While we’ll have to wait and see if audiences respond to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which is the most expensive French movie in history, filmmaker Luc Besson is already preparing for multiple sequels. While promoting his upcoming sci-fi adaptation, hitting theaters July 21, the writer-director revealed that he has already finished writing a Valerian sequel, and he’s even started working on a third movie. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say, when asked about the potential for sequels, although he still doesn’t know if they’ll ever get made.
“I finished the number two already and I’m writing the number three. I don’t know if we will do it, because it’s not up to me. It’s up to the audience if they like it. But my friends are saying, ‘Why are you writing the second one? You don’t even know if you’re going to do it?’ I don’t care, it’s fine. I’m just happy to write it. I’m enjoying writing it. So I don’t even wait. I’m just writing for myself. I finished the [sequel] already, then I [got] bored a month ago, so I said ‘let’s write the third.'”
The director’s comments came during an interview with Nerdist, and while he wouldn’t divulge any specifics about the story for these sequels, there is certainly plenty to mine from. The movie is based on the Valerian and Laureline comics by writers Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières, which were first published in 1970, and with over 20 different stories published, there is certainly no shortage of stories to be adapted for the big screen. When asked about how fun the universe is to visit as a writer, Luc Besson teases that he could write 15 of these sequels, just for fun.
“Oh, it’s so gorgeous. I can write like 15 of them, just for fun.”
Since this first Valerian movie reportedly cost more than $200 million to produce, it will likely have to be a huge hit just to warrant a sequel. It’s worth noting that the Valerian Chinese release date has been delayed, due to the country’s annual Hollywood summer blackout, where it doesn’t allow any American movies to be released between the end of June and the end of August. This policy was put in place years ago to give local films a chance to flourish during the Chinese school summer break, but that blackout was lifted early last year, due to underperforming Chinese movies. It’s possible the blackout could be lifted early again, but if it doesn’t, it could prove to be quite costly for movies like Valerian.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets centers on Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner- blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him. Valerian will have its work cut out for it this weekend, going up against the World War II thriller Dunkirk and the R-rated comedy Girls Trip. Hopefully we’ll find out more about the future of this franchise in the near future.