Check out this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip of how Valerian and the City and a Thousand Planet‘s impressive visuals came together. While critics were certainly split on Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi epic, one thing that most certainly agreed on was that it was incredibly visually inventive; the film cost a whopping $185 million, and the seasoned visionary used that to craft several deeply involved sci-fi worlds.
The obvious highlight was the titular city, Alpha, a millennia-later evolution of the International Space Station that formed both the center of galactic politics and a hive of scum and villainy for our heroes – Dane DeHaan’s Valerian and partner (in both work and life) Cara Delevingne’s Laureline – to get embroiled in. The movie opened with its cross-generational creation, and so much of its mind-bending action took place through its various lucid locations. But even with a massive creative team, many were asking how exactly that came together?
Screen Rant can share this exclusive clip that answers that very question. In “Designing Alpha”, Art Director and Concept Artist Olivier Martin and Associate VFX Supervisor Peter Nofz talk about the creation of the city; Besson envisioned it as two NYCs meshed together, and much of the work of Rodeo FX ran from there. Watch the full clip, complete with accompanying construction graphics, above.
The most fascinating revelation in the clip is that the size and geography of Alpha was never officially defined. Its actual dimensions varied across the script quite drastically and, while the team built dozens of areas, they weren’t conceived as part of a greater whole, with connections only made when the story actually demanded it.
Valerian was an absolute passion project for Besson, with the French director clearly loving the graphic novel on which the film is based. Whether or not he succeeded is up for debate, but financially the film really struggled, with it emerging as one of 2017’s biggest box office failures (although it’s unlikely to have actually lost money due to a careful financing structure). Regardless, now the film is coming to home video, it has the opportunity for a new lease of life as a weird and wonderful cult classic.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available on Digital HD and 4K, Blu-ray and DVD 11/21.
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