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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes), shortened to Valerian, is a 2017 American/French Space Opera film produced, written and directed by Luc Besson (of The Fifth Element fame). It is based on the French science fiction comic book series Valérian, and stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian, Cara Delevingne as Laureline, Clive Owen as Commander Arün Filitt, and Rihanna as Bubble.

In the year 2740, Valerian and Laureline are special operatives for the government of the United Human Federation charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner – blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him. Under directive from their Commander, Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time – uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.

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The film was released 21 July 2017 worldwide and on 26 July in France. The first trailer can be seen here. It holds the record for most expensive French film ever produced (budget €197,470,000, which is about $220 million).


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Laureline's is a trio of Doghan Daguis (short, long-snouted and winged duck-like aliens) that seem to work as information brokers. She really doesn't like them.
  • Action Girl: Laureline is no stranger to hand-to-hand combat during missions.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the comics, Laureline and Valérian are Spatio-Temporal Agents, a large part of whose job are time-travel missions. In fact, Laureline was originally a woman from Medieval France who met Valérian during one of those missions, and who came with him to the 28th century. Nothing about time-travel or Laureline's past is mentioned in the movie, probably because it would've made the (already fairly complex) plot too confusing.
    • The only small nod to that is when the computer mentions that the psychic imagery Valerian receives (actually the Pearl princess' consciousness) could have come from any point in space and time.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Laureline is no longer a redhead. Luc Besson said this was because Leeloo from The Fifth Element was already red-haired... and inspired by Laureline.
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  • Adaptation Name Change: Just about all the names have been changed from the original comic, apart from the two main characters. The Shingouz have become the Doghan Daguis, the Groubos have been turned into Bromosaurs, the Grumpy Converter from Bluxte is known just as the Mül Converter, the Bagoulin are now the Boullan-Bathor...
  • Advertised Extra: Despite prominent billing, Rutger Hauer has less than a minute of screen time, and appears only in the opening montage (which is unrelated to the main plot set 400 years later). Ethan Hawke may also qualify, though he is more in the One-Scene Wonder territory, due to playing the hilariously Large Ham space pimp of Bubble.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lampshaded by Valerian and promptly rejected by Laureline, who's apparently had too much experience with bad boys in college.
  • Almost Kiss: Valerian leans forward to kiss Laureline; she stops him with a Finger Muzzle, then wordlessly points out the horde of angry aliens charging towards them with edged weaponry.
  • Animesque: Though based on a French graphic novel it favors pretty much a vast array of classic scifi anime.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Done for a Rule of Three — after rejecting his advances, Laureline gives Valerian a patronising kiss on the cheek. Valerian gets back at her by responding this way to her turning up to rescue him. At the end, she finally gives him the Big Damn Kiss he wants.
  • Arcadia: Planet Mül, the paradisiacal ocean world in the prologue, is a scifi version inhabited by the ridiculously good and peaceful Pearls. Until it's blown up, that is.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Intruder, Valerian's and Laureline's spaceship, is equipped with one named Alice that serves as the protagonists' primary Mission Control.
  • Ass Shove: At one point, Laureline has to place a psionic jellyfish on her head to obtain information on Valerian's whereabouts. The Doghan Daguis trio tells her that the opening she has to place her head through isn't its mouth.
  • Asteroids Monster: Well, not a monster per se, but the Pearls' spaceship suddenly splits into two dozen smaller versions of itself on its own volition when Valerian is getting close to catching it.
  • Bait-and-Switch
    • After their Walking Swimsuit Scene, our heroes are ordered to dress in something more appropriate for their mission. Instead of getting into Powered Armor, they exit their spaceship dressed as tourists.
    • Just before he's glooped by the Pearls, Valerian sticks some kind of cylinder in his mouth; it looks like a small breathing device, but it actually releases a tiny spiderbot that cuts him free.
    • Among a long line of food bearers, Laureline is made to carry some sliced lemons to the Boullan-Bathor emperor. Turns out it's garnish - she is the meal! She figures it out when the fat slob grabs a tool for slicing off the top of her head!
