That's no moon! It's 2! Netflix space opera 'Rebel Moon' will come in 2 installments: report

Sofia Boutella stars in "Rebel Moon"
Sofia Boutella stars in "Rebel Moon" (Image credit: Netflix)

That's no moon. It's two moons!

With its former DNA firmly rooted in the legends and lore of "Star Wars," "Rebel Moon," is a highly-anticipated original Netflix sci-fi project coming from director Zack Snyder ("Watchmen," "Man of Steel," "Justice League") that is already looking to be one of the best sci-fi movies of 2023.

In an interview with Vanity Fair this past week, Snyder revealed more details about his "Seven Samurai"-inspired saga that will be split ala Denis Villeneuve's "Dune."

"Rebel Moon" began life as a sprawling "Star Wars" movie pitch over ten years ago before Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, with Snyder co-writing the epic script with Shay Hatten and Kurt Johnstad. 

The evolution of "Rebel Moon's" screenplay took a decided turn once Lucasfilm was bought by the House of Mouse, being stripped of any links or references to the "Star Wars" universe and shifting to its own enterprise with a promise of becoming a profitable long-lasting franchise for interested parties.

Promotional art for "Rebel Moon." (Image credit: Netflix)

The David vs. Goliath storyline revolves around Kora, a young Rey Skywalker-like warrior who strikes out on a recruitment quest visiting nearby planets to round up an imposing team of mercenary soldiers that will hopefully provide protection for her remote farming outpost of Veldt from the aggressions of the Imperium's Regent Balisarius and his heartless enforcer, Admiral Noble.

So far the ensemble cast includes Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Doona Bae, Ray Fisher, Michiel Huisman, Jena Malone, Staz Nair, Charlotte Maggi, and Sky Yang.

Concept art for Zack Snyder's "Rebel Moon." (Image credit: Netflix)

"I'm a glutton for punishment. I don't know why I always make an ensemble movie. I can't wait to not do that. But in the meantime, of course … I love it," Snyder says in the Vanity Fair interview. "This movie was me going, 'Of course it's a space opera, but let's not lens it that way. Let's lens it in a more intimate way, so that the sci-fi elements feel more grounded.' We're not always saying, 'Look at how big our spaceships are or how weird our planets look!' That happens, but it happens as an organic part of the world you're in. You're there, and so the things you see on that journey are not forced upon you or spoon-fed to you."

Besides the movie being aired in two parts, there will also be two distinct editions of "Rebel Moon," with an extended director's cut scoring a longer runtime with more explicit violence and mature themes offered.

"I think for fans of mine and people who are ready to take a deeper, harder dive, that'll be fun for them," Snyder adds.

Djimon Hounsou co-stars in "Rebel Moon." (Image credit: Netflix)

This ambitious interstellar romp will be produced by Snyder and his spouse Deborah Snyder alongside Wesley Coller and their production shingle, The Stone Quarry. Eric Newman and Sarah Bowen's Grand Electric are attached as executive producers.

Netflix's "Rebel Moon Part 1" is slated to be released on December 22, 2023.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.