Rebel Moon 2 Ending: Zack Snyder Explains the Big Deaths and Part 3 Cliffhanger

Zack Snyder breaks down the ending of his two-part sci-fi epic, Rebel Moon.

Rebel Moon 2
Photo: Netflix

This Rebel Moon article contains spoilers.

Like Star Wars before it, and Dune earlier this year, Zack Snyder‘s two-part space epic Rebel Moon ends with the defeat of an evil Empire. At least a temporary one. While Kora (Sofia Boutella) and the rest of the heroes have defended the moon of Veldt from Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein) and his dreadnought, the Imperium still stands, presumably ready to strike back in a future movie.

Balisarius (Fra Fee) is still emperor and Kora still has unfinished business with her treacherous father figure. And in Part 2: The Scargiver, we also learn Princess Issa (Stella Grace Fitzgerald) may still be alive. It’s a new hope for a galaxy stuck in a vicious circle of endless wars. Rebel Moon ends with this revelation, planting the seed for Kora’s next quest were Netflix to green light a third part of the brutal sci-fi saga.

“It hasn’t been announced, but I’m optimistic” is all director Zack Snyder will offer when we ask him whether Part 3 is officially a go. In the meantime, he did spend a few minutes breaking down not only the ending of The Scargiver but also what fans should expect from the director’s cuts of the first two movies…

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Part 3 and The Return of Princess Issa

Although Snyder has a habit for ending his films on a grim note — this is the guy who killed Superman on the big screen, after all — Kora and her Veldt crew win the day at the end of the movie. Of course, victory comes only after suffering a few big losses, but we’ll get to those in a minute. In the final scene of the movie, Kora and the remaining heroes stand tall. Admiral Noble is dead (permanently this time?) and the dreadnought has been destroyed. Then Djimon Hounsou’s General Titus drops this huge piece of information: Princess Issa, the royal heir who was believed would finally bring peace to the galaxy (until Balisarius ordered Kora to assassinate her), is still alive.

This is a huge revelation for Kora. While she has more than redeemed herself after defending Veldt from the Imperium, here is a chance to finally right her greatest wrong. The movie ends with Kora and her friends agreeing to go find the princess and take down Balisarius once and for all.

The Part 3 tease comes as a bit of a surprise, of course, as Netflix hasn’t actually confirmed Rebel Moon is a trilogy. But the next step in the journey makes perfect sense to Snyder, who points to storylines that are left unresolved by the end of the first two films, necessitating further adventures to tell the complete story of this universe.

“Balisarius is still in power on Toa [the Motherworld planet]. We now know the princess is out there somewhere. She’s 17, according to the timeline. We have Bloodaxe and her cats, we have this [Veldt] group that we created. Their eventual goal would probably be to raise an army and attack Toa and put the princess on the throne. That’s a big problem. It’s not going to happen in two movies. So we’ll see, I’m optimistic, but we’ll see.”

If Netflix does decide to move forward with additional Rebel Moon movies, Snyder already has a plan for where to go next that actually goes way beyond a Part 3

“I guess four makes sense. Four or six movies, depending… it’s whether or not every time we make one of these movies we make two, that’s the question,” Snyder told Radio Times this week. “We absolutely have the story all set, we did all that work. We wrote a treatment for the movie so we’ll see how we go ahead.”

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Rebel Moon 2 Deaths Explained: Why Gunnar and Nemesis Had to Die

But whether there are two, three, or six Rebel Moon movies, we know there are two members of Kora’s merry band of warriors who won’t be joining the war against Balisarius: Gunnar and Nemesis, who sacrificed themselves to save Veldt. They’re heartbreaking losses that the survivors will have to reckon with in the future, especially when it comes to Kora losing Gunnar, their burgeoning romance cut short by their mission.

“They always died. In the treatment, they died,” Snyder says when we ask him why he felt he needed to kill off these characters so soon. Looking back at Nemesis’ backstory, Snyder suggests he felt her story had come full circle, from someone who watched her home planet burned by the Imperium to someone who protected the people of Veldt to her last breath. “Nemesis, she has weirdly sort of the most catharsis from the village,” says Snyder, adding that he also wanted viewers to feel shocked by her death. “Once she’s okay with the why of her, her sacrifice would be the most upsetting.”

Snyder continues, “Gunnar, I just felt like for Kora’s development and her penance, that thing that happens to her is kind of like initiation into humanity in a way. Now she feels, now she knows what it’s like to love and lose.”

If you were tearing up while watching Kora and Gunnar’s final moments together, just know that it’s going to get much worse in Snyder’s planned director’s cuts of the Rebel Moon movies.

“By the way, when the director’s cuts come out, I think you’ll have an even deeper, sadder experience. We’re all gluttons for punishment in the end.”

Speaking of those director’s cuts…

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What to Expect From the Rebel Moon Director’s Cuts

On top of six main Rebel Moon movies, Snyder has plans for his director’s cuts of the first two films that go way beyond the usual approach.

“Basically, [the director’s cuts have] giant scenes that aren’t in the PG-13. It has a 20-minute opening sequence that’s not in the PG-13. They’re both a full hour longer, so it’s six hours total. They’re very R-rated, they’re incredibly violent. A lot of adult situations,” Snyder teases.

But these are no mere extended versions, according to Snyder. These new R-rated cuts take place in an alternate universe that could eventually differ greatly from the PG-13 movies.

“There’s a redesigned logo for the R-rated and the names of the movies are different. It’s still Rebel Moon 1 and 2, but the actual subheadings are different,” Snyder explains. “Even within the scenes that are the same, so say you come to a scene where Hagen and Kora are talking, they say the exact same dialogue but it might be a different take than in the PG-13, because emotionally they’re in slightly different places.”

And if Snyder is able to go ahead with a Part 3 and then a director’s cut of that threequel, he plans to treat each version as the continuations of two separate timelines.

“If you were to make another PG-13 movie I’d jump off where [The Scargiver] left off. And if I were to make another R-rated movie, I would take it from where [the director’s cut] left off. They might actually start to split apart even more, so it’d be an interesting dilemma.”

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Rebel Moon Part 2: The Scargiver is streaming on Netflix now.