    • Our heroes charge towards a Zerg Rush of Boullan-Bathor warriors, only to escape through a large grill set in the floor just before the two sides collide in battle.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Big Market, a giant marketplace, unusual apart from its enormous size in that it's actually set in another dimension, and humans can only interact with it through Hard Light VR holograms, and any purchases have to be passed through a matter transporter. It sells anything from standard tourist kitsch to one-of-a-kind, priceless endangered animals.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Unlike Valerian who gets quite a few scratches and bruises, Laureline always looks outrageously gorgeous. The worst she gets is some Messy Hair that does nothing to detract from her beauty.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Though the belligerence is mostly on Laureline's side.
    Laureline: We get on just great. You flirt, I smile.
  • Big Bad: Commander Filitt, who is the one responsible for the events by destroying Planet Mül.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Luc Besson certainly seems to think so. At least half the alien species in the movie have bioluminescent body parts.
  • Bling of War: Filitt adds several decorations to his already blinged-out uniform for a formal meeting. What stands out most is the highly ornate chest plate that seems to be one massive chunk of brass, gold or a combination thereof.
  • Breast Plate: Part of Laureline's armor.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the movie, Valerian promises Laureline to take her to the most beautiful beach in the universe. In the final act, when the Pearls recreate their dead homeworld aboard their escape craft, the two of them are suddenly standing in the surf of a painfully beautiful beach completely out of the blue. Laureline is quick to remind Valerian of his promise.
    • When Valerian first asks Laureline to marry him, she points out that he still keeps photos of his past conquests in his "playlist". At the end of the movie, he assures her that she's the only one he wants in his playlist.
    • In their first scene together, Laureline complains that Valerian forgot her birthday. In the final scene of the movie, he presents her with a Mül energy pearl set in an engagement ring as a birthday gift.
  • Captain Ersatz:The Arysum-Kormn, the fourth alien race to contact Alpha, are very obviously based on the [[Film/Predator Predators]]. The tie-in mobile game also reveals they even have a culture that puts great emphasis on hunting.
  • Canon Foreigner: Unlike most other aliens in the movie, the Pearls are not directly based on any of the alien species in the source material (although they are possibly influenced by Shadows). Their Converter pets, though, are a faithful adaptation of a beloved character from the comics.
    • The Kortan Dahuk, the very first extraterrestrial race seen contacting mankind in the montage of how Alpha came to be, are a completely original creation for the movie. Same goes for the [[Film/Predator Yautja-like]]Arysum-Kormn.
  • Centrifugal Gravity: One of the early human ships docking at the space station in the beginning has spinning rings that generate gravity.
  • Covered in Gunge:
    • In the First Contact montage, the Kortan Dahuk, the first alien race to meet humanity, look reluctant to shake hands. Presumably this is because they are unfamiliar with the gesture, because later aliens do it without hesitation, apparently having been briefed on human customs. The final group of aliens are eager to shake hands...and the human ambassador grimaces as he realizes his hand in covered in sticky fluid.
    • Weaponised by the Pearls during their attack.
    • After Translation by Volume doesn't work, Laureline loses her temper and tries roaring for intimidation instead. The female Boullan-Bathor responds with a longer and louder roar which leaves Laureline covered in spit.
  • Call-Back: Luc Besson's love of strange headwear, and another character commenting on it, returns in force. Invoked by Valerian during the infiltration scene at another member's large square plexiglass helmet-cover thing. The audience never gets to see what it does. Another character uses a large clear bowl helmet that is about the size of a professional wok to act as a visual interface when controlling another creature.
  • The Cameo:
    • Rutger Hauer's screentime as the President of the World State Federation amounts to this.
    • French actor Alain Chabat played Bob the Pirate.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Quite a few supporting characters are pretty quirky, as seems to be the rule for every scifi setting courtesy of Luc Besson. The most outstanding example would probably be the very eccentric one-eyed Steam Punk submarine captain whose help Laureline enlists to find a missing Valerian (they're still on a space station, mind). His name is Bob.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Valerian's (and presumably Laureline's) Powered Armor comes with one.
