Director Zack Snyder recently provided a glimpse behind-the-scenes on his upcoming two-part space opera saga Rebel Moon that will debut on Netflix.
Snyder alongside his wife Deborah spoke with Vanity Fair about the film and made it abundantly clear it’s about an oppressive government arriving on a backwater moon and carrying out tyrannical actions that lead to the populace to revolt and fight back.
Snyder detailed that the Mother World arrives on Veldt and quickly oppresses the local farmers and begins to seize their produce in order to supply their vast armies and navies as they operate in this part of the galaxy.
He said, “They land in the village to say, ‘Listen, you guys will be our local food source while we’re tromping around this part of the galaxy. So how long till the harvest comes in?’ The villagers are pretty much stunned by the brutality, but they don’t realize what level the Mother World’s ready to go to.”
Deborah Snyder added, “The Imperium comes down, and they want to take the women and take the children and they need more soldiers”
“They’re going to take their food. And [the villagers] go, ‘Look, we can bargain with them,’” she said.
The main protagonist of the film is a character named Kora played by Sofia Boutella who is a former leader of the Mother World, but fled to Veldt. She informs the locals that attempting to bargain with the Mother World is foolhardy.
Zack relays, “Kora used to be in the Imperium, and she’s like, ‘Guys, this ends badly for everybody.'”
As for the character of Kora, Boutella provided some details, “She knows the guilt that she’s been living with, and the first step of her redemption is doing something about it instead of going away.”
Zack Snyder went on to detail that the story is a lot more complicated than it appears to be as there are a lot of in-universe politics that are weakening the Mother World.
He told the outlet, “They’ve conquered the universe, they’ve scooped everyone into the empire, and they’ve had to make individual deals with the different leaders of the different worlds. You can imagine how complicated that is.”
“A lot of rulers felt like they made a bad deal, or that their fathers’ fathers made a bad deal. They begin to push back,” he elaborated. “It’s more whispers at first. We’re right on the edge of revolution, and if our villagers are successful, the example of that could spur an even bigger revolt.”
While the Mother World clearly outclasses the farmers on Veldt, Kora attempts to even the odds by recruiting allies alongside Charlie Hunnam’s Kai.
Zack Snyder explains Kora’s initial plan, but also reveals it will go sideways. “The advantage that they would have is, they could set a trap for the Imperium. A lot of times, if you’re fighting in a guerrilla war, you don’t know where the bad guys are going to be. But in this case, you know in nine weeks they’re going to be right there. So they could set a pretty insane trap for them. Of course, it all goes sideways. But that’s the initial plan,” he detailed.
He went on relay that Kora’s mission of finding allies is inspired by “The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Magnificent Seven—anytime there’s either a village or a town that is threatened, that needs a gunfighter to come and do the dirty work that the townspeople can’t do.”
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One of these allies is Djimon Hounsou’s General Titus, who is now a gladiator. Zack shared, “She finally tracks him down at this coliseum on a sort of gladiator planet, where he’s drunk and sad and doesn’t want anything to do with anybody.”
He added, “She’s trying to convince him to join up. There’s events that happened to him in the past that made him have to leave the Imperium and actually become an enemy of the Mother World. That scarred him.”
Aside from Hounsou’s General Titus, she also plans to recruit Tarak, played by Staz Nair. Snyder also provided details on his character, “When we first meet Tarak, he’s the indentured servant of this rancher, and he’s working the anvil as a blacksmith.”
“They ask him if he’ll join, and he’s like, ‘I would love to, but I’m in debt to this guy and I’m going to honor that. That’s the kind of guy I am,’” he continued. “So they figure out a way to get him to join. His backstory is that he comes from a noble family and they had a run-in with the Mother World. In a lot of ways, all the characters have a bone to pick with the Mother World.”
Still another member is Nemesis played by Doona Bae. Snyder relayed, “These swords are powered by the gauntlets that she holds. The gauntlets are these ancient [artifacts] from her home world, and part of the rite of passage of being a warrior in her world is you have to cut your arm off, and then you put these kind of robot arms on. That allows you to wield these molten-metal blades.”
“Nemesis is able to navigate the alleys and nooks and crannies, and she’s been sort of protecting the exploited workers of that world,” he explained.
Other characters that Kora recruits in the film include a brother and sister team called the Bloodaxes played by Ray Fisher and Cleopatra Coleman. Snyder described them, “They fight and hide. They don’t have the resources to have a pitched battle in the wide open. They’re kind of just f***king with supply lines and blowing up train tracks. That’s their kind of thing.”
Finally, the last member is Milius played by E. Duffy is described by Vanity Fair as “nonbinary” and Snyder “uses they/them pronouns when describing their backstory.”
Snyder says, “They came from a small farming village that got destroyed, and their people never really stood up. They got slaughtered.” He adds the character has “heart” and “That really is their specialty. In a lot of ways, they have the purest motivation to fight. Everyone else is battling some past demon, whereas Milius feels, ‘My world was destroyed, and it was very similar to this world. I didn’t get a chance to defend it, so I choose this one to defend.'”
The film also reportedly features “an ethereal spider-being played by Jena Malone and an ornate centuries-old robot known as a Jimmy (voiced by Anthony Hopkins).”
As for the Imperium or the Mother World, one of their leaders is Admiral Noble played by Ed Skrein. Skrein shared, “I’ve played antagonists at points in my career in the past, and I think when I’ve done it well, I’ve been able to add some kind of humanity and some kind of empathy to the characters.”
“This is a bit different,” he added. “With this character, I pointedly chose to leave humanity out of it completely for the first time. I’m not occupied with gaining your empathy. It will be interesting to see what the audience’s reactions are to it. Noble has chosen to exist outside of what he sees as the limitations of morality.”
The Imperium also employ a group of religious leaders known as Scribes. Snyder explained their role, “Their purpose is, they write down information.”
However, they don’t use pen and paper. “Your DNA stores information. You are put in stasis if you’re a page, and your body just becomes like a hard drive. The Scribes have the ability to transfer what they see. That’s how history is recorded by the Mother World.”
“You can plug into those things later, and you experience the history as a memory. But the Scribes, of course, are manipulated by politics, and they write down only what they’re supposed to,” he elaborated.
The first part of Rebel Moon is expected to debut on December 22nd. An official description for the film states, “REBEL MOON is set in a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy that finds itself threatened by the armies of the tyrannical Regent Balisarius. Its only hope is a young woman with a mysterious past who seeks out warriors from neighboring planets to help them take a stand.”
What do you make of these details about the plot and characters of Rebel Moon?