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Film / Rebel Moon

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Kora: If I find warriors to fight with us...
Hagen: We might stand a chance.

Rebel Moon is a Netflix-produced Space Opera action film series directed by Zack Snyder and written by Snyder, Shay Hatten and Kurt Johnstad, with Junkie XL for the soundtrack. Conceived in his youth as Seven Samurai in space and once unsuccessfully pitched to Lucasfilm to be absorbed into its Star Wars franchise as a distinct, albeit disconnected entry, after decades of on and off development, Snyder eventually repurposed his original ideas and created a setting of his own. The two parts of this film duology have been filmed together.

Veldt, a peaceful farming moon on the edge of the galaxy, is threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. The desperate civilians dispatch Kora, a young woman with a mysterious past, to seek out warriors from nearby planets to help them challenge the regent.

The films star Sofia Boutella as Kora, Ed Skrein as Admiral Atticus Noble, Michiel Huisman as Gunnar, Charlie Hunnam as Kai, Ray Fisher and Cleopatra Coleman as Darrian and Devra Bloodaxe respectively, Djimon Hounsou as General Titus, Bae Doona as Nemesis, Jena Malone as Harmada, Anthony Hopkins as the voice of Jimmy, Fra Fee as Regent Balisarius and Corey Stoll, Cary Elwes, Alfonso Herrera, Ray Porter, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, and Dominic Burgess in further roles.

Netflix released the first part, titled Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire, on December 22, 2023. The second part, titled Rebel Moon: The Scargiver, is set for release on April 19, 2024. Snyder has indicated that there are two versions for each film — an initial PG-13 cut followed by an extended R-rated cut that will release in summer 2024.

An Expanded Universe is also in development, including the following projects:

  • Rebel Moon: House of the Bloodaxe, a comic book by Magdalene Visaggio (Vagrant Queen) focusing on the Bloodaxe siblings.
  • A yet untitled video game by the studio Super Evil Megacorp (Vainglory).
  • A yet untitled animated series is in the works.

Previews: August 2023 trailer, Geeked Week '23 trailer, Part Two trailer.

Rebel Moon provides examples of:

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    Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire

