French filmmaker Luc Besson earned plenty of credit among sci-fi fans in Hollywood thanks to his 1997 hit The Fifth Element, which featured an expansive futuristic world and imaginative visuals. Though the writer/director hasn’t had a hit quite like The Fifth Element since, he’s returning to the world of sci-fi again with this summer’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Based on the French comic books, Valérian and Laureline, Besson’s next directorial effort follows the intergalactic agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevigne).
Last summer, Besson debuted the first footage from Valerian at Comic-Con International in San Diego to immensely positive fan reaction. According to the director, the film includes 200 alien races in an intergalactic society called Alpha (the titular City of a Thousand Planets), which makes for plenty of CGI-constructed visuals – some of which were on display in the first trailer for Valerian that debuted. Now, after teasing the second Valerian trailer earlier this month, Besson and STX unveiled the promo during their presentation at CinemaCon.
More so than the first teaser for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, this second trailer introduces the partnership and loyalty between Valerian and Laureline as the former refuses to take on a mission without the help of his partner. We also see an extended clip of their mission in a desert-like environment as an introduction to their personalities and the action fans can expect from Besson’s latest sci-fi trip.
But, perhaps more exciting – at least, for fans of Besson’s particular brand of imaginative visuals and his ability to construct richly populated sci-fi worlds – this second Valerian trailer shows much more of the various planets within Alpha, as well as their alien inhabitants. Though it’s unclear how many of these aliens will have significant roles in Valerian, Rihanna’s shapeshifting entertainer is a particular standout. Of course, how Rihanna’s character actually fits into Valerian is being kept under wraps, but she’s joined in the supporting cast by Clive Owen, John Goodman, and Ethan Hawke.
The second Valerian trailer additionally offers some insight into the plot of the film, revealing that a foreign force is threatening Alpha so Valerian and Laureline are tasked with neutralizing the threat – and given a tight timetable in which to pull it off. The action set pieces are another highlight of the Valerian footage featured in the movie’s second trailer, particularly Laureline’s hand-to-hand combat and Valerian crashing through a glass walkway.
Certainly, it remains to be seen how Valerian holds up in the summer blockbuster season – it’s scheduled to premiere against Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk – and whether the film will be as much of a sci-fi success as Besson’s The Fifth Element. That said, reactions to the second trailer out of CinemaCon were largely positive, so Valerian could prove to be a hit with critics and audiences this summer.