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Behind the scenes of sci-fi spectacular 'Valerian'

"Fifth Element" director Luc Besson says he's waited his entire life to adapt the influential sci-fi comic into this eye-popping movie.

Now playing: Watch this: 'Valerian': A sci-fi spectacular 40 years in the making

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is set to be one of the most spectacular movies of 2017. Here's a look behind the scenes -- or should we say, a Luc behind the scenes, as director Luc Besson explains how he's waited his entire life to make the film.

The movie is based on a series of highly influential French comics starring time-travelling space-farers Valerian and Laureline, played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Besson has been a lifelong fan of the comics, but it was only after seeing "Avatar" that he believed visual effects were up to the task of re-creating the wildly imaginative futurescape of the comics. 

Besson's earlier sci-fi spectacular "The Fifth Element" was inspired by the same comics. Besson even hired the artist responsible for Valerian and Laureline's adventures, Jean-Claude Mézières, to craft concept art for the earlier film. In this video, Mézières is back on set, telling DeHaan he drew the story on which the new film is based some four decades ago. 

Besson also reveals that "The Fifth Element" had 188 effects shots. "Valerian" has 2,734. The eye-popping trailers reveal a future stuffed full of neon-coloured planets, aliens of all shapes and sizes, and jaw-dropping action scenes. 

The film also stars Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer and a shape-changing Rihanna

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is in theatres in the US on 21 July, the UK on 2 August and Australia on 10 August.

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Now playing: Watch this: 'Valerian' trailer is a feast for the eyes