Thanks to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, blockbuster sci-fi adventures can be trippy again. Bulbous monsters, sparkly outfits, zero-G hairstyles, starscapes that look like 1970s prog rock album covers—it’s all cool now. And that means, strangely, that the world is finally ready for a movie based on the 1960s comic book that started the psychedelic sci-fi craze in the first place.
That’s what you’ll see in this first full-length trailer for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the tale of Valerian and Laureline, two spacio-temporal agents hired to guard the universe’s only intergalactic library in the insanely colorful cosmopolis Alpha. The film is directed by The Fifth Element mastermind Luc Besson, whose most recent movie was the transhumanist hit Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson. As for Valerian‘s plot, there’s some kind of vague menace threatening not just the future of knowledge, but all of space-time.
The story looks fun, but the backstory is downright fascinating. Director Besson has been obsessed with the original French comic Valérian et Laureline for almost his entire career. Created in 1967 by French literature professor Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières, the comic tackled social and philosophical issues with a strong dose of mid-century radicalism. What made it unique was the combination of political commentary with Mézières’ crazy, colorful art. Mézières was a close friend of Jean Giraud, creator of influential sci-fi comic Mobius. Both Mézières and Giraud’s work were the immediate forerunners of the sexy/otherworldly style found in Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal) magazine.