Rebel Moon: key information

– Part One arrives in December, Part Two in April 2024
– Directed by Zack Snyder
– Stars Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, and Charlie Hunnam among others
– Inspired by Star Wars and Akira Kurosawa
– Idea repurposed after Snyder’s Star Wars movie pitch was rejected
– Official trailer released in August; second trailer coming November 12
– Plot synopsis revealed
– R-rated versions and Snyder Cut edition coming in late 2024
– Will spawn a Rebel Moon universe, which is shared with Snyder’s other Netflix movie Army of the Dead

Rebel Moon is set to be Zack Snyder’s next tentpole movie and his second exclusive film for Netflix. After spending a whopping 11 years in production – and even longer in development – the space epic is almost here. And, whisper it quietly, it could end up being the writer-director’s magnum opus.

Likened by some as Snyder’s very own Star Wars or Dune, the fantasy space opera is going to be at the top of many people’s holiday season movie lists. Indeed, we wouldn’t be surprised if it sneaks onto our best Netflix movies guide before 2023 ends, depending on how well it’s received.

Until the first step in this new Snyder-Verse is taken, though, here’s everything you need to know about one of the year’s final new Netflix movies. From release dates for its two halves and its cast list, to its plot synopsis and that epic trailer, below is a handy guide to what to expect from Rebel Moon.

Rebel Moon release date

A hooded Kora stares at something in the distance in Rebel Moon on Netflix

Rebel Moon has been split in two at Netflix’s request. (Image credit: Chris Strother/Netflix)

We already knew that Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon would lead Netflix’s exciting 2023 movie line-up, but it wasn’t until late August that the world’s best streaming service announced its official release date.

And, by release date, we obviously mean two. Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire debuts on Netflix globally on Friday, December 22. Per Variety, it’s also getting a very limited 70mm theatrical release between December 15 and 21, too, but you’ll need to visit one of the four cinemas listed below to catch it:

  • Egyptian Theatre (Los Angeles)
  • Paris Theater (New York City)
  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (Toronto)
  • Prince Charles Cinema (London)

Once Part One is released, Snyder fans and general cinephiles will have a four month wait on their hands for its sequel. Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver will arrive on April 19, 2024.

But wait, there’s more. In June, we reported you’ll be able to watch two different cuts of Rebel Moon, with R-rated cuts set to arrive on the streamer in late 2024 (per Variety). Snyder has also confirmed that that a director’s cut is also being worked on, which will stitch the two movies together into a single entity. Clearly, Snyder wants Rebel Moon‘s director’s cut to test your movie runtime limits.

Rebel Moon trailer

Rebel Moon‘s official teaser trailer was released in late August – and it showed off the spectacularly creative and slow-mo-infused flick in all its glory.

Indeed, if there was any doubt that Rebel Moon is Netflix’s terrific answer to Star Wars, this ridiculously long teaser (well, long by teaser trailer standards) proved it. Despite the amount of footage on show, it doesn’t give too much away about the movie’s plot, either. You’ll need to read its story synopsis in our plot section for more details on that.

What it does show, though, is Snyder and Netflix aren’t holding back in attempting to deliver another gorgeous-looking, imaginative universe for audiences to get lost in. Quite frankly, we can’t wait to do so, either.

Rebel Moon is also set to take the spotlight as part of 2023’s Geeked Week – it’s one of eight Netflix movies and TV shows we’re excited to learn more about – on Sunday, November 12, with a new trailer debuting on that date. Expect more action-packed, dramatically thrilling, and awe-inspiring sci-fi shots to be shown off shortly.

