Superhero cinematic series are one of the most popular trends in Hollywood at the moment thanks to the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros' DC Comics Extended Universe, and 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise. However, the popularity of superhero fare has paved the way for less well known comic books to receive adaptations, such as EuropaCorp's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets from director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Lucy). The movie stars Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as the titular intergalactic agent Valerian as well as Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) as his one and only partner, Laureline.
Besson debuted the first footage for Valerian at Comic-Con International in San Diego last summer to positive reaction from fans and journalists in attendance for the Hall H presentation. Fans unable to attend, got their first look at Valerian in the trailer released last November, while to the second trailer expands the world of Alpha. Now, though Valerian is still months away from its July release date, those involved with the film are already looking to the future.
At a premiere event for Valerian's second trailer hosted by U.S. distributor STX in New York City this week, Screen Rant had a chance to speak to both Besson and DeHaan about the potential for sequels. While Besson revealed he's already working on the script for a sequel, DeHaan further explained that the director has talked about more than one additional movie following Valerian and Laureline. DeHaan said:
“Well I think Luc would like to make other ones. Really we just want people to be excited about this one and go see this one and then I think we take it from there. He’s talked about making at least two more, if he can, if people like [the first movie] and go see it. That’s the plan.”
Since the upcoming film is based on a series of French comics that launched in the 1960s, titled Valérian and Laureline, there's plenty of material to pull inspiration from for any sequel Besson may be crafting. Though the comics aren't as well known in the United States as Marvel and DC's stable of superheroes, they did serve as inspiration for a number of beloved sci-fi properties - including Lucasfilm's Star Wars and even Besson's The Fifth Element. Additionally, based on what we've seen of the film, the world of Alpha (the titular City of a Thousand Planets) offers an extensive sci-fi landscape to explore in further installments.
That said, it's unclear whether the storyline of Valerian actively sets up sequels or it simply works as a standalone story that could potentially expand into a larger arc. Or, though somewhat a rarity in comic book-adapted franchises, a Valerian film series could simply tell self-contained stories in each installment. Comic book movies have received criticism in the past for relying too much on setting up a larger superhero universe, but there's no indication from the trailers for Valerian, or Besson himself, that the film is anything but a standalone.
Still, a sequel to Valerian largely depends on the success of and reaction to its initial theatrical debut this summer. Though Besson earned plenty of sci-fi credit for his work on 1997's The Fifth Element, his films since haven't been quite as successful. So, Valerian isn't necessarily guaranteed to be a hit - but if it should prove to be, fans can rest assured that Besson is prepared for sequels if they're given the green light.
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) release date: Jul 21, 2017