  • Action Girl: Kora was trained for war by Balisarius from an early age, and she is an expert in using both ranged and melee weapons. She has no problem taking on multiple armed opponents and winning.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Nemesis, the only Asian character with speaking lines, is an energy sword-wielding melee fighter. She wields her swords in Katana-like fashion.
  • Ambition is Evil: Part of the motivation for Noble's ruthlessness is a desire to improve his standing in the Imperium and avoid being sent to the edges of the galaxy any further, first by quelling the Bloodaxe siblings' insurgencies, then later by bringing Kora to "justice".
  • Armies Are Evil: The Imperium conquers worlds, and its individual soldiers are psychos.
  • Attempted Rape: Twice, Kora is forced to kill a room full of people to prevent a rape, first killing Imperium soldiers attempting to gang rape Sam, then later a Depraved Homosexual alien who wants to buy Gunnar.
  • The Assimilator: What the Imperium does to planets it conquers, how it replenishes its forces and what happened to Kora and Titus as children.
  • The Atoner: Kora ran away from the Imperium once after years of fighting for them as a soldier. The moment Imperium forces show up on Veldt, she decides to make a stand against them. This also applies to Titus and most of her recruits for one reason or the other.
  • Avengers Assemble: Unusually for a The Magnificent Seven Samurai plot, the recruitment portion of the story takes up the majority of this film
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • It looks like Noble is going to pummel Gunnar with his staff for being insubordinate to Sindri and promising grain to the Imperium without the necessary authority. Instead, he kills Sindri for lying about their reserves of grain.
    • With their situation completely hopeless and no chance of escape in sight, it looks like Gunnar would take Kai's sadistic choice to save his own life and cripple Kora with the boltgun, after apologizing to her. Gunnar instead kills Kai with it
  • Big Bad: Admiral Noble drives the action of this film by hunting for the Bloodaxes, arriving in Veldt to demand the farmers' harvest, and then later attempting to capture Kora. We see his boss at the end of the movie.
  • Blatant Lies: Sindri tries this on Nobel, and persists even when Nobel makes it clear that he's not fooled. Sindri tries to convince Nobel that they have no stored crops to give him because they're subsistence farmers who are barely producing enough food to get by. Nobel quickly shoots this down, correctly observing that the villagers look much too fit, well-nourished, and healthy to be in such a state, and that he can easily see their vast cropland is producing plentiful crops. Sindri still persists, and also makes the mistake of offering ale to Nobel more than once. If they were actually subsistence farmers, there wouldn't be any excess crops to set aside to make ale. After Gunnar lets it slip that they actually have stored food, Nobel does some taunting then kills Sindri for being, in his opinion, Too Dumb to Live
  • Blue-Skinned Space Babe: One of the workers at the brothel in Providence, is a latex fetish example of this.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Darrian and Devra Bloodaxe are siblings, and they're also insurgents fighting against the Imperium.
  • Bystander Syndrome:
    • When Nemesis is getting knocked around fighting a child-murdering spiderwoman, our rebels just stand there and watch. Only the Non-Action Guy Gunnar thinks to rush in to protect the child, and even then, they just stand there watching him.
    • None of the men with Hickman try to get the rogue Bennu off of him when it has him pinned.
  • Call to Agriculture: Kora is a former Imperium fighter who moved to a small farming village. When the Imperium shows up to their moon, she knows they cannot be appeased.
    Sindri: What do you think they want?
    Kora: Everything.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Kora details her Backstory to Gunnar when they sit around a campfire.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, this is not the first time a character voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya, as Admiral Noble, has undergone Brain Uploading before.
  • Character Narrator: JC-1435 provides the narration in the opening scene.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Hickman really wants to ride that Bennu, even gambling Tarak's freedom and the 300,000 darams he's owed on it. It flings him off its back and kills him.
    • Noble loves to personally finish off victims with his bone staff by bashing their head in. Kora seemingly finishes him off after a brutal beatdown, with said bone staff knocking out his teeth. Subverted when he survived due to Motherworld technology but very barely.
  • Death by Materialism: Given Kora's status as the single-most wanted fugitive in the Imperium, Kai could've made a pretty penny by turning in just her to Admiral Noble. But his greedy plan to fatten the pot even more by having her recruit a who's who of the Motherworld's Most Wanted results in the final battle being won by the heroes and Kai's own death.
  • Defector from Decadence: Kora and General Titus are both former members of the Imperium who defected and led different lives since, with Kora taking up a life of farming in Veldt, and Titus becoming a gladiator out of guilt for his actions.
