Luc Besson and Dane Dehaan on the Epic Sci-Fi of ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’

     July 25, 2016

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I absolutely love The Fifth Element. Since its release in the late ‘90s, I’ve been patiently waiting for director Luc Besson to make another big sci-fi movie. Sure Lucy is a lot of fun…but I’m talking about world creation. Aliens. Epic action. Other planets. The type of stuff you can only do in the movies when you have a large budget mixed with a visionary director.

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Image via EuropaCorp

Which brings us to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Based on the French comic series by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières, the story tells the adventures of a dark-haired spatio-temporal agent (Dane DeHaan) and his colleague (Cara Delevingne) as they travel through space and time across the universe. Valerian also stars Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, John Goodman, Herbie Hancock and Kris Wu.

While I’ve been optimistic that Valerian would be a cool movie, at this year’s Comic-Con I was able to see five unfinished clips from the film and they absolutely blew me away. It looks much better than expected, especially for a film that Besson only recently wrapped shooting and with a year of post-production left before its July 21st, 2017 release date!


The great thing about the clips was the way everything looked lived in and real. Yes people were wearing weird looking costumes, but the details in the production design and the way people reacted to spaceships and crazy weapons just seemed so normal. Besson looks to have crafted his own Avatar and filled it with tons of great looking creatures and worlds, and I really cannot wait to see the film when it’s done.

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Image via EuropaCorp

Before seeing the footage, I got to speak with Luc Besson and Dane Dehaan.  They talked about how they first met, making Valerian, how the movie is 20% humans and 80% aliens, the insane amount of VFX shots, future sequels, and so much more.

However, before getting to the interview, here’s the official synopsis. Below the interview you can also watch Perri and I talk about the Valerian footage.

“Rooted in the classic graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline- visionary writer/director Luc Besson advances this iconic source material into a contemporary, unique and epic science fiction saga. 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.”


luc-besson-valerianLuc Besson and Dane Dehaan:

  • How he’s been developing Valerian for a very long time but was waiting for the effects to catch up to what he wanted to do.
  • Dehaan talks about how he first met Besson for the role.
  • Besson talk about casting Dehaan and how he knew he was the right person for the role.
  • Dehaan talks about the story of Valerian.
  • Besson says the movie is 20% humans and 80% aliens. He reveals most of the aliens are played by actors via motion capture.
  • Any Fifth Element Easter eggs in Valerian?
  • Talks about where they are in the editing process. Reveals the film has over 2,700 VFX shots!
  • Dehaan talks about how every day they had something crazy to film.
  • Besson really wants to make sequels if the first one is a success.
  • Besson talks about the worldwide success of Lucy and how it was a big surprise.

Here’s Perri and I talking about the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets footage at Comic-Con 2016:

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Image via EuropaCorp


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