  • Costume Porn: Did anyone expect anything less from a scifi movie made by Luc Besson? Although unlike The Fifth Element, Jean Paul Gaultier wasn't involved this time.
  • Da Chief: Two here: The aptly named Defense Minister and General Okto Bar, who takes a much more active role in the plot than the former does.
  • Dark Is Evil: The K-Tron bots have a sleek black finish on them and even before they open fire on innocent soldiers and the Mül people, they do not look like the most friendly bots around.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Bubble, once she changes her appearance.
  • Damsel in Distress: Despite her Action Girl cred, Laureline is captured and held hostage by the Boullan-Bathor tribe halfway into the movie, forcing Valerian to find and free her. It's balanced out by her having rescued him just a few minutes earlier.
  • Damsel out of Distress: On the other hand, she's perfectly capable of getting herself out of trouble on numerous other occasions.
  • Decapitated Army: Inverted-the Boullan-Bathor fight even more ferociously once they notice that their emperor is dead. They even send a small army's worth of warriors after Valerian, Laureline and Bubble, who escape in time via a hole in the floor-but not without casualties.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Laureline; it's not that she doesn't find Valerian attractive, she just doesn't want to be another file in his lengthy catalogue of conquests.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Poor Bubble...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Pearls have clear parallels to both Jews and Native Americans. They are a peaceful, low-tech civilization living off the land who have 6 million of their members killed in a military genocide and now seek a new land to call their home.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The Emperor of the Pearls looks like a male but has a fairly feminine voice (he's voiced by a woman). All the male Pearls in fact are, and look effeminate by human measures.
  • Dungeon Bypass: During Valerian's chase after the Pearls that abducted Commander Filitt through Alpha, he's eventually forced to take the most direct route, which involves charging straight through thick metal walls, boosting through aquatic biotopes and crossing at least one Bottomless Pit by creating Temporary Platforms. His Powered Armor makes it possible.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: By the journey's end, the Pearls succeed in restoring their way of life on board a ship that faithfully projects what their world was like, Commander Filitt has been exposed for his crimes, Valerian and Laureline are proven not guilty for their supposed "treason" and they finally tie the knot together.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: By the time of the events aboard Alpha, Planet Mül, the Pearls' homeworld, doesn't exist anymore, courtesy of a probably unintentional Colony Drop caused by Commander Filitt.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The owner of a brothel offering Shapeshifters Do It for a Change services is introduced throwing out an overly perverted client.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning:
    • During the Progressive Era Montage of the growing Space Station, the last human vessel shown docking is a large vessel with spinning sections.
    • The Pearls' spaceship has a sleek tetrahedron design that's constantly spinning around its various axes while on the move.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: All the movie's present-day events happen within less than 24 hours.
  • Face Hugger: Head Hugger even. Laureline reluctantly agrees to stick her head into a huge blue jellyfish in her effort to find Valerian after he's gone missing (It Makes Sense in Context). It's heavily implied that the orifice she needs to invade is not the jellyfish's mouth, but rather the opposite. The thing will also start devouring her memories if she keeps it on for too long.
  • Fanservice:
    • If you like thin, opalescent aliens, then you're in luck. The Pearls' outfits leave little to the imagination.
    • Bubble's dance is basically a PG stripper routine performed in a sequence of fetish costumes.
    • Cara Delevingne's Walking Swimsuit Scene right in her first appearance on screen certainly got a few hearts pumping as well. Her next outfit is only marginally less revealing. Even her actual military uniform is tightly fitted and features a miniskirt. It's not until after they receive their new mission on Alpha that she finally dons a set of full-body armor which mostly matches Valerian's.
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed but still there, and pretty widespread at that. Even the protagonists indulge in it quite frequently.
  • Fat Bastard: Igon Siruss, a heavy set alien and one of the most notorious criminals in the galaxy. The Boullan-Bathor emperor as well.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Commander Flitt's fate would appear to be this, from his point of view anyway. Before ordering the K-Trons to open fire, he declares that as a soldier he would rather die than be disgraced. At the end, Valerian and Laureline leave him trussed up and dangling like a pinata but very much alive. General Bar orders his men to arrest Flitt, thus guaranteeing that Flitt will live in disgrace.
