Luc Besson thinks he could make a sequel to his sci-fi romp Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets for a lower price than the original. Valerian is based on a cult French comic that Besson grew up loving, and while he always wanted to make a film version he had to wait until technology caught up with his ambitious vision. The eventual movie – which started Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, and Rihanna – proved to be a visual treat, bringing viewers into a stunningly realized futuristic world filled with unique alien cultures and technology.
But while the film was a marvel to look at, the script and characterization left something to be deserved. Valerian received mediocre reviews, with many critics feeling DeHaan was somewhat miscast as the roguish title character. Indeed, the film proved to be a financial failure in the U.S., and while Besson has written two further sequels, the future of the series is in doubt.
That said, Besson feels a sequel could be made for a lower cost than the original Valerian, according to a new interview with Collider. After dismissing the notion of making an animated movie with a resounding “No,” the director goes on to discuss how the next entry tells a smaller story, and the amount of research that went into making Valerian would cut down on costs:
"The price depends on the story. The story of the second one is less expensive. The third one is almost the same than the first. But it depends on the story, the price doesn’t go up because you want to. It depends of what you’re saying. But the second one is less expensive."
"It’s pretty less, the story’s different so… and there’s some elements that you can use that we have in the first one and then we have the knowledge now."
Valerian is the most expensive movie produced in France at €197 million, and while it's great to see Besson is still passionate about returning to this world, the film's underperformance will likely be a barrier. The director has spoken before of how he’s waiting to see how the film does in the Blu-ray and home video markets before a decision is made about the franchise's future.
Besson also seems adamant that the big screen is the only way to experience the world of Valerian. In the above Collider interview he flatly rules out an animated version, and he’s previously shot down revisiting the universe for a TV series. For now, fans of Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets will have to wait, and pray the film sells a whole bunch of Blu-rays to convince investors to produce another movie.