Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the upcoming film adaptation of Valérian and Laureline: a French sci-fi comic book property created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières in 1967, following the adventures of the “spatio-temporal” agents Valérian and Laureline as they journey across time and space. The Valerian source material was a predecessor to many a famous space adventure franchise that has emerged since then, ranging from Star Wars to Avatar and even one-off movies such as The Fifth Element. It’s perhaps fitting then that Valerian is being brought to the big screen next year by Luc Besson, the writer/director of the latter (i.e. the cult hit 1997 sci-fi/action movie starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich).
Besson’s Valerian comic book adaptation isn’t schedule to arrive in theaters until Summer 2017 and it only began filming near the beginning of 2016. Nevertheless, the (reportedly) $180 million production is far along now that Besson has decided to reveal the costumes that Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns, the upcoming Suicide Squad) will be wearing as Valerian and Laureline in the film, respectively.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets also features a supporting cast that includes pop star Rihanna (Battleship), Clive Owen (The Knick), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), and Blade Runner‘s own Roy Batty, Rutger Hauer, among others. Besson teased additional reveals from the film when he posted the pic of DeHaan and Delevingne – with himself in the background – to Twitter, so there’s a fair chance that we will soon get our first look at other Valerian cast members in costume. First, though, here is the official synopsis for Besson’s movie, followed by the first image of its stars in their spacesuits:
Rooted in the classic graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline- visionary writer/director Luc Besson advances this iconic source material into a contemporary, unique and epic science fiction saga.
Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner- blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him.
Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time- uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.
The armor worn by DeHaan and Delevingne (who, it seems, will forgo Laureline’s red-haired look in the original comics) here bears a passing resemblance to the costumes worn by Valerian and Laureline in Christin and Mézières’ source material – you can see that for yourself by comparing it to the artwork from the original comic books that is on the back of Besson’s jacket. Nevertheless, their outfits very much have a modernized aesthetic that brings to mind the space armor worn by characters in sci-fi properties like Mass Effect or Ridley Scott space adventures like Prometheus and The Martian (though Delevingne’s respective costume lacks the unisex design of similar armor). Indeed, as much as the Valerian and Laureline comic books were trend-setters in terms of artistic style, it may be difficult for Valerian the film to follow suit – given the plethora of similar sci-fi titles produced since the Valerian comics began (50 years ago, by the time Besson’s film arrives).
On the other hand, Besson is considered a key member of the Cinéma du look movement for good reason – and though his tendency as a filmmaker to favor style over substance has led Besson to make nearly as many misses as hits over the years, if anyone can make a Valerian film adaptation that stands out as something unique in the modern cinematic landscape then it would (arguably) be the mind behind The Fifth Element, Lucy, The Transporter, and Taken, among other movies/franchises. Otherwise, there is risk that Valerian will become to EuroCorp what John Carter is to Disney; that is, an adaptation of a decades-old sci-fi property that, despite the creativity and money poured into it, just isn’t able to resonate with contemporary audiences the way its source material did back in its day.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens in U.S. theaters on July 21st, 2017.
Source: Luc Besson