  • The Federation: The United Human Federation which runs Alpha, a.k.a. The City of a Thousand Planets.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The three Doghan Daguis sometimes do this, much like Donald Duck's nephews. Actually they kinda look like ducks...
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: The Mül people will never forget what the humans (more specifically, Commander Flitt) did to their home planet, but they're willing to look past seeking simple revenge in favor of finding a way to restore their way of life.
  • Forgot About His Powers: During the sequence where he chases the ship through the space station, Valerian shows the power armor to have all kinds of cool functions—it's strong enough to bust through the station walls, it has jets on the boots, and it deploys forcefields for him to run across empty space on. Laureline has the exact same armor. She also has extreme martial arts skills, and broke out of a compound full of people who wanted to keep her there just a couple scenes ago. Yet when she's captured by the Boulan Bathor, she uses exactly none of these after talking her way out (which, to be fair, was a good place to start) doesn't work.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Pearls must be this to an absurd degree. When they're introduced in the prologue, their technology is more or less on the Stone Age level, with stone/bone-tipped spears being the only tools they openly wield. Thirty years later, they've developed non-lethal but very effective slime rifles, impenetrable Deflector Shields for both infantry and large vessels, spaceships that put every high-end gear at the protagonists' disposal to shame, and another spaceship that's essentially Bigger on the Inside to harbor an entire artificial biosphere including an ocean with beautiful beaches. They accomplished all this by studying a human spaceship wreck they were trapped in for several years, and with none of them ever having been in contact with anything from beyond their homeworld before.
  • Gatling Good: The watchtowers around the Market on Kyrion mount compact minigun-style weapons. When Valerian and Laureline are forced into a hasty retreat from there, their escape vehicle also breaks one out on its roof. Both are epically ineffective against the beasty thing that Siruss sics on the heroes during the Action Prologue.
  • General Ripper: Commander Filitt fits the bill. He's the one responsible for Planet Mül's destruction in the prologue, and thirty years later he serves as the movie's Big Bad. Even his own troops are openly wary of him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Commander Filitt apparently crossed a major one by deploying a special weapon type at the height of the space battle that would end up destroying the Pearls' homeworld. It's so bad that his shocked XO asks him to confirm the order a second time. When Filitt does so, the XO executes the attack while visibly uncomfortable and with a resigned prayer. The target - presumably the enemy command ship - is successfully crippled and goes on to perform the Colony Drop that's prominently featured in the trailers.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Subverted. When Laureline is captured by the Boullan-Bathor, a servant coerces her to try on different dresses. As it's revealed however, she's not being forced to wear them to make herself sexually appealing but instead deliciously so for the species' emperor.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Valerian and Laureline may be the movie's heroes, but he's an arrogant, selfish, womanizing jerkass most of the time, and she's both equally cocky and racist, albeit still a lot more altruistic than her partner. Also, Laureline doesn't hesitate to shoot a civilian informant when she doesn't get what she wants.
  • Great Offscreen War: Zigzagged. Although we see one battle, which is crucial to the plot, we never find out what the war was about, who the enemy was, or what went on prior to the final battle.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Laureline inadvertently starts one with an alien that's holding her hostage. She ends up Covered in Gunge for her troubles.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: How Valerian dresses when trying to blend in on Kyrian.
  • Honor Before Reason: Commander Filitt's motivation in a nutshell. He'd rather cover up, pin the blame on others and outright kill his fellow soldiers if it means being exposed for causing genocide against a perfectly innocent species just so he could win a war.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Well, some of them at least. It was Commander Filitt who was responsible for the destruction of Planet Mül and almost all of the 6 million Pearls on it. The movie is set thirty years later and revolves around his ruthless attempts to tie up loose ends by exterminating the last survivors. The human protagonists aren't exempt either - Valerian in particular is a pretty inconsiderate jackass who seems to care little for the wellbeing of species other than his own.