  • Depraved Homosexual: While stopping at a Brothel to find information on General Titus, Gunnar and Kora are briefly accosted by a male-appearing alien who believes Gunnar is a Sex Slave for sale. When he refuses, he aggressively gropes Gunnar and turns violent, then later gathers a posse to help kill Kora for beating him up.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: The ancient combat robot guard JC-1435 or "Jimmy", was created and programmed to believe in a benevolent future ruled by the Motherworld's Princess Issa. When she and the royal family are killed, Jimmy loses sense of its purpose for existing.
    "I was given memories of a world I will never see. Loyalty to a king I cannot serve. And love for a child I could not save."
  • Diesel Punk: More than it is Hard Sci-fi, is how Zack Snyder describes the setting.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Darrian Bloodaxe attacks an aircraft with a spear, gets shot in a non-vital area, and crashes the ship into the ground.
    • Admiral Noble also confronts this trope. Unlike Darrian, he survives, although barely.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The gryphon Hickman stipulates Tarak to tame in return for his freedom, kills Hickman after he tries to ride it.
  • Dual Wielding: Nemesis wields two hot blades against Harmada.
  • Energy Weapon: Par for the course for the Imperium and rebels in the setting.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Kora is already an experienced fighter when the story starts. Most of her future recruits such as Titus, Nemesis, Darrian and Kai already have their own experiences in varying areas relevant to the plot from the beginning.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The people of Veldt have Scandinavian accents, names, and style.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Admiral Noble is very polite to the little farming community he intends to grind beneath the heel of the Imperium. It's just an act, as he later calls the villagers "simple" and mockingly bows to Tarak with a scoff of derision.
  • Final Battle: Of Part One. The one on one fight between Kora and Admiral Noble.
  • Flashback: Kora's backstory is told in several lengthy flashbacks.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Kora rings her village's alarm bell with a mallet to announce the Imperium's arrival.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The Imperium is conquering all the planets it encounters.
  • Genocide Survivor: Kora is the only survivor of an Imperium genocide and then, was adopted as the daughter of the general who did the genociding.
  • Gladiator Games: Shortly after leaving the Imperium, General Titus fled to a nearby planet, where he spends his days fighting in a colosseum as a gladiator, though we don't see any of it.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Regent Balisarius, whose takeover of the Imperium in the wake of the royal family's deaths turned an already aggressively imperialist force into an even more aggressive, needlessly brutal one.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Nemesis warns Tarak and the others to not celebrate Harmada's death, because it could have been any one of them dying in the gutter of a forgotten world in the name of revenge for their grievances.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Hickman gives Tarak a stipulation; ride a wild, untameable Bennu and gain his freedom or fail, then Kora and Gunnarnote  also get shackled as slaves. Tarak succeeds in taming the gryphon, Hickman lets him go as promised, tries to ride the creature, is violently thrown off, then impaled with it's claws.
  • Horned Humanoid:
    • A random woman in a bar has huge horns.
    • JC-1435 has tied antlers to his head in the final shot of the film.
  • Hot Blade: Nemesis wields a pair of heated swords, which only warriors of her kind are able to wield because of their extreme heat.
  • Immune to Bullets: Getting repeatedly shot knocks JC-1435 down but does no damage.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Not really surprising considering the inspiration, but during each action scene, not a single named hero is ever shot, even in spaces with little cover and not enough room to move around. Darrian Bloodaxe is only shot when he's hit point-blank by the pilot in a Mutual Kill.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Molten metal blades, 4-foot guns, ammos made of pressurized plasma, etc.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Being a combat robot, JC-1435 can shoot a hostage-taker with perfect accuracy without using the gun's sights.
  • Informed Ability: Titus is an ex-general and famous tactician, but he's introduced as a gladiator and does not contributes any strategic or tactical input to the gang during the rest of the film.
  • In Medias Res: Kora has already had her planet wiped out, been adopted by Balisarius, trained as a soldier, become a grizzled veteran, fled the Imperium, crashed into Veldt, and spent two seasons there trying to start a new life before the film starts. All of this backstory is told in lengthy flashbacks in the first act of the film.
  • In the Hood:
    • Kai wears a hooded jacket.
    • Kora is seen wearing a tan hooded cloak.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: Inverted. According to Zack Snyder, the Motherworld actually encourages romantic relationships between their soldiers so that if they lose sight of the reason they're fighting, they'll still fight for their comrades.
  • Ironic Name: The evil servant of the Imperium is named Admiral Noble.
