For many of us, the name Valerian has just recently been introduced into our entertainment vocabulary, but for producer-writer-director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), it has been a canonical name and a potential movie script since age 10. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Besson revealed all the promotional tidbits he could about his upcoming comic book adaptation, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, without giving too much away of course.
For those who haven’t been following its development, Valerian stars Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) and Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns) as the eponymous character and his partner Laureline, respectively (according to Besson, Laureline was his very first crush). The film is set in outer-space as Valerian, a time-traveling space agent, takes on an investigation of the galactic empire along with his trusted partner.
The original comic was titled Valerian and Laureline, and Besson felt especially drawn to it because of its rare depiction of a powerful female hero who didn’t always say “yes, yes, yes”. Another momentous inspiration for Besson was James Cameron‘s Avatar, which was the first film to prove to Besson that the level of technical finesse needed to carry out a Valerian film could finally be accomplished.
The sci-fi adventure is now about halfway through filming and is expected to hit theaters in July of next year. Chart-topper Rihanna is also officially set to appear in the film, and Besson is keeping his lips sealed as to whether or not she will be depicting the villain. According to him,
The big difference between this and the Marvel pattern is that with Marvel you know after five minutes who’s the villain. They do films that are super well made, but this pattern bothered me a little bit. What’s new here is we have two agents, and over the course of one film, it’s a police investigation, in fact. So you don’t know who’s exactly bad until the end, because it’s an investigation.
It seems that Besson is looking to break away from the traditional hero story that has dominated the theaters screens for the past several years. Instead, we will get a male-female hero partnership, mixed with the next level sci-fi and action that Besson has built his storied career on (Lucy, Transporter, Taken), as well as possibly some hints of classic film noir.
We will have more on Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets as it is released.
See additional promotional photos below: