Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a 2017 English language French 3D space opera movie, written and directed by Luc Besson, and co-produced by Besson and his wife, Virginie Besson-Silla. The movie is based on the French science fiction comic series Valerian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mezieres. Take a look below for 27 more fun and fascinating facts about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
1. The movie stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu and Rutger Hauer in supporting roles.
2. Luc Besson independently crowd-sourced and personally funded Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
3. With a production budget of around $180 million, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is both most expensive non-American and independent movie ever made.
4. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, who criticized the plot and some of the casting, but praised the visuals.
5. It grossed $225 million worldwide, but due to its high production and advertising costs, it was considered a commercial failure following its release in the United States.
6. There are 200 different alien species in the movie. Luc Besson wrote a 600 page book describing in detail all the species. The actors had to read that book prior to filming so they could adjust their acting, depending on the species they were interacting with.
7. The Welcoming Captain were all director and writers that director Luc Besson had worked with.
8. The first two trailers use the song “Because’ by The Beatles. It was the very first time a film director could obtain the rights for using a Beatles song in a movie advertisement. Permission was granted by Paul McCartney.
9. When Valerian is in Big Market and a wanted notice is released, the bounty hunter tha follows Valerian is at a bar named Korben’s. Korben Dallas is the name of the character that Bruce Willis played in director Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.
10. After suffering a record loss of $135 million in the previous year, EuropaCorp had set its hopes on Valerian to turn in a much-needed profit. However, after the commercial failure of the movie and a subsequent drop in company stocks of over 40%, deputy CEO Edouard de Vesinne was forced to step down from his position.
11. Director Luc Besson waived his own salary in order to get the movie made, which was a life-long passion project of his.
12. During the “Welcoming” scenes at the beginning of the movie, one alien species being greeted are the “Mondoshawan.” This species first appeared in The Fifth Element, which was also directed by Luc Besson.
13. Luc Besson chose not to shoot the movie in 3D since 3D cameras are too heavy for his style of filming, like running behind an actor or unusual angles of filming.
14. Luc Besson deliberately chose to shoot the movie, which is an adaption of a French comic, in English with English-speaking actors in order to raise its chances of a wider audience.
15. Luc Besson first premiered some footage of the movie at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. The footage received a standing ovation from the crowd in Hall H.
16. The main storyline is loosely based on “Ambassador of Shadows,” the sixth album in the comic book series. This was also the first Valerian story to be translated in English.
17. The ship’s computer, Alex, reports on Alpha One details over the 400 years since leaving Earth’s orbit, in which it has traveled over 700 million miles. This puts it just past Jupiter at a speed of 200 miles per hour.
18. Rutger Hauer received top billing despite having less than one minute of screen time. Luc Besson asked him to be in the movie as a homage to Blade Runner and its director, Ridley Scott, who is a friend of Besson.
19. The Mul Converter creature in the movie functions the same way in the Ambassador of Shadows comic story, but it has no connection to the aliens Pearls of Mul. Laureline is given the creature so she and Valerian would be able to help the Earth representative with the negotiations, by producing the differing currencies used by the aliens.
20. The Pearls of Mul were an unidentified alien humanoid species in the original comic story. Unlike the creatures in the movie, their skin color was red and black in the comic.
21. Although most spaceships in most science fiction movies never display their make, the skyjet used by Valerian clearly showed the Lexus emblem on its front grill during the chase of the Pearls pod scene.
22. Early in the Big Market mission, Laureline waves at the Kyrian alien guard in the tower with a Vulcan salute, from Star Trek, before shooting and stunning him.
23. Cara Delevingne worked out for several months to get in shape for her role as Laureline.
24. The word “mul” means “water” in Korean, and the Pearls of Mul are a semi-aquatic species.
25. After production was completed, Cara Delevingne auditioned for and became a frontrunner for the lead role in the Lara Croft movie Tomb Raider, but she lost out to Alicia Vikander.
26. The song “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio was prominently used in the marketing campaign for the movie. An orchestral version of the song can be heard in the trailer.
27. Rihanna’s character, Bubble, offers Valerian the poetry of Verlaine or Rimbaud, then quotes a line from Paul Verlaine’s poem “A Poor Young Shepherd”; “I’m afraid of a kiss, like the kiss of a bee.”