Why Rebel Moon was rejected as a Star Wars movie, and how it ended up on Netflix

If you think Rebel Moon looks a bit like a Star Wars movie, that's because it was meant to be one.

The first trailer for Zack Snyder's new sci-fi epic on Netflix landed this week ahead of its release on December 22, sparking comparisons between the movie and George Lucas' space opera.

Come on: rebels fighting a cruel empire to save the galaxy? Even with Snyder's dark, ceremonious filmmaking style all over it, it's easy to see some strong similarities.

What's interesting is the fact that Rebel Moon could have been officially part of the Star Wars saga, before becoming one of Netflix's biggest planned releases in 2023.

However, things didn't turn out as Snyder expected — maybe for the best.

Why Zack Snyder's Star Wars movie was rejected by Lucasfilm

sofia boutella, djimon hounsou, rebel moon

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Zack Snyder had an idea for a Star Wars movie. "It was Seven Samurai in space," he told Empire. "And a Star Wars movie was my original concept for it."

As we know, that never really happened. But why?

According to Snyder, he wouldn't have been able to enact his original concept under the constraints of Lucasfilm, which had just been bought out by Disney in 2012.

After all, his idea didn't include any famous characters from George Lucas' beloved movies, instead focusing on unknown new heroes and a story detached from the Skywalker saga.

"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 explained.

Eventually, it was clear Snyder's ambitious idea didn't have a place within the franchise, which was heading towards a much more nostalgic direction, as proved by the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens a few years later.

"I knew it was a big ask, to be honest. But the deeper I got into it, I realised it was probably never going to be what I wanted."

How Rebel Moon became Zack Snyder's unofficial Star Wars movie

doona bae, michiel huisman, rebel moon

After collaborating on the zombie movie Army of the Dead and its prequel, Army of Thieves, Zack Snyder and Netflix reunited again for Rebel Moon.

The idea was there, why let it to go to waste?

The connections to the Star Wars movies are still there —Akira Kurosawa's movies being a big inspiration, as well as themes of rebellion, heroism and camaraderie — but it's also the start of something different.

Rebel Moon is not just a movie, but the intended start of a new universe on Netflix.

The first movie, A Child of Fire, will be followed by a second part, titled The Scargiver, already confirmed for 2024.

"He has a way bigger universe in mind, even beyond the first two films," producer Eric Newman explained during a Hollywood Hills preview event for the film (via Polygon).

"World creation is a really hard thing. There are a very small handful of filmmakers who could pull it off."

During the event, Snyder revealed he has planned this brand-new world down to the tiniest detail, producing between 3,000 and 4,000 pieces of art defining the franchise's visual look.

What is Rebel Moon about, and when will it be released on Netflix?

doona bae, rebel moon

Rebel Moon: Part One will be available on Netflix from December 22, 2023, while Part Two will be released a few months after, on April 19, 2024.

The movie follows Kora (played by Sofia Boutella) as she assembles a group of warriors to battle the corrupt government of the Mother World, an oppressive force that is terrorising the galaxy.

Kora is a former member of the Imperium, now seeking redemption for her past.

"Tasked with finding trained fighters who will unite with her in making an impossible stand against the Mother World, Kora assembles a small band of warriors — outsiders, insurgents, peasants and orphans of war from different worlds who share a common need for redemption and revenge," reads the official synopsis.

"As the shadow of an entire Realm bears down on the unlikeliest of moons, a battle over the fate of a galaxy is waged, and in the process, a new army of heroes is formed."

Alongside Boutella, the cast of Rebel Moon includes Djimon Honsou, Charlie Hunnam, Michael Huisman, Staz Nair, Ray Fisher, Jena Malone, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes, Corey Stoll and Stuart Martin.

Rebel Moon: Part One will be released on Netflix on December 22, Part Two: The Scargiver will premiere April 19, 2024.

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