Luc Besson’s Sci-Fi Film VALERIAN Kicks Ass at Comic-Con and Gets a Standing Ovation

Luc Besson, the director behind films such as The Professional and The Fifth Element, has a new sci-fi film coming out next year called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Besson took the stage this afternoon for the first time ever in Hall H at Comic-Con and he was welcomed with open arms.

Valerian is a comic book that was first published in 1967 and it’s something the director grew up reading, starting when he was 10 years old. He loved the series so much that it became a passion project for him to bring to the big screen. It took him a while to get it done. At one point a few years ago he had a script ready to go, but when Avatar came out he trashed it and started from scratch. It may have taken longer to make than he hoped, but it looks like he ended up making something pretty damn spectacular! 

Dane DeHaan (Amazing Spider-Man 2, Chronicle), and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad, Paper Towns) star in the film alongside Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer, John Goodman, Herbie Hancock, and Rihanna.

The original comic served as inspiration for films such as Star Wars, The Fifth Element and Avatar. This is a basic description of the concept:

The series focuses on the adventures of the dark-haired Valérian, a spatio-temporal agent, and his redheaded female colleague, Laureline, as they travel the universe through space and time. Valérian is a classical hero, kind-hearted, strong and brave who follows the orders of his superiors even if he feels, deep down, that it is the wrong thing to do. On the other hand, his partner Laureline combines her superior intelligence, determination and independence with sex-appeal.

Besson completed shooting the film about five or six weeks ago. He’s currently deep in the post production process, but he wanted to share a few scenes from the film with the audience. The VFX weren’t fully completed, but what he showed definitely wow’d the crowd and got us pumped up to see the movie! This movie looks bat-shit awesome! I’ll tell you about what we saw.

The first scene focused on Valerian (DeHaan), who is wearing a very cool-looking spacesuit that you can see in the new image above. He is running down the hallways of a spacecraft that he wasn’t familiar with and his partner Laureline (Delevingne) is guiding him over a communicator about where to go.

Another scene shows Laureline wearing a similar spacesuit and being escorted somewhere by a couple of guards. She tells them that they should cuff her because she was thinking about escaping. She acts like she’s going to make it easy for them but then proceeds to beat the living shit out of them. She steals a gun from one of them and as she’s running through the hallways she comes across three or four alien creatures, points her guns at them, and demands information.

Then there was a crazy and strange scene in which Valerian and Laureline are flying around in a spacecraft joking about Laureline’s driving skills. They end up landing the ship on a planet where there are a group of post-apocalyptic type scavengers waiting for them. Apparently they need the help of Valerian and Laureline, who meet them wearing tourist-type clothing and acting wacky. This whole thing turns into an action-packed sequence where they are being chased down by a rabid alien. This whole scene had a lot of Mad Max-style action as they were trying to get away from the alien.

Ethan Hawke shows up as a street salesmen trying to lure people into his club where they can see a show. The scene is set in a Blade Runner type of futuristic city and Hawke’s character gets Valerian into one of these shows; as he sits down, a dancer comes on stage ready to perform. When her head turns to the camera, we see that it’s Rihanna. 

My favorite scene that was screened was the very last one and it was absolutely awesome! Valerian activates his suit and we see his helmet transform around his head. From that point he just starts running towards a wall and breaks through it. We continue to follow him running in a long continuous shot as he runs through all kinds of weird and colorful environments, and this eventually turns into some cool sci-fi parkour as he uses his gun to help him jump around on little pods. This sequence is so freakin' fun and I can’t wait to see how the full scene plays out.

When talking further about the movie, Besson said that the story takes place over the course of 24 hours. There’s also a scene during the beginning of the film that apparently takes place between two different dimensions! The director went on to say how crazy it was to shoot this scene and that it will be awesome for audiences to watch.

The movie looks like it’s going to be a blast and if you’re a fan of the kinds of films Besson makes, you are going to absolutely love this! Hopefully you get to see a trailer soon, but in the meantime, here’s the official synopsis:

Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner — blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him.
Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time — uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will hit theaters one year from today on July 21, 2017, and I'll definitely be checking it out!

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