Those wanting to check out the comics that inspired Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will be in luck, next weekend. 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for both the comic book movie and sci-fi genres, with multiple massive, long-awaited titles hitting the big screen over the next several months. Valerian, which comes from the famous writer/director Luc Besson and stars Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) opposite Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad), is among 2017's most-anticipated blockbusters and could wind up being the dark horse hit of the summer.
While on the surface it's a wild and colorful space opera, Valerian is based on a French comic book series that Besson himself fell in love with years ago, and has been working to adapt ever since. Created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières, the comic series, titled Valerian and Laureline, ran for 43 years and since then has been collected into 23 full volumes. And coincidentally enough, not only does this year mark the release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in theaters, but it also is the 50th anniversary of the Valerian and Laureline comics.
To celebrate, and in anticipation of the film's release in a couple of months, STXfilms, EuropaCorp, and Cinebook have announced that a special Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets preview issue will be available for free in stores around the world next Saturday, May 6th for Free Comic Book Day. The issue itself will be 32 pages long and feature the comics story that inspired the plot of the film, in addition to some exclusive, behind-the-scenes content from the making of the film itself. As a fan of the series and the writer and director of the new adaptation, Besson commented on the news with the following:
”It gives me incredible joy to finally bring to the big screen, 50 years later, the work of comic book creators Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières that originally sparked my imagination and set me on this incredible journey. I look forward to introducing a new generation of fans to the adventures of Valerian and Laureline.”
Focusing on a pair of special space operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the galaxy's human territories, Valerian's title refers to the magnificent metropolis at the heart of the film's story. Known as Alpha, it's an ever-expanding City of a Thousand Planets, where species from all over the universe have agreed to peacefully share their knowledge and cultures with each other. But when a dark force at the heart of Alpha threatens to tear it and the rest of the universe apart, Valerian (DeHaan) and his partner, Laureline (Delevingne), must try and uncover the secrets behind the sinister new force, before they are too late.
When it premiered its first official footage at San Diego Comic-Con last year, Valerian announced itself to the world as something to watch out for. With shades of different visual, thematic, and tonal influences from all over, including even Mass Effect, the film promises to be one of the more beautiful and exciting films released this year. For fans of Besson as well, this should come as an unexpected, but exciting return to the cosmic sci-fi world for the filmmaker following his work on The Fifth Element. It's not hard to see why the film's studios have been working so hard to promote and market the movie either, considering the heavy competition it'll be going up against near the end of July. In fact, seeing just how well Valerian manages to perform should be one of the more interesting races to monitor at the box office this year.
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) release date: Jul 21, 2017