Why Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon Isn't A Star Wars Movie


Is there such a thing as too much "Star Wars"? Qui-Gon Jinn actor Liam Neeson thinks so. Speaking back in February 2023, Neeson argued that the sheer number of "Star Wars" spinoffs produced by Disney has "taken away the mystery and the magic in a weird way" (despite having appeared in a handful of those spinoffs himself).

Personally, as a longtime Starwoid, I think "Star Wars" is in the same boat as the superhero genre right now. It's not, per se, that there's too much "Star Wars" ... although it certainly wouldn't hurt if Disney slowed down the pace. It's that most of it avoids going for the big swings, save for "Andor," "The Last Jedi," and the vast majority of "Star Wars" animation (all of which not-so-coincidentally happen to be among the most critically-acclaimed "Star Wars" titles to come out of the Disney era). That, and the franchise has started embracing an it's-all-connected approach that makes it harder for any one project to stand alone.

As it turns out, Zack Snyder had a bad feeling "Star Wars" was headed in this direction back when he pitched a standalone film inspired by Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (itself famously one of the classics that influenced George Lucas to create "Star Wars" in the first place). This ultimately led to Snyder reworking the project into Netflix's two-part original sci-fi epic "Rebel Moon," having realized the House of Mouse would never allow him to make his film the way he wanted.

A non-starter

Zack Snyder has never been coy about where he got the idea for "Rebel Moon." "It was 'Seven Samurai' in space," he told Empire, "and a Star Wars movie was my original concept for it." Disney has only just bought Lucasfilm in 2012 when Snyder, then in post-production on "Man of Steel," came a-knockin'. "There was that window where, you know, who knows what's possible?" he explained. Indeed, Snyder never envisioned the film being part of the Skywalker Saga at all. In his own words:

Snyder wasn't the only filmmaker to approach Disney about making a more adult "Star Wars" film, although he did so knowing full well the most family-friendly studio on the planet probably wouldn't go for it. "I knew it was a big ask, to be honest," he told Empire. "But the deeper I got into it, I realized it was probably never going to be what I wanted."

Love him or hate him (or something in-between), I think we can all agree: Snyder's better off playing in sandboxes of his own creation rather than trying to manage the fan expectations that come with huge franchises like "Star Wars" and DC. Netflix is even planning to stream R-rated cuts of the "Rebel Moon" films after their initial PG-13 versions, allowing Snyder the space to make these movies as brutal and bloody as he desires. Good luck convincing the Mouse House to sign off on something like that.

"Rebel Moon Part 1" begins streaming on Netflix on December 22, 2023.

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