Fans will need to watch the R-rated version of Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon because, according to one of the movie's main actors, the PG-13 cut contains one specific problem.
However, the first cut that was released (which is rated PG-13) will not be the only version of the film to be on the streamer, as it was confirmed that a longer R-rated director's cut will be coming in the future.
Why Fans Need to Watch Rebel Moon's R-Rated Cut
In an interview with The Movie Podcast, Rebel Moon actor Ed Skrein (who portrayed the villainous Atticus Noble in the film) was asked about his character's ruthlessness.
Skrein began by stating that his character in the sci-fi epic does not have any "fluffy edges," and that he and writer/director Zack Snyder set out to create a character who is not "TV-friendly:"
"I don't think I've ever gone this far, you know. Zack didn't want any of the fluffy edges, he didn't write it with any soft edges. This is like, 'We're really going to show you what the enemy looks like, and we're not going to make this TV-friendly.'"
The Atticus Noble actor then teased that the upcoming R-rated version of Rebel Moon: Part One will showcase his character in a more "brutal" manner, saying that it will be as if his past antagonist roles were "on steroids" and "turned up to level 3,000:"
"Even in the PG-13 [cut] its brutal, and you're really going to get to know Atticus Noble and what he's really like in the R-rated versions. I think that if anyone has ever enjoyed any of my antagonists in the past, then this is like they're on steroids. This is it turned up to level 3000."
Skrein's co-star, Sofia Boutella, who plays Kora in Part One, then jumped in and also revealed that fans will have to watch the R-rated cut because "there are more elements" in it about Atticus that aren't in the PG-13 cut:
"And there are more elements in the rated R [cut] that you'll find out about Noble that you have no notion of in movie number one, and that's the beauty of Zack's cut."
Boutella also revealed that the PG-13 cut includes "Easter eggs about those elements," but never fully displays them. If fans want to see Noble's true motivations and character, they will "have to watch the rated R [cut]:"
"And there are Easter eggs about those elements in the PG-13 [cut], but then when you watch [the] rated R [cut] its like, 'Oh, that's what (Skrein) meant when you said that, because you do that.' But you have to watch the rated R [cut] to understand."
While it will be exciting for some to see more of Atticus Noble at his most menacing, this idea does pose a major problem for the PG-13 cut of Rebel Moon.
Many fans have already watched the film on Netflix and will never revisit it or press play on the R-rated version, so they will never get to see the character of Atticus Noble as Zack Snyder fully intended.
In other words, it is almost counterproductive to include so much important information about Atticus Noble in a director's cut that won't be viewed by the majority of the audience.
Skrein also talked about how "scared" he was to see the R-rated version of his character, revealing that when he was able to see the director's cut he "[didn't] recognize" himself:
"Yeah, I'm scared. I literally sat there in the screening room and I watched it, I was like, 'I don't recognize this person, it doesn't feel like me, like, he kind of looks like me, but..."
The actor then talked about how Snyder was ultimately "unapologetic" when creating the rated-R version of Atticus Noble, also noting that he "can't remember seeing an antagonist be pushed" as far as Noble was in Part One:
"I can't remember seeing an antagonist be pushed this far. You know, we've seen incredible antagonists, but again, just unapologetic, pushing it all the way. So yeah, I think me and Zack are a dangerous combination in that regard, we kind of push each other like kids in the playground."
Is Rebel Moon's R-Rated Cut a Mistake?
Zack Snyder tends to release standard editions of films that are harshly criticized to only later come back with a director's cut that seems as though it contains all of the important pieces that were missing in the first place (see Batman v Superman, Justice League, and Watchmen).
Snyder already talked about the upcoming R-rated director's cut of Rebel Moon, revealing that he "shot scenes" that were only meant for that specific version:
"And with Netflix, we shot scenes just for the director’s cut. So in that way, it’s really a revelation because it gives that second kick at the can for big fans, like a real discovery that they would not [otherwise] get."
While many films director's cuts work, the information fans know about Rebel Moon's seems nothing short of worrisome.
If audiences need to watch the extended edition just to completely understand the villain, that is a bit of a problem and partially explains some of the criticisms viewers had of the film.
With Snyder also revealing that some scenes were shot only for the director's cut, it almost makes that edition seem as though it is an entirely different film, especially since it will be around an hour longer than the standard cut.
If Rebel Moon needs certain R-rated scenes in it to be understood, then Netflix and Snyder should have made a deal for the standard edition to be R-rated instead of relying on a director's cut that a fraction of the audience will sit down and watch.
At the end of the day, chopping up the final product so that there can be an R-rated director's cut seems like a mistake. Perhaps in the future, those problems can be worked through, which could lead to a better overall final product.
Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire is available to stream on Netflix.