Zack Snyder is known for creating the Snyderverse in the DC Universe, as well as his Watchmen, and 300 adaptations. His films generally feature visually stunning scenes and a more mature approach. Snyder’s next passion project, an upcoming sci-fi film Rebel Moon, already has fans intrigued.
This new Snyder project is split into two, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire and Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it promises a thrilling mix of sci-fi fantasy, inspired by the known projects. As the anticipation builds for Rebel Moon, as it gets closer to its release date in December, let’s see what we can expect from this project.
What is Rebel Moon about?
Rebel Moon is Zack Snyder’s first film that will focus on a full-on sci-fi in space. It is set in a universe controlled by the corrupt government of the Motherworld. The story revolves around the moon of Veldt, threatened by the Imperium forces led by Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee). The main story character Kora (Sofia Boutella), who’s a former member of the Imperium, seeks redemption. After the attack on her home, she decides to recruit warriors from across the galaxy to stand against the oppressive regime of the Imperium.
Kora decides to recruit a team that consists of a cyborg swordmaster Nemesis (Doona Bae), a former noble turned blacksmith Tarak (Staz Nair), former Empire General Titus (Djimon Hounsou), her friend Gunnar (Michiel Huisman), a mercenary pilot Kai (Charlie Hunnam), a sentient mechanized robot Jimmy (Anthony Hopkins) and others. Kora’s mission is to save Veldt from impending doom. All because the evil Admiral Attius Noble (Ed Skrein), Balisarius’ right-hand man decides to attack Veldt.
Trailers show us that the story of both parts 1 and 2, will look very intense, interesting, and unique. Rebel Moon draws inspiration from the works of Akira Kurosawa, the Star Wars franchise, and Heavy Metal magazines. The project was initially created as a mature version of Star Wars. Snyder initially wanted to create a Star Wars project, but he had to make changes due to Disney not buying it. (see article via Empire Magazine exclusive). But I think that it’s for the better. The project evolved into an original film and was ultimately picked up by Netflix after being redeveloped to fit the streaming vision.
Splitting the story into two already tells that Snyder’s vision was not only fulfilled, but the story was so long that he had to split it up, and there will be director’s cuts of both movies. This, looking at his previous projects, shows that he wants to tell a deep and meaningful story that takes as long as it needs to be told.
Runtime of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire and the director’s cut
In October, Netflix revealed the runtime of the first installment of Rebel Moon at 2 Hours & 13 minutes. In addition, producer Deborah Snyder stated that the extended cuts would “be 45 minutes to an hour longer”.
“The difference [this time] is that we’ve planned for it… it’s not an afterthought. We’re still tweaking, but they’ll probably be 45-minutes to an hour longer, each one. You get more character. You get a lot more of everything. It’s not just a few deleted scenes.” – Deborah Snyder (see article via The Direct))
Zack Snyder himself has said there is close to an hour of extra content going into the extended versions. He also spoke about what drives him to want to put together director’s cuts of his works for the fans.
“The director’s cut is close to an hour of extra content, so I think it’s a legitimate extended universe version. You really get to see a lot. It’s just more painted-in all the way. The director’s [cut] is a settle-in deep dive, which I have notoriously done throughout my career.”
“I don’t know how I got into this director’s cut thing, but what I will say about it is that, for me, the director’s cuts have always been something I had to fight for in the past and nobody wanted it. It was this bastard child that I was always trying to put together because they felt like there was a deeper version. And with Netflix, we shot scenes just for the director’s cut. So in that way, it’s really a revelation because it gives that second kick at the can for big fans, like a real discovery that they would not [otherwise] get. I’m really excited about it!” – Zack Snyder (see article via The Direct))
A visually and technically very different Zack Snyder project
The stunning visuals and the positive madness were the first things that spoke to me when I saw the concepts and the first trailer for Rebel Moon. It’s a full-on sci-fi project with various weird creatures that convince you how dark, fascinating, and unknown this world is. My favorite creature so far is the big spider that was shown in the trailer. I don’t know how important it is to the story, but damn, it truly looks scary and real.
Depending on which planet our heroes/villains are at the moment, the background, grain, and visual palette change. This shows the representation of different worlds and that they are not the same. It makes sense to me, and I like it, but it will definitely take me some time to get used to it.
What I’m most curious about right now is the real budget and the amount of practical effects used in the movie. Whenever I see such an ambitious project like this one, I always want to know how much work people put into creating costumes, backgrounds, etc. I really admire the work on Rebel Moon that I’ve seen so far and look forward to behind-the-scenes material that may delve into that more. That way we can see how all of it was created and how to interpret certain moments/symbols in this movie. If there’s one thing that I personally associate Zack Snyder with, it is a deeper meaning and symbolism in every project he does.
Another great thing about Rebel Moon is the return of the amazing composer Tom Holkenborg a.k.a. Junkie XL, who worked with Snyder on his previous projects, including Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. His task to compose the score for Rebel Moon must be a challenge, at least from my perspective. But from what we’ve heard so far his soundtrack for Rebel Moon is just as good as in other projects.
The huge potential of Rebel Moon for Netflix
In the summer of 2023, it was announced that there are plans to create a Rebel Moon RPG game and a co-op PC/console game (see article via Comicbook.com). Both games were meant to be set after the events from both movies, so they would serve as some sort of a sequel spin-off to the whole story. The idea behind them was for players to choose and create a rebel and then play as that rebel either in single-player or in co-op. The studio responsible for a console game was Super Evil Megacorp.
Unfortunately, a month later, it was revealed that Netflix terminated the deal for both Rebel Moon games and they made it their property. Due to this, Netflix was sued by companies who had already worked on it. (see this post about it on Evil Genius Games).
One thing I know for sure, Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon has high potential to be another huge franchise for Netflix. Just think about it, before we get to see the movies, there were two games already in the works. There are likely to be spin-off projects if this one is successful. And a prequel graphic novel from Titan Comics will be released in January 2024 called Rebel Moon: House of the Bloodaxe. Written by Mags Visaggio and illustrated by Clark Bint. (more information via Penguin Random House).
When and where to watch Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon
Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on December 15, 2023, followed by its streaming debut on Netflix on December 22, 2023. You can check out the teaser trailer for Rebel Moon here! Zack Snyder has confirmed that after the movies are released, there will be R-rated director’s cuts, which will serve as an extension to the original PG-13-rated version. Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is set for release on April 19, 2024.
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