After time working on the DCEU, Zack Snyder is back with a brand-new sci-fi epic in Rebel Moon.
Snyder's Rebel Moon duology is set to begin streaming on Netflix, offering up a big-budget space opera the likes of which have never been seen before on the service.
Fans got their first look at the film thanks to a recently released trailer, giving a glimpse at the epic action, gripping dog fights, and (yes) even laser swords set to appear in Snyder's intergalactic adventure.
So, with Part 1 of the Rebel Moon saga set to debut on Netflix soon, here is everything we know about the upcoming film:
When Is Rebel Moon Releasing?
Rebel Moon will debut on Netflix on December 22.
This comes after years of development (dating all the way back to 2012), an initial pitch as a TV series, and a lengthy shooting schedule that lasted over 150 days.
The December 22 streaming release date will come after a limited theatrical release for the film. Details of the theatrical release have not been outlined, other than the fact that it is happening.
Speaking to Polygon (via ScreenRant) in August 2023, Zack Snyder said he "was not super interested in a theatrical release," possibly revealing why a wide theatrical run is not on the cards for the movie:
"With this, I was not super interested in a theatrical release, especially with the PG-13 versus extended cuts. I feel like with the theatrical release, the way the model is, it takes some energy out of it.”
Snyder's previous Netflix movie, Army of the Dead, had a limited run in theaters a week before its streaming debut.
If Rebel Moon were to follow suit with the same limited-release strategy, fans in select US cities can expect to see the film in theaters on Friday, December 15.
Is Rebel Moon a Two-Part Movie?
As it stands, Rebel Moon is set to be a two-part movie. The first part, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire, will debut on Netflix this December, with the second part coming on April 19, 2024, titled Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver.
According to Rebel Moon producer Deborah Snyder (speaking in a June 2023 interview with Vanity Fair), the film was initially conceived by her husband Zack as "one movie:"
"Originally, the script was one movie, but it was in ‘Zack form. It was 172 pages. [Chairman of Netflix Films, Scott] Stuber was like, ‘On the service, under-two-hour movies really do better for some reason,’ even though you’ll binge-watch a series of eight episodes.
However, the script was deemed much too long for Netflix's typical two-hour ceiling. So instead of cutting it down, Snyder asked, "What if I give you two movies:"
"Zack said, ‘If you ask me to make this less than two hours, I’m going to lose all the character. You won’t care about these people. It’s a character story about how people can change, and redemption, and what are you willing to fight for… So he said, ‘What if I give you two movies?'"
Along with the two films, the Rebel Moon story will also continue as a part of a video game from developer Super Evil Megacorp.
While details remain scarce, Netflix previously announced it is planning for the Rebel Moon franchise to be a trilogy, with Snyder saying to The Hollywood Reporter, "My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out."
Who Is Cast in Rebel Moon?
Given the massive scale of Rebel Moon, the film warrants an ensemble worthy of its operatic story.
The film's cast includes familiar faces like Anthony Hopkins and Charlie Hunnam, as well as some newer names for fans to ogle over.
Here is who to expect in the cast of Rebel Moon:
Sofia Boutella - Kora
Star Trek: Beyond and The Mummy actress Sofia Boutella plays Rebel Moon's main character Kora. Kora is a former member of the tyrannical Imperium who recruits a team of warriors to fight the dastardly regime and stop their reign over the galaxy. Seeing as Kora has first-hand experience working for the Imperium, she knows just how badly they need to be stopped.
Djimon Hounsou - General Titus
General Titus is played by Guardians of the Galaxy and Gran Turismo star Djimon Hounsou. Titus is a war general whose best days are behind him but joins Kora's cause after seeing the catalytic nature the young hero has over people, helping to stop the Imperium from ravaging the galaxy.
Charlie Hunnam - Kai
Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of the Anarchy fame) plays Kai. Kai is a pilot working alongside Kora in her effort to take down the Imperium. This Han Solo-esque figure is a gun for hire before meeting Kora, joining her resistance and providing transportation for this ragtag bunch of freedom fighters.
Ed Skrein - Admiral Atticus Noble
Serving as one of Rebel Moon's primary antagonists is Ed Skrein's Admiral Atticus Noble. Atticus serves the mysterious Balisarius, the leader of the tyrannical regime known as the Imperium. Atticus Noble was initially set to be played by Homeland's Rupert Friend, but the actor backed out due to a scheduling conflict, with Skrein stepping into the role.
Other Rebel Moon characters include:
- Fra Fee - Regent Balisarius
- Michiel Huisman - Gunnar
- Staz Nair - Tarak
- Doona Bae - Nemesis
- Ray Fisher - Darrian Bloodaxe
- Cleopatra Coleman - Devra Bloodaxe
- E. Duffy - Milius
- Anthony Hopkins - Jimmy
- Jena Malone - Harmada
Is Rebel Moon a Star Wars Movie?