Rebel Moon cast

A promotional image of the main rebel group in Netflix's Rebel Moon movie

Rebel Moon‘s cast is full of recognizable faces. (Image credit: Clay Enos/Netflix)

Here’s the official cast for Rebel Moon, which Netflix offered a first look at all the way back in February 2022:

  • Sofia Boutella as Kora 
  • Djimon Hounsou as General Titus 
  • Charlie Hunnam as Kai 
  • Michiel Huisman as Gunnar 
  • Staz Nair as Tarak 
  • Doona Bae as Nemesis 
  • Ray Fisher as Darrian Bloodaxe 
  • Cleopatra Coleman as Devra Bloodaxe 
  • Ed Skrein as Admiral Atticus Noble 
  • Fra Fee as Regent Balisarius 
  • E. Duffy as Millius 
  • Jena Malone as Harmada 
  • Anthony Hopkins as Jimmy 

Boutella’s Kora is the star of this particular show. A former member of the tyrannical Imperium (think Star Wars‘ Galactic Empire), Kora is the one who rallies warriors from across the galaxy to fight against the oppressive regime, with many of the above joining the call to arms. That includes Hounsou’s Titus, another Imperium rebel, and Hunnam’s mercenary starship pilot Kai.

Boutella told Vanity Fair that Kora represents the idea of people who run from their problems, until that becomes an issue in itself: “She knows the guilt that she’s been living with, and the first step of her redemption is doing something about it instead of going away. I think that, as much as it is sci-fi, it’s a very human story.”

Two of the most esoteric parts will be played by Malone, who plays a spider-being called Harmada, and Hopkins, who voices a centuries-old mechanical-knight-like robot called Jimmy.

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On the antagonists’ side, Fee’s Balisarius and Skrein’s Noble are the most notable. The former is the Imperium’s fascist leader, with the latter their loyal right-hand man.

“I’ve played antagonists at points in my career in the past, and I think when I’ve done it well, I’ve been able to add some kind of humanity and some kind of empathy to the characters,” Skrein told Vanity Fair. “This is a bit different. With this character, I pointedly chose to leave humanity out of it completely for the first time.”

In addition to the above, there are a number of other actors who have been cast in undisclosed roles. Stuart Martin, Corey Stoll, Cary Elwes, Alfonso Herrera, Rhian Rees, and Ray Porter are among that contingent.

Rebel Moon plot: synopsis and rumors

Atticus Noble walks down a ramp with some Imperium soldiers in Rebel Moon

Admiral Atticus Noble is one of the primary villains in Rebel Moon. (Image credit: Justin Lubin/Netflix)

Rebel Moon‘s official plot synopsis reads as follows: “After crash landing on a moon in the furthest reaches of the universe, Kora (Boutella), a stranger with a mysterious past, begins a new life among a peaceful settlement of farmers. But she soon becomes their only hope for survival when the tyrannical Regent Balisarius (Fee) and his cruel emissary, Admiral Noble (Skrein), discover the farmers have unwittingly sold their crops to the Bloodaxes (Coleman and Fisher) – leaders of a fierce group of insurgents hunted by the Motherworld. 

“Tasked with finding fighters who would risk their lives to defend the people of Veldt, Kora and Gunnar (Huisman), a tenderhearted farmer naive in the realities of war, journey to different worlds in search of the Bloodaxes, and assemble a small band of warriors who share a common need for redemption along the way: Kai (Hunnam), a pilot and gun for hire; General Titus (Hounsou), a legendary commander; Nemesis (Doona), a master swordswoman; Tarak (Nair), a captive with a regal past; and Milius (Duffy), a resistance fighter. 

“Back on Veldt, Jimmy (Hopkins), an ancient mechanized protector hiding in the wings, awakens with a new purpose. But the newly formed revolutionaries must learn to trust each other and fight as one before the armies of the Motherworld come to destroy them all.”

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Speaking to Netflix Tudum about what inspired the film’s ‘band of brothers’ approach, Snyder said: “I’ve always loved this idea of these underdog teams going against impossible odds. Even in college, when they would ask us what kind of a movie we were going to make when we got out of school, I said ‘I’m going to make a space team-building underdog movie’. And so it went on to the back burner for a long time.”

