Rebel Moon Trailer Promises Most Zack Snyder Movie Ever

The first trailer for Zack Snyder’s Netflix space opera reveals a universe of mythological bombast.

Sofia Boutella in Rebel Moon
Photo: Netflix

From the very first shot of Rebel Moon’s new trailer, you are clued into the idea that this is a Zack Snyder movie. Technically the image of a warrior’s hand drifting through fields of grain recalls another filmmaker entirely—with the imagery not-so-subtly echoing the first seconds of Ridley Scott’s own blood-soaked opera, Gladiator. However, Snyder already repurposed it once before in 300, and 16 years later he adds even more gravity to it in Rebel Moon, with the hand now gloved in severe-looking sci-fi armor (and helpfully juxtaposed with actor Djimon Hounsou).

We are once again at the intersection of Snyder’s favorite milieus: stories of sacrifice, mythological grandiosity, badasses doing badass-looking things, and now with a helping dose of Star Wars-adjacent space fantasy thrown in for good measure. By the time the trailer ends, fans are promised nothing short of the most Zack Snyder movie to ever unsheathe a sword.

As a film that began, at least in part, with Snyder imagining a Jedi riff on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, the American retelling in The Magnificent Seven, and other classics about great men on a suicide mission, you can still spot the echoes of Star Wars in Rebel Moon: laser swords, an evil galactic imperium, and the rebels who resist all abound. Of course George Lucas lifted many of those elements from other films and stories too, including Frank Herbert’s literary Dune. Snyder similarly seems determined to wrestle the now familiar tropes of space opera from their conventions, all by putting his own distinct spin on them. And the fact that the trailer (and likely the film?) is narrated by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is playing a robot named Jimmy, only heightens this ambition.

Hopkins brings the gravitas he once only reserved for Hannibal Lecter flicks and Merchant Ivory costumed dramas to lines like, “I was given memories of a world I will never see, loyalties to a king I cannot serve, and love for a child I could not save.” C-3PO, this ain’t.

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Snyder has said multiple times he hopes Rebel Moon is the beginning of a massive shared interconnected universe on Netflix (he even announced Tuesday that there will be a video game which takes place after both parts of his Rebel Moon film), and that makes sense for him. If you squint while watching the trailer, you might even think Snyder is painting with the same brush he used while hinting at the menace of Darkseid and Apokolips in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The galaxy of Rebel Moon is a bleak, desaturated place punctuated by mythical grandeur, such as colossal statues that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 300, and spider-shaped foes who also look a piece with that film’s problematic depictions of the Persians.

At one point, Hopkins’ disembodied Jimmy even muses, “A king is a man, and a man can fail. But a myth is indestructible.” While the line echoes another popular 21st century blockbuster (in this case Batman Begins), the imagery evokes flights of fancy from antiquity, with a hero boldly riding a griffin above the desert plains of an alien world. Like Snyder’s superhero films, Rebel Moon is liberally calling on the iconography of ancient stories of death and rebirth from millennia ago, and giving it a glossy, speed-ramped slow-mo sheen.

Snyder hasn’t seemed so liberated to chase his aesthetic muses since Sucker Punch, the last movie he made before being swallowed up by DC for the better part of a decade. And like that unwieldy film, which happily slapped together robot samurai and World War I zombies in the same story, there appears to be an unadulterated desire to squeeze in every gnarly image that can be dreamed up into one film again—the griffin even looks at times like a Guardian of Ga’Hoole.

We’ll know more when both parts of Rebel Moon become available, with Part One (A Child on Fire) premiering on Dec. 22 and Part Two (The Scargiver) on April 19, 2024.