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Rebel Moon stars praise Zack Snyder's energy, depth, and the movie's "difficult" protagonist

"If you have to be a villain, be a villain in a Zack Snyder movie," says Ed Skrein

Sofia Boutella in Rebel Moon: Part 1