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‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ Trailer: Luc Besson Is Back With The Sci-Fi Epic He Was Born to Make — Watch

The ambitious $180 million French feature wants to make action stars out of Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Will it work?

"Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets"

“Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets”

The way French blockbuster auteur Luc Besson tells it, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is the film he was born to make.

The “Lucy” and “The Professional” filmmaker’s latest feature is based on the French sci-fi comics series “Valérian and Laureline,” written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. It was a childhood favorite of Besson, one that was originally distributed as two-page panels in the weekly magazine “Pilote.”

READ MORE: Why French Cinema Faces an Uncertain Future in America

Even the visionary Besson thought the story, complete with a slew of complex alien creatures and space-set locations, was impossible to make. Then technology caught up with him, allowing him to bring his beloved vision to life. But it didn’t come cheap.

The ambitious $180 million production bowed its latest trailer at this week’s CinemaCon to a mostly appreciative audience filled with theater owners and press. The film follows a pair of “spatio-temporal agents,” played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, who are charged with keeping the peace across the universe. When a mysterious force threatens the so-called “city of a thousand planets,” Alpha, they’re called in to help.

READ MORE: Luc Besson: ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ Is ‘Vengeance’ Against Low-Tech ‘The Fifth Element’

The newest trailer opens on a desert planet that fans of “Star Wars” will likely instantly gravitate towards, complete with a laid-back and smirking DeHaan and his partner Delevingne (in the books, a hero in her own right). Even while threatened by plenty of menacing creatures — and Besson promised lots of creatures — the spirit and tone remains light and fun, no heavy stuff here.

But once we are introduced to Alpha and its out-of-nowhere battle, things hedge towards the more dangerous, and the action ratchets way up. So does the ambition, with aliens and settings reminiscent of “Avatar” and space-set action that should enthrall “Valerian” fans and sci-fi lovers alike. Earlier this week, Besson told a group of journalists that he could easily assemble a whole new trailer without duplicating a shot — but what’s on the table already is certainly bold enough.

Check out the film’s newest trailer below.

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” opens July 21 in theaters nationwide.

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