Is Rebel Moon Based on a Book or a Video Game? Is it Part of Star Wars?

Zack Snyder’s feature film journey began with the remake of George A. Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead.’ Throughout his career, existing material has been the foundation for several of his films. He helmed ‘300’ based on Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s comic book series. The world of DC Comics opened nearly unlimited possibilities for him to make films ranging from ‘Watchmen’ to ‘Justice League.’ However, in the case of Netflix’s ‘Rebel Moon,’ Snyder deviated from his routine. Even though world-building from scratch was not something new to him (read ‘Sucker Punch’ and ‘Army of the Dead’), the scope has been the highest in the two space opera films!

The Inspiration Behind Rebel Moon

Zack Snyder created ‘Rebel Moon’ without any source text or video game. The genesis of the two films can be traced back to an idea he had in the late 1980s: “’The Dirty Dozen’ in space.” Robert Aldrich’s 1967 war movie follows twelve convicts who embark on a suicide mission ahead of the Normandy landings during World War II. The film motivated Snyder to create a group of rebels fighting a far superior fascist force. His ambitions made him consider developing the idea as a television series, but Snyder decided to make two movies to justify his intended scope.

Snyder teamed up with his wife, Deborah Snyder, one of the producers of Rebel Moon. In an interview, she emphasizes the departure from existing material to create something completely original. “Mostly everything right now is based on a book or based on a game. It’s a remake or it’s a sequel,” Deborah told EW. “There are very few times you get the opportunity to do something that’s wholly original, and then to do it on a scale where there’s different worlds and creatures and cool costumes has been really exciting. We’ve lived and worked in something that was so established for so long, it was 10 years of doing that, so it’s nice to just do something different,” she added.

Synder enjoyed the freedom of making a world from scratch, which paved the way for the birth of Veldt and the Motherworld. Still, he wanted to address fascism through his film, just like ‘The Dirty Dozen.’ “This concept of space fascists is always… not to say it’s dealt with delicately, but it’s always under the lens of sci-fi that kind of knicks the edges of the concept,” he told the Daily Express. “It makes it not quite as ruthless. I said, ‘Let’s just go for it’. We’re not gonna pussyfoot around, we’re going to let them be really bad,” he added.

Rebel Moon and Star Wars

‘Rebel Moon’ is not a part of ‘Star Wars.’ However, Snyder did consider developing the initial idea as a ‘Star Wars’ movie. He had conversations with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy but the project never materialized. “They were off and running on ‘The Force Awakens,’ and that was the end of ‘Rebel Moon’ as a ‘Star Wars’ thing,” the filmmaker told EW. When he wrote the ‘Rebel Moon’ movies, Snyder realized that the screenplay was too mature to be a ‘Star Wars’ project, especially considering the swearing, brutal violence, and sexual remarks.

“There was never a script, it was always just a pitch and I was just a big ‘Star Wars’ fanatic. It wasn’t necessarily a certain thing I wanted to see in this sort of Star Wars universe, but it was more that I just loved the iconography,” Snyder clarified to IGN. “I just knew that in the end [it] would’ve been a little cage that I was living in. So [transforming it from a ‘Star Wars’ project into ‘Rebel Moon’] allowed me to do a lot more kind of freaky stuff in this movie than I think would’ve been possible if I was in that box. Though I’m still a big Star Wars fan, that’s just how it is,” he added.

By not making ‘Rebel Moon’ a ‘Star Wars’ project, Snyder succeeded in exploring the brutality of the Motherworld forces. Admiral Atticus Noble and his atrocities are portrayed in the two films without compromises, which he wouldn’t have been able to create if he had to work with Darth Vader’s Stormtroopers.

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