Rebel Moon, then, has been in development for a long time. In fact, as we alluded to earlier, it evolved into a plausible Star Wars project, with Snyder telling Tudum it “saw light briefly as a [potential] Star Wars movie”. However, after pitching it to Lucasfilm around 2012 (a pitch that was rejected), Snyder and company reworked it into its current story and universe (more on this later), with the writer-director adding: “It just felt like, during the pandemic, it really gestated into a real movie. While Army of the Dead was probably still in post, I was pitching it to Netflix as a follow-up, what I wanted to do next.”

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Alongside the obvious comparisons to Star Wars, Snyder also revealed (via) The Hollywood Reporter that there was another big influence on him and the resulting film. “This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” he said in 2021. “It’s my love of sci-fi and a giant adventure”. Snyder has also cited The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, and Seven Samurai as other big inspirations on this flick.

Like Army of the Dead, Snyder’s first project under his Netflix deal – and viewed by 72 million people in its first four weeks, according to the streamer’s in-house data – which has now expanded out into prequel and sequel films, he plans to do the same with Rebel Moon, saying: “My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.” Pah, who needs the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) anyway?

Rebel Moon’s future on Netflix

Tarak bows down to a hippogriff-like animal in Netflix's Rebel Moon

Rebel Moon exists in the same universe as Army of the Dead. (Image credit: Netflix)

As we mentioned in our release date section, for those who like their films a little more graphic, Rebel Moon will get an R-rated extended cut, in addition to its original PG-13-rated cut, as well as releasing a Snyder Cut, too. 

“The director’s cut is close to an hour of extra content, so I think it’s a legitimate extended universe version,” Snyder told Tudum. “The director’s [cut] is a settle-in deep dive, which I have notoriously done throughout my career. I don’t know how I got into this director’s cut thing, but what I will say about it is that, for me, the director’s cuts have always been something I had to fight for in the past and nobody wanted it. It was this bastard child that I was always trying to put together because they felt like there was a deeper version. 

“And with Netflix, we shot scenes just for the director’s cut. So in that way, it’s really a revelation because it gives that second kick at the can for big fans, like a real discovery that they would not [otherwise] get.”

The sequel, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, was filmed at the same time as its predecessor, so there’s not long to wait at all for the follow-up film, either.

Deborah Synder, the director’s wife and producing partner, also explained to Vanity Fair the reason that the film was split in two: “[Netflix boss] Scott Stuber was like, ‘On the service, under-two-hour movies really do better for some reason,’ even though you’ll binge-watch a series of eight episodes. 

“Zack said ‘If you ask me to make this less than two hours, I’m going to lose all the character. You won’t care about these people. It’s a character story about how people can change, and redemption, and what are you willing to fight for…’ So he said ‘What if I give you two movies?’” As the saying goes, the rest is history.

Speaking of history, there’s plenty more that could be explored in Rebel Moon‘s universe – one it surprisingly shares with Army of the Dead, in fact – if the two movies prove successful. In a New York Times article, it’s suggested Rebel Moon‘s main story will actually be told across a trilogy of films, so it’s possible another entry will be greenlit (if it hasn’t already been secretly) in the near future.

This is just the start of an expansive new IP for Netflix, too, if Snyder gets his way. Speaking to Total Film, he revealed his ambitions to make an animated series, an animated comic book (whatever that is), and a narrative-driven podcast, which will open up the universe to fans of all forms of media. Oh, and a co-op action video game is coming from Super Evil Megacorp, too, as the tweet in our plot section confirms.

Much depends on how well Rebel Moon‘s two films do first but, if we know anything about Snyder’s legion of fans, they’ll ensure it’s popular and successful enough to deserve more stories. Roll on Part Two and whatever comes our way, we say.

For more Netflix-based coverage, read our guides on Stranger Things season 5, Arcane season 2, the best Netflix shows, and best Netflix documentaries.

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