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Netflix Drops First Footage of Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’

Sofia Boutella as Kora in Zack Snyder space opera Rebel Moon

While fans have not yet quite given up calls to “restore the Snyderverse,” filmmaker Zack Snyder has moved on from the DCU with some new exciting projects. In addition to revisiting his Dawn of the Dead concept in 2021’s Army of the Dead, the filmmaker is preparing to build a whole new universe with Rebel Moon. Snyder has not tried to hide the role that Star Wars played in inspiring his latest project, a space opera that will likely pique the interest of fans of the franchise.

How Star Wars shaped Rebel Moon

The Star Wars influence may be particularly strong in Rebel Moon, considering it was initially developed as an actual Star Wars film. It’s unclear when the Star Wars story would’ve taken place in that universe’s timeline. Snyder had pitched his more “mature” take on the Star Wars universe to Lucasfilm before it was acquired by Disney in 2012. However, the film didn’t become a reality before the acquisition, and as a result, Snyder decided to redevelop the project. Drawing inspiration from Japanese filmmaker and painter Akira Kurosawa, he refashioned his Star Wars project into Rebel Moon and sold the rights to Netflix.

Even though the film is still in development, Snyder has already expressed interest in expanding on Rebel Moon. He stated that he wanted the film to turn into “a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.” For the film, Snyder will be taking on the roles of director, writer, producer, and director of photography. From the sound of it, Rebel Moon seems to be taking the shape of a true passion project that allows Snyder to show his love for sci-fi and his knack for meticulous world-building. Here’s everything we know about Snyder’s new space opera so far.

Rebel Moon‘s release date

On January 18, Netflix released a teaser revealing a slew of release dates for their upcoming 2023 films. Rebel Moon was among the 2023 projects to receive an official release date and is slated to hit the streaming service on December 22, 2023.

The cast of Rebel Moon

Charlie Hunnam in an undisclosed role in Zack Snyder's space opera Rebel Moon

Snyder confirmed the full cast of Rebel Moon about a year ago, though not all of their roles are known. Starring as the film’s lead protagonist, Kora, is Algerian actress Sofia Boutella. Boutella is known for her roles in The Kingsman, The Mummy, and Atomic Blonde, and purportedly “wowed” Snyder with her audition for Rebel Moon. Her character is a mysterious woman tasked with rallying warriors to save her galaxy from invasion by the tyrant Belisarius, played by Deadpool and Alita: Battle Angel star Ed Skrein. Djimon Hounsou, known for Amistad and his roles in both the MCU and DCU, will play one of Belisarius’ generals, General Titus.

The film has also reunited Snyder with Ray Fisher, who portrayed Cyborg in the DCU. In Rebel Moon, Fisher is playing a character named Blood Ax, who appears to be a warrior, though further details haven’t been revealed. Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins will also appear in the series as the voice of Jimmy, a sentient robot. Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam is set to star in an undisclosed lead role in the film and was giving off serious Green Arrow vibes in the first-look footage.

Also appearing in undisclosed roles are Ant-Man and Many Saints of Newark star Corey Stoll and Jena Malone, who previously worked with Snyder on Sucker Punch.

Most details about Rebel Moon‘s characters are being kept tightly under wraps. Even the sneak peek gave few clues about the project, as it only offers clear first looks at Hunnam, Hounsou, and Boutella. However, the cast is very expansive and additionally includes Cleopatra Coleman, Fra Fee, Carry Elwes, Stuart Martin, Alfonso Herrera, Michiel Huisman, and Doona Bae, among others.

The crew

Director Zack Snyder attends a ceremony honoring Batman creator Bob Kane with the 2,562nd star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 21, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
(Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images)

In addition to reuniting with some of the actors he’s worked with over the years, Snyder is reuniting with some of his fellow screenwriters and producers for Rebel Moon. Joining Snyder on the screenplay are Army of the Dead and Army of Thieves writer Shay Hatten and 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad. Longtime Snyder collaborators Deborah Snyder and Wesley Coller are credited as producers. Needless to say, Snyder has a lot of close confidants and like-minded filmmakers, writers, and producers on his team, which bodes well for making his Rebel Moon vision a reality.

The plot of Rebel Moon

Rebel Moon concept art from Zack Snyder

The official Netflix synopsis for Rebel Moon reads:

A peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy is threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Belisarius. The desperate civilians dispatch a young woman who has a mysterious past to seek out warriors from nearby planets to help them challenge the regent.

While there aren’t a lot of details in the synopsis, it is expected that Rebel Moon will be a rather complex story. After all, Snyder expects it to lay the foundation for an entire film universe. Hence, Rebel Moon may serve as more of an origin story to introduce viewers to its main cast of characters and their universe. In addition to a very large cast, the special effects are expected to be pretty elaborate, with concept art showing multiple different worlds, armies of soldiers, robots, and even a character who looks a lot like Hellraiser‘s Pinhead. As in Star Wars, there will likely be many different planets, species, and droids in Rebel Moon.

Teasing his expansive world-building, Snyder stated, “I’ve spent the last two or three years building out this universe. Every corner has to be painted in. I’ve been doing designs, constantly drawing and really cultivating its fertile ground to make this world fully realized.”

Rebel Moon first-look footage

Rebel Moon does not yet have an official trailer, but it did receive a very brief teaser in Netflix’s 2023 films preview. The teaser starts at 2:01 in the below video.

The brief clip shows a ship landing on a deserted-looking planet, before cutting to Hounsou’s frightening General Titus, who urges his men to “show them no mercy.” Both Boutella and Hunnam’s characters can also be glimpsed. They are seen wielding guns and getting in on the action as a war seemingly breaks out. The clip is just enough to give us a sense of Rebel Moon‘s world-building, special effects, and action-packed premise.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.