  • Karmic Death: Kai tries to force Gunnar to sever Kora's spine with a gas powered bolt gun after betraying them to the Imperium. Gunnar shoves it under his head and squeezes the trigger, shooting the bolt straight through his brain.
  • Lean and Mean: The evil Admiral Noble has some impressively sunken cheeks.
  • Lost Technology: The Imperium seems to lack the ability to make more "Jimmy" robots.
  • Love Is a Weakness: A confusing case. Kora says she was taught that "love is weakness" as a child, but the Motherworld actually encourages romantic attachments between soldiers so they have someone to fight for.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Our heroes must recruit a rag-tag group of warriors to help some humble farmers fight off a threat. The film is essentially The Magnificent Seven and The Seven Samurai IN SPACE!. In other words, Battle Beyond the Stars.
  • Meaningful Name: Veldt is a farming community, and its name means "field" in Dutch.
  • Monumental Damage: A gigantic statue is seen being destroyed by ships.
  • Moral Sociopathy: According to Ed Skrein, Admiral Noble chooses to be above all concerns of morality.
  • Movie Multipack: Once a singular movie and first of a potential trilogy, but concerns over its running time have caused it to be divided into two parts.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • The two rebel siblings are named Bloodaxe.
    • Kora herself is christened the "Scargiver" for an as yet unknown reason.
  • Never Trust a Title: According to Zack Snyder, Veldt is not the titular rebel moon. The true rebel moon is a place called Vanna, which won't even appear until the third movie.
  • Noble Demon: Admiral Noble makes a good case for the villagers to deal with him, pointing out that the Motherworld can pay above market rate and the villagers can use that money to grow their operation and save themselves the labour. He only garrisons the village after Sindri tries some very Blatant Lies on him, and gives the village more time than they asked for to ensure the surplus will be ready when he comes back. He doesn't care when told they'll starve if he takes that much, but these are the same villagers that lied about how fertile their land was to begin with. This characterisation doesn't stick, and he engages in Card Carrying Villainy in later scenes.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • No details are provided about what happened the day the last King of Motherworld and his daughter were assassinated.
    • Exactly why Kora is known as "the Scargiver", and why she's so wanted by the Imperium, are never divulged.
    • Why Tarak would be valuable to the team Kora's assembling is left unexplained beyond a line from Kai much later saying he's an ex-prince.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Bloodaxe siblings. Once seen in action, Darrian wields anything but an axe.
  • One-Woman Wail: "A Call to Courage" on the soundtrack.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Charlie Hunnam attempts a vaguely Irish accent as Kai but frequent lapses into his native Newcastle.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: There is a species of winged creatures called Bennus in this universe native to Tarak's planet, that are essentially space gryphons.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: A black gryphon-like creature is broken to the saddle by one of our heroes.
  • Planet Looters: The Motherworld plunders other planets for resources through use of it's massive Imperium forces.
  • Planetville: The small, unnamed village of less than a thousand people Kora settles in is treated as though it represents the entire planet of Veldt when Noble lands. This leads to Noble coming down, personally, to deal with a small settlement while acting as if it was the solution to feeding an entire dreadnought, even though logically there should be lots of different communities for him to send envoys down to.
  • Plasma Cannon: The weapons in the setting use magazines of pressurized plasma to shoot hot, dense matter called a "lava cork" by the production team and "slag" by the director.
  • Posthumous Character: The king and queen of the Motherworld have been assassinated before the beginning of the film..
  • Pursued Protagonist: Kora is the most wanted fugitive from the Imperium, above the likes of even General Titus.
  • Redshirt Army: A lot of the film's focus is on Kora and Gunnar's journey to find the Bloodaxe insurrectionists to recruit their army to their cause. The handful of them that volunteer are promptly killed in the film's climax.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice:
    • Before their fight, Nemesis tries to reach Harmada by pointing out there's a difference between the justice she seeks for her emotional pain and the revenge she's pursuing by kidnapping a child with intentions to kill her.
    • The above example is then completely disregarded by Kora when she meets Titus, explicitly appealing to his desire for revenge against the Imperium.
  • Riches to Rags: Tarak is royalty, lived in a highly developed kingdom with his people and their Bennu bond partners. After his planet runs into the Motherworld and post "a long road of mistakes", Tarak is introduced in the movie, chained to an anvil in indentured servitude, due to a debt on his name.
