Zack Snyder's Star Wars Copy 'Rebel Moon' Ramps Up in First Photos

Rebel Moon has begun filming.

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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Zack Snyder has teased the first look at Rebel Moon, a Netflix sci-fi epic that began as a rejected Star Wars pitch. 

Snyder, the director of Army of the Dead and Justice League, pitched his  Star Wars idea to Lucasfilm a decade ago. But when it was rejected he got rid of the Star Wars references, changed the name to Rebel Moon and is now filming the movie for  Netflix . Snyder and Netflix see this as the potential beginning for an epic sci-fi franchise.

Having shared concept art in December, Snyder showed off new photos on Twitter Tuesday to mark the beginning of filming: a portrait of Djimon Hounsou's character, plus on-set photos of what will probably be some kind of spaceship entry ramp.

The film's story involves a peaceful colony on the fringes of the galaxy, which sends a mysterious young woman to recruit interplanetary warriors who'll battle a tyrannical dictator named Balisarius. So as well as Star Wars, it clearly draws inspiration from Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film Seven Samurai (which also inspired classic western The Magnificent Seven, as well as another Star Wars ripoff, 1980's Battle Beyond the Stars).

Rebel Moon stars Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Ray Fisher, Doona Bae, Jena Malone, Cary Elwes, Corey Stoll, Staz Nair, E. Duffy, Charlotte Maggi, Sky Yang, Rupert Friend and Stuart Martin from Netflix's Army of the Dead spin-off Army of Thieves.

When Rebel Moon was first announced, Snyder described the film's tone as a "mature take" on Star Wars, perhaps similar to his dark and gritty vision of the DC comics universe, beginning with Man of Steel in 2013 and building to the bum-numbing four-hour Justice League Snyder Cut.

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