You could never accuse Zack Snyder of taking the easy road. Throughout his career, the filmmaker has made a habit of facing up to Herculean tasks – whether being the person to finally unite the Justice League on screen, or to successfully adapt Alan Moore’s master-work Watchmen, or take on a reinvention of Dawn Of The Dead as his first feature film. But all of that pales in comparison to Rebel Moon. For his next project, Snyder is cooking up a whole new universe – quite literally – in a multi-part sci-fi blowout. And while it draws from several significant cinematic touchstones, its signature is all Snyder’s own.
“I feel like this movie is an accumulation of everything he’s done thus far,” producer Deborah Snyder tells Empire in our world-exclusive Rebel Moon cover feature. “There’s so much to it, and so much thought in the production design and the languages and the characters.” It’s easy to agree. Rebel Moon looks to have a similarly expansive plan to his DC ‘Snyder-verse’, this story already split across two movies with plans for more to come. As a sci-fi war story, expect similarly burly, imaginative action as Army Of The Dead and Sucker Punch. And for sheer, ambitious world-building? Well, Snyder has long been flexing that muscle, building it up across his whole career.
Taking inspiration from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Rebel Moon sees a group of galactic heroes – including Sofia Boutella’s Kora, Charlie Hunnam’s Kai, Djimon Hounsou’s General Titus, Doona Bae’s Nemesis and more – band together to help the peaceful moon of Veldt stave off the demands of the evil Imperium. In particular, Ed Skrein’s Admiral Atticus Noble. Split across Part One and Part Two, Snyder is able to let his story breathe. “If we cut it down to one movie, we pretty much know how that goes. By page 15 we’re on the road. With a recruitment movie, trust me, I know,” he laughs, acknowledging his own history of assembling ensemble casts. The difference between a single three-hour cut and the two-part approach will be felt. “There are no surprises in that [single] movie,” says the writer-director. “Four hours is a whole different kettle of fish.”
If Part One will be about getting the band together (with all the action you’d expect from a Snyder joint), then expect an even more explosive Part Two. That, says Zack Snyder, is “the war movie, like a Normandy invasion film, but with the first hour in France.” Except, France is now, well, space. Most importantly, the two-part scope will allow time to establish the cast of characters, and the significant stakes for all involved when it comes to standing up to the Imperium. “It’s very much a movie about, ‘What would you sacrifice yourself for?’” poses Snyder. “Everyone’s a little bit broken, but there’s a real catharsis in the journey.” The rebellion begins here.
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.