  • Humans Are Special: Alpha, the gigantic space station where most of the movie plays out, originated as an ever-growing, international agglomeration of primitive human space stations in Earth's orbit. Over the course of decades and perhaps centuries, aliens from all across the universe flocked to Alpha and settled there. The place is run by the United Human Federation, though it is apparently possible for humans to be kicked off the station and suffer economic sanctions if the other species wish.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Valerian is an impulsive, cocky womanizer who tends to be condescending even to people who outrank him. His conversation with Bubble reveals that he's compensating because he doesn't want to show any weakness to others, even if it is sabotaging his attempts to woo Laureline because that's exactly what she dislikes about him.
  • Informed Ability: Bubble is supposed to be a master thespian, but Rihanna's flat line delivery doesn't give any credence to those claims.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: The helmet of Valerian's (and presumably Laureline's) space suit is transparent.
  • Insult Backfire: Laureline calls the bird-like alien information brokers "stupid pigeons". None of them know what a pigeon is.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The transmatter box that is used to bring objects bought in Big Market back to the main universe.
  • It's All About Me: Commander Filitt could care less that he caused the near-genocide of an entire race and is attempting to finish the job. He just doesn't want to get in trouble.
  • Killer Robot: Commander Filitt's K-Trons. Everything about these hulking, black-armored Cyber Cyclopses screams trouble.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Averted. Valerian isn't amused when Bubble taps into his memories of him and Laureline; it's at that point he puts a gun to her head and starts Aggressive Negotiations. Likewise when Laureline realises that it's not Valerian bending over her with a cheap pick-up line (because she can see Valerian fighting nearby) she punches Bubble in the face.
    Bubble: Ok, I deserved that.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Valerian for Laureline.
  • Last of Their Kind: The small group of Pearls that hide in the depths of Alpha are all that's left of their people. An even more extreme example is the transmutator everyone's after - it's repeatedly stated to be the very last specimen of its species.
  • MacGuffin: The transmutator and, to a lesser extent, a certain pearl.
  • Mama Bear: Valerian accidentally upsets an alien kid when he's in the black market early on by smearing some green slime on his face after the kid did it to him. Then mom comes in and throws his ass to the curb.
  • Mauve Shirt: The two Bridge Bunnies working for General Bar manage to handily survive the K-Trons opening fire on Alpha's command center and wiping out most of the staff. In particular, Sergeant Neza, when ordered to get across a room during a gunfight, uses the same type of platform gun used by Valerian earlier in the film, using it to make temporary cover while he moves, before hotwiring the control to disable the K-Trons while under fire.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Again, the K-Tron robots that serve Commander Filitt.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Omnilights, a robotic race known for their banking skills.
  • Mega City: Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprising thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. It very much has a Fifth Element feeling to it, only with more aliens.
  • Mexican Standoff: One that happens during the deal involving the Transmutator with Valerian, Igon, his personnel and Mül people all pointing all sorts weaponry at each other.
  • Mind Rape: The Doghan Daguis warn Laureline about the jellyfish's effects on those who wear it, that it "eats memories". She almost winds up being hit with this trope before she finally takes it off in the nick of time.
  • Moment Killer: When Valerian is about to kiss Laureline, an army of Boullan-Bathor charges at them.
  • More Dakka: Igon's gun has two barrels... that can be aimed at two individual targets in front of him simultaneously. Judging by the smug grin on his face when he pulls this trick during a Mexican Standoff, it's not a particularly common feature.
  • Mythology Gag: Valerian getting chewed out for being late is a reference to a Running Gag in the comics, where Valerian is never on time for a meeting despite being in the Time Police.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers show several glimpses of various cool-looking aliens in otherworldly enviroments, making it seem like the story is about Valérian and Laureline traveling through Alpha and meeting them. In the movie, it turns out those glimpses are the only thing we'll ever get to see of them, as the majority of those aliens are only shown in the short montages that introduce Alpha and the Big Market, and the actual plot mostly revolves around only two alien species.
    • The publicity talks of a plot to destroy Alpha, whereas it's actually just the Big Bad destroying evidence of a past atrocity, and the aforementioned plot is an excuse for the Big Bad to do as already mentioned.
  • Nice Hat: Laureline invokes this when meeting their support for the Action Prologue.
    • She is later forced by the Boullan-Bathor to wear a hilariously huge one during her captivity in Alpha's bowels. She even lampshades its insane size. It's not a hat—it's a dinner plate.
  • Noble Savage: The Pearls are repeatedly considered this. Eventually subverted when we learn how they went from Stone Age tech levels to being able to construct a spaceship with an artificial recreation of their destroyed homeworld inside from scrap just by studying the tech of a human space derelict over the course of a few years.
  • No Conservation of Energy: The transmutators can produce replicas of anything they eat. In fact, they excrete more of said substances than what they eat, and the extras have all the properties of the original - which in the case of the Mül pearls, means having enough energy stored in them to run a spaceship.
  • Obviously Evil: It's pretty clear from the outset that Commander Filitt is the movie's Big Bad due to his behavior and the fact that he's introduced alongside his guard detail of huge, black, intimidating K-Trons. It's also painfully obvious that the latter will eventually turn on the good guys.
  • Off with His Head!: The Boullan-Bathor emperor is about to crack Laureline's skull to eat her brain when Valerian intervenes and cuts off the top of his head instead with a Diagonal Cut.
  • Over-the-Top Secret: Everything about Planet Mül is classified at an extreme level. Valerian tries to access the information, only to be told he needs a General's clearance. When General Bar tries, he can't get into the files either.
  • People Puppets: Used by Laureline when breaking into the Market on Kyrion - in a memorable manner, too; she hits a guard with a dart that allows one of the soldiers with her to control his body through an Augmented Reality interface, thus leaving everyone unaware that a guard's been taken out. The puppeted guard even provides fire support for their escape.
  • Planet Spaceship: What Alpha has become over time.
  • Progressive Era Montage: An opening montage shows the evolution of a human Space Station into the eponymous city in space, and its role as a diplomatic nexus first for human races, then alien ones.
  • Projected Man: Tourists visiting Big Market are projected as holograms there.
  • Really Gets Around: Valerian's infamous "playlist" is implied to consist of all the women he's been with to date. Judging by what's briefly shown on screen, it counts roughly a hundred entries, possibly more. Not bad for a guy who appears to be in his late twenties (his actor was 30 years old at the time of filming) and has a dangerous full-time job with presumably little free time. It's one of the main reasons why Laureline is so reluctant to start anything serious with him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of them, actually, with General Bar being the most outstanding example.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The K-Trons' single "eyes" turn red once they switch to combat mode. Also counts as an example of Color-Coded for Your Convenience as their eyes glow in different colors as well, depending on their status.
  • Red Light District: Paradise Alley is an area of Alpha that's full of brothels.
  • Red Shirt: The squad of soldiers who accompany Valerian and Laureline on their mission at the beginning of the movie. Not one of them survive it.
  • Rescue Romance: Laureline loosens up a bit after Valerian saves her from being eaten by the Emperor. Of course she's saved his life earlier, and it's implied this is a regular occurrence.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The transmutators look like an adorable reptile/rat/armadillo hybrid the size of a small cat, are totally docile and have some amazing abilities.
  • Sea Monster: The gigantic Bromosaurs.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: According to the update Valerian and Laureline get upon arriving to the station is that, since it left Earth's orbit 400 years ago, Alpha has traveled nearly 700 million miles... which equates to about 7.5 astronomical units. All this would put the station somewhere between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, not deep in interstellar space.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie's visuals are absolutely stunning.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Might as well be Laureline's Catch-Phrase. She openly says that she's not big on following orders, which makes you wonder how she managed to become one of humanity's most elite agents.
  • Shapeshifter: Bubble can change her appearance (hair color, hairstyle and clothes) in an instant.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Zigzagged for Bubble. She initially reverts to her true form, but then changes again to die as the form she first met Valerian in (albeit in a different costume) and then eventually turns into dust.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the first of many aliens we see in the opening scene bears a resemblance to the Mondoshawans. The press conference scene has an alien looking like one of Mangalores (from the same movie). Unsurprising, seeing how both films were by the same director.
    • Igon gives Valerian the "Wherever you are, I will find you and kill you" speech from Taken, complete with Valerian answering, "Good luck."
    • The K-Trons bear a striking resemblance to armored Mandalorians as they're depicted in Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel.
    • At the start and finish of Bubble's dance, she bears a striking resemblance to Sally Bowles.
    • Among the many prostitutes than Valerian encounters in Paradise Alley, one of them just so happens to be Jessica Rabbit.
  • Space Elves: The Pearls are a very straight example of the 'close to the nature'-variant. They become the enlightened mystic race variant once they leave their home planet and learn languages, science, engineering and navigation.
  • Space Jews: Laureline gets information from a trio of short, dark, long-snouted aliens called Doghan Daguis who are shady information peddlers always trying to make a deal for profit, echoing many Jewish stereotypes. Their mannerisms are also vaguely stereotypical for New York Jews.
  • Spaceship Girl: Valerian's ship has a female A.I. called Alex.
  • Spiritual Successor: To The Fifth Element. In fact, for the longest time, Besson felt that Element was the closest he'd come to making an adaptation of the comics but thanks to the advances in movie making tech with Avatar, it was enough to convince him to fulfill his dreams.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: Boxy, grey, covered in greebles, and organized in a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: In the trailer, a carrier can be seen unleashing Space Fighters and a Cruiser-size space ship is seen nearby.
  • Starfish Aliens: Loads of them in all shapes and sizes. One species even seems to be actual starfishes wearing Powered Armor for operations on dry ground.
  • Stealth Insult: When Alice tells Valerian that a scan shows his cerebral activity is a little more intense than usual, Laureline is shown giving a smirk.
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: Called Exospace here.
  • Temporary Platform: Valerian uses a gun to create temporary energy platforms to cross a ravine while under fire. Sergeant Neza later uses a similar gun to create cover while running across a room during a gunfight.
  • Time Skip: The movie opens with the birth of what would eventually become the Alpha space station. The actual story is then set 400 years later.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Valerian finds himself faced with this dilemma when Laureline wants to return the transmutator to the Pearls. He insists that it's government property and that they don't have the right to give it up while Laureline insists that it's the right thing to do, regulations be damned. In the end, Valerian opts to support Laureline's decision to return the transmutator to the Pearls.
  • To Serve Man: Laureline almost gets eaten at one point, and she's literally being served to the eater when it happens.
  • Translation by Volume: After Laureline is kidnapped by the Boullan-Bathor she tries this trope with the servant holding her, who's more interested in having her try out dresses. After failing to make the servant Take Me to Your Leader or at least fetch a translator, she loses her temper and tries to intimidate with a loud roar. The servant responds with a longer and louder roar which leaves Laureline Covered in Gunge.
  • Tsundere: Laureline's a Type A and with pretty good reason, mainly due to Valerian's womanizing ways. But she does show a sweet side whenever he's in danger, most noticeably when she finds him in the caves after his jet crashes and at the climax where the pair give each other an Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The entire middle portion of the movie between Laureline's kidnapping and subsequent rescue does not advance the plot in any meaningful way, but gives a lot of eye candy courtesy of bizarre alien creatures and a pole-dancing Rihanna.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Igon Siruss completely disappears from the movie once the first act ended, though he does leave a threat to Valerian that he will find and kill him.
    • It's never revealed who or what the human fleet under Commander Filitt's command is fighting against over Planet Mül. Whatever they are, they're apparently formidable enough that Filitt has to deploy a devastating weapon that results in the planet's destruction to take them down.
    • So, what happened to the troops sent to investigate "the radiation"? Answer, since they were sent with K-trons, K-trons happened to them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Commander Filitt appears to be genuine about his claims that everything reprehensible he did and does is for the good of humanity, basically boiling the justification down to I Did What I Had to Do.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Pearl's plan to restore their home? It's actually just to rebuild and power a spaceship that projects their planet virtually, but they are content with it.

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