Rebel Moon is not a Star Wars movie but wears its Lucasian influences proudly on its sleeve.
Back in 2012, shortly after Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars brand, Zack Snyder pitched what would become Rebel Moon to the studio as a more mature take on the galaxy far, far away.
On his pitch to Lucasfilm, Snyder told Empire, "I just want[ed] to do my own thing on the side" of the Star Wars universe, without any characters or stories seen before in the franchise:
“The sale [of Lucasfilm to Disney] had just happened. 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.”
He continued, "The deeper I got into it" the more it became clear "it was probably never going to be what I wanted:"
“But the deeper I got into it, I realised it was probably never going to be what I wanted.”
Snyder's Star Wars movie was described by the director (via Digital Spy) as "Seven Samurai in space."
At a Rebel Moon press junket (as transcribed by /Film) Eric Newman (Synder's producing partner) remembered hearing that first idea for the rejected Star Wars concept, with Snyder eventually calling him back years later saying "F*** Star Wars! Let’s do this:"
“I remember [Zack] calling me at some point, and this has got to be 15 years ago, saying, ‘I’m thinking of doing Seven Jedi, in the ‘Star Wars’ universe.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a cool idea.’ […] Then, a few years later, he calls me and goes, ‘You know, I think it could be a television show.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, let’s do this! F*** ‘Star Wars!’ Let’s do this as a TV show.'”
In the same junket, Deborah Snyder revealed "never wanted it to be [a Star Wars movie]," telling her husband, "I just feel like your hands are going to be tied so much in what that IP:"
“Once, it was a ‘Star Wars’ film, and I never wanted it to be. I remember, I said to Zack, ‘I just feel like your hands are going to be tied so much in what that IP is,’ even though it kind of lived outside of it. So I was kind of happy when that fell apart, because I always felt like it was better.
She added they "learned so much with all [the] years working with [DC]," and it was "really exciting" to do something "that's wholly original:"
“We learned so much with all our years working with the superheroes and creating those worlds, and to do something now that’s wholly original… we say it’s a science fantasy more than science fiction, and to take all those skills that Zack has been honing, and to do something in this space, just seemed really exciting.”
After Snyder's Star Wars pitch fell through, the director shopped his mature sci-fi tale to Warner Bros., before ultimately ending up landing at Netflix.
Is Rebel Moon Based Off A Book?
Rebel Moon is a wholly new world created by Zack Snyder and is not based on any existing source material.
While it takes influence from the classic samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, Star Wars, and the 1971 anthology film Heavy Metal, this is a brand-new world, universe, and on-screen mythology devised by Snyder and his writing partners.
The film will see Kora, a young former Imperium soldier, rally a team of resistance fighters to take down the tyrannical intergalactic regime that has the galaxy in a stranglehold.
In her journey to recruit her team of warriors, Kora will likely engage in plenty of firefights, political intrigue, and an epic space battle or two.
Will Rebel Moon Be R Rated?
When Rebel Moon Part One hits Netflix on December 22, it will not be R-rated, instead being PG-13 in its initial run on the service. However, an R-rated cut is coming.
As first revealed by Rebel Moon audio mixer Andy Koyama in a conversation with SlashFilm, "there's also going to be extended R-rated versions of each of the two films" coming after their initial release:
"We just did the first temp mix for the preview of part one, and it's very exciting. It's a big, huge, space — they probably don't want me to say this — 'Star Wars'-y, 'rebels against the evil empire' thing over all sorts of different worlds. It's really fun. There's going to be two films. I think we're mixing that from June to February. And there's also going to be extended R-rated versions of each of the two films, so we're going to be mixing four different features."
The R-rated director's cuts will come with "close to an hour of extra content," according to Zack Snyder (via Netflix's Tudum blog), who branded these as the "legitimate extended universe version:"
“The director’s cut is close to an hour of extra content, so I think it’s a legitimate extended universe version. You really get to see a lot. It’s just more painted-in all the way. The director’s [cut] is a settle-in deep dive, which I have notoriously done throughout my career. I don’t know how I got into this director’s cut thing, but what I will say about it is that, for me, the director’s cuts have always been something I had to fight for in the past and nobody wanted it. It was this bastard child that I was always trying to put together because they felt like there was a deeper 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.”
Seeing as the R-rated Heavy Metal anthology was a key inspiration for Rebel Moon, it seems fitting the film will get a platform to show off some of its more mature subject matter, while also releasing a cut of the movie for everybody to enjoy.
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire comes to Netflix on December 22.