoner control'.

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    BB-8 steals the walker after Phasma and her squad engage Finn and Rose, F&R were originally just going to run to the light craft and escape. Also we never seem to be given details that an “evacuation” is taking place. – Edlothiad Dec 27 '17 at 15:48
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    @Edlothiad - we see literally dozens, if not hundreds, of light craft fleeing the burning ship. There is definitely an evacuation going on, and Phasma's place in the chain of command means that she would most likely have a part to play in directing it. And she and a squad of troopers find Finn & Rose as they are headed towards one of the few remaining undamaged craft in that bay. They had been heading towards the same craft for the same reason. – Jeff Dec 27 '17 at 15:55
  • I only saw 2 tie fighters leaving when I just re-watched it. Maybe the low quality means what looks like random broken bits of ship were light craft, but I can't be certain. Phasma is also walking away from the light craft, as Finn and Rose run head on into them on their way to the ship. Although I was wrong about BB-8, although Phasma engages the duo before he starts shooting, it is BB-8 who shoots first. – Edlothiad Dec 27 '17 at 16:25
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    @Edlothiad No, Han shot first. (Sorry, still bitter.) – Joel Harmon Dec 28 '17 at 23:44
19

A brief reminder of the chaos

enter image description here

The order of events went something like this

  1. Finn and Rose are about to be executed. Painfully.
  2. Light-speed-ship-blow-up-stuff
  3. The troopers in the bay (including Phasma) are somewhat stunned at the explosions erupting in the bay. They're understandably distracted
  4. BB8 commandeers an AT-ST and we relive the glory of the Endor forest battle in ROTJ (thankfully without Ewoks this time)
  5. The part of the bay they're in starts falling apart
  6. Phasma and Finn share a moment over crossed... whatever that stuff was
  7. Phasma is sent packing for Episode IX

So all the troopers are leaving between 4 and 5. By the time we reach 6, the bay is in shambles and even Finn and Rose are looking for the exit.

I should note that there's a deleted scene that fills in a bit of the gap

Phasma originally had another badass moment. The scene took place chronologically after she battled Finn on Snoke’s ship, right after he smashes the hole in her helmet. A group of stormtroopers corner Finn and he tries to get them on his side, saying that they can join him and escape Phasma’s grasp, just like he has. Finn says that she’s really a coward who sold out the codes to Starkiller Base. He pleads with the First Order squad to escape with him. The stormtroopers all look at each other…and in a moment borrowed from a Sergio Leone western, Phasma pulls out her blaster and guns down all six or seven stormtroopers herself before they have any time to react. It felt like a tribute to a classic western shootout, but for whatever reason, it didn’t feel right in that moment of the movie.

So originally Phasma wasn't totally abandoned, the final edits just made it seem that way

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    The original non-stackexchange questioner was asking why there were no stormtroopers around when Finn got up (woke up by my explanation). This would be between 3 and 4. I think I must need to rewatch it but I don't remember anything showing #3 and I don't remember many stormtroopers being around after #2. (You are right a couple are shot at #4 but not that many.) Awesome info on the deleted scene though. – kaine Dec 27 '17 at 16:39
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    "thankfully without Ewoks this time" Them's fighting words – Kevin Dec 28 '17 at 12:27
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    @Kevin I'll see your fighting words and raise you two porgs – Machavity Dec 28 '17 at 21:34
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    @Kevin Ewoks would have eaten the Wookies. – kaine Jan 4 '18 at 21:49
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    That deleted scene is important since it basically fills in that gap of time. Also I am sure when the ship got split in two it becomes a moment of every man for himself so many probably just ran off in the chaos. – Scott.Bell Feb 6 '19 at 17:19
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Finn and Rose are lying on the ground, about to be painfully executed. Phasma and the stormtroopers are standing watching/inflicting/executing.

Big boom happens, everyone who was standing up is now elsewhere. People who were lying down (Finn and Rose) escaped the worst of the blast.

At least, that's how I saw it.

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    Yep; seemed quite obvious to me at the time. – Pieter Geerkens Dec 27 '17 at 23:17
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    escaped the worst of the blast How is that even possible? If there some interaction nearby involving something non-trivially small that is incoming at near lighspeed, you will feel like you are sitting underneath a Nuke Testing Tower on Eniwetok. Relevant: What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? – David Tonhofer Dec 28 '17 at 0:17
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    @DavidTonhofer, this is Star Wars. Physics is subservient to plot, not to mention the whims and lack of science education of the screenwriters. – Rupert Morrish Dec 28 '17 at 0:22

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