A long time ago, Zack Snyder might have joined the galaxy far, far away. As the director embarked on his tumultuous journey with DC, another possible landmark saga was calling his name – and while it never came to fruition, his idea for a Star Wars movie eventually became his upcoming Rebel Moon, an original, multi-part sci-fi epic. If it’s evolved in the intervening years since Snyder first pitched it to Lucasfilm while in post-production on Man Of Steel, the initial idea remains the same. “It was Seven Samurai in space,” he tells Empire in our world-exclusive Rebel Moon cover story. “And a Star Wars movie was my original concept for it.”
While Snyder’s conception of a Star Wars film overtly homaging the works that inspired George Lucas was a compelling concept (“I knew that the origins for George were a lot of those Kurosawa films,” says the director), there were many reasons why Rebel Moon never panned out as part of cinema’s most famous space-opera. “The sale [of Lucasfilm to Disney] had just happened,” says Snyder. “There was that window where, you know, who knows what’s possible? I was like, ‘I don’t want any of your characters. I don’t want to do anything with any known characters, I just want to do my own thing on the side.’ And originally I was like, ‘It should be rated R!’ That was almost a non-starter.”
A decade later, Snyder has developed his original tale, and is getting to make it exactly how he sees it. “I knew it was a big ask, to be honest,” he says of making the film within the Star Wars galaxy. “But the deeper I got into it, I realised it was probably never going to be what I wanted.” Instead, he’s conjuring up his own universe across multiple movies – which, after initially releasing on Netflix in family-friendly cuts, will get harder-edged R-leaning versions too. Talk about a happy ending.
Read Empire’s world-exclusive Rebel Moon cover story – speaking to Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, and their cast including Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Ray Fisher, Ed Skrein, and E. Duffy – in the upcoming August 2023 issue, on sale Thursday 6 July. Become an Empire member to access the digital edition in full on launch day, or pre-order a print copy online now here. Rebel Moon comes to Netflix on 22 December.