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Zack Snyder's 'mature' Star Wars movie coming to Netflix

Disney rejected Star Wars: The Snyder Cut, so the Army of the Dead director filed off the serial numbers and sold it to Netflix.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Seven Samurai poster
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Seven Samurai poster

Akira Kurasawa's Seven Samurai, which partly inspired Star Wars, which inspired Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon (which also sounds a lot like it was inspired by Seven Samurai).

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Zack Snyder pitched a Star Wars movie 10 years ago, but Lucasfilm didn't go for it. So he's changed the name to Rebel Moon and is now making the movie as a potential franchise-starter for Netflix .

"This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan," Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter. Snyder, the director of Army of the Dead and Justice League, revealed that Rebel Moon began life as a Star Wars pitch that never went anywhere once Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012. 

The story will involve a peaceful colony sending a mysterious young woman to recruit interplanetary warriors and take on the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. So basically it's a combination of Star Wars and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film Seven Samurai (which also inspired the classic western The Magnificent Seven, not to mention sci-fi clunker Battle Beyond the Stars, itself a 1980 Star Wars ripoff).

This isn't the first time a filmmaker reuses a rejected pitch, which is smart business in anyone's book -- it's just interesting to see Snyder acknowledge it up front. There's no reason such a directly inspired story can't be a hit in its own right: Fifty Shades of Grey infamously began life as Twilight fanfic, and a little movie named Star Wars became a hit in 1977 after writer and director George Lucas recycled the plot from Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress.

Rebel Moon's tone is suggested by the fact that Snyder's pitch to Lucasfilm proposed a "mature take" on the Star Wars galaxy, perhaps similar to his dark and gritty version of the DC comics universe beginning with Man of Steel in 2013 and building to this year's four-hour Justice League Snyder Cut.

The news comes after 72 million Netflix subscribers are reported to have pressed play on Snyder's zombie action movie Army of the Dead. 

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