  • Shirtless Scene: Tarak is usually shirtless.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: JC-1435 shoots a hostage-taking soldier with Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Shout-Out: The title Rebel Moon is a homage to Yavin IV — the moon base in A New Hope where the Rebel Alliance is stationed — alluding to this film's history of once being proposed as a dolled-up Star Wars spin-off.
  • Schizo Tech: The level of technology differs greatly among planets and also within different parts of the same planet—soldiers with spaceships, blasters and sentient robots next to a farming commune that works by hand and with beasts of burden and move around on horseback, yet have automatic doors.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: The Imperium's soldiers, with one exception, are portrayed as rapist psychos.
  • Space Opera: It's a galactic adventure about a heroic woman hopping from planet to planet to gather rebels to fight back against an evil empire..
  • Spider People: Nemesis fights Harmada, a vengeful being with a humanoid torso and spider legs.
  • Superpowered Mooks: Among the Imperium's soldiers is a special class called Krypteians, who have super strength and wield heated blades of their own.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Contrary to audience expectations, a mercenary pilot who is Not in This for Your Revolution is really not going to be throwing his lot in with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who can't really pay anything and whom he just met, so quite realistically, the resident Han Solo Expy Kai sells out the heroes to Admiral Noble (and intended to do so from the very beginning).
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • After Sindri is beaten to death and his wife shot in front of everyone, the villagers conclude that it was just to scare them and the Motherworld can't kill them all, or they wouldn't get any crops. First, nothing stops Noble from publicly and painfully executing a small number of villagers instead, and second, he's already mentioned agricultural robots, so they should know their labour is replaceable.
    • When Admiral Noble is told about an informant that can take him to the Bloodaxes, he decides to have some rec time with a tentacle beast instead of doing his job and interrogating him, which gives Kora enough time to assemble a team and start coalescing an organised resistance. When he does meet the informant he has him killed and dissected before verifying whether anything he said was true, which incidentally discourages anyone else from coming to him with information.
    • When the team finally meets the Bloodaxe siblings, Devra correctly points out that they don't have the resources to do more than harass the Motherworld's shipping, and that trying them in open battle would be suicide. Darrien joins anyway saying that their associations got the planet in trouble to begin with, but that's not true - the Imperium didn't know and never did find out about Gunnar's dealing with them, and Sindri's bad lies were what provoked it.
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: Any still active robots from the line of "Jimmys" are stated to be suffering from one, after the royal family they were programmed to serve is murdered.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Admiral Noble initially opts not to immediately use the dangerous weapons in his arsenal to quell the threat from his opponents, until he discovers Kora aka the "Scargiver" in hiding and slowly becomes consumed with capturing her.
  • Villain World: Universe, in this case. The Motherworld is an ancient civilization that has been in control of everything for an unknown length of existence through its highly aggressive imperialist conquests. Their stranglehold has stunted most technological advancements in the setting.
  • Visual Innuendo: The film opens with a spaceship tearing open a wormhole and passing through it, with the edges of the wormhole peeling back in a diamond shape, creating an unmistakable yonic image. Zack Snyder says this is a hint at larger themes concerning Mother World that will be expanded on in the Director's Cut.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Both Kora and Titus wear armor and take part in wars that are fought with blaster rifles.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The villagers on the farming community do all their agricultural work using manual labor instead of robots because of philosophical/religious reasons.

    Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver
  • The Coup: The death of the Emperor and his heir was one, orchestrated by Belisarius, because he couldn't accept that the Emperor had decided that there had been enough militant expansion of the Empire, and it was time to focus on consolidating what they'd taken.
  • Evil Is Petty: The main characters share their reasons for fighting on the eve of battle, virtually all of which stem from unnecessary acts of cruelty by the Empire.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over the course of a week. The farmers learn of when Noble will arrive on the day Kora returns, they bring in the harvest over the next three days (something that normally takes them half a month), fortify the village the day after, and then fight the battle the next morning. Given that pace, it's a miracle that anyone had the strength to fight at all as opposed to just falling over asleep mid-battle.
  • The Scapegoat: Kora is wanted by the Motherworld and Regent Belisarius for assassinating the royal family, casually ignoring that while she was involved, she wasn't the ringleader - that was Belisarius himself.

"It's a new age for the universe."