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Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon, an upcoming blockbuster film that Netflix hopes to use as the launching pad for a Star Wars-esque franchise, has located its leading star in Sofia Boutella (The Mummy, Star Trek Beyond), Deadline confirmed Tuesday. Snyder will direct the film from a screenplay he's currently penning alongside Shay Hatten (Army of Thieves) and Kurt Johnstad (300).
Appearing on a recent episode of the Post-Credit Podcast, the filmmaker described the piece as "an ensemble" and stressed the importance of casting actors who could bring "a freshness, but a gravitas and sort of importance to the role[s]." He also likened the genre scope of Rebel Moon to the Krypton-based opening of 2013's Man of Steel, "but on the biggest steroids that I can give it."
Inspired by the cinematic touchstones helmed by Akira Kurosawa, Rebel Moon revolves around a young woman (played by Boutella) sent to recruit reinforcements from other planets when a power-hungry tyrant threatens to conquer her peaceful settlement at the edge of the galaxy. Think Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, and A Bug's Life — just in outer space.
“This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” Snyder, who conceived of the central story with Johnstad, remarked to The Hollywood Reporter when the project was first announced over the summer. “It’s my love of sci-fi and a giant adventure. My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.”
Snyder is producing the movie with his wife, Deborah Snyder, and their Army of the Dead collaborator, Wesley Coller (the trio are united under the Snyders' Stone Quarry banner, which has a first-look deal with Netflix). Sarah Bowen and Eric Newman of Grand Electric serve as executive producer and producer, respectively.
Newman actually helped give Snyder his start with 2004's remake of Dawn of the Dead (written by an up-and-coming James Gunn) at Universal Pictures. At the time, the studio's vice-chairman was Scott Stuber, current head of Netflix's film division. Small world!
"We're just plugging away," Snyder said of Rebel Moon to Inverse. "It's so huge and so crazy but really exciting, and I'm super excited as we get closer to sharing some art and casting, because it's all starting to come together."
The filmmaker is also busy expanding the Army of the Dead mythos via the Dieter-focused prequel feature, Army of Thieves (which arrived on Netflix at the tail end of October); an anime prequel series about the origins of the zombie outbreak, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas (currently in production); and a direct sequel entitled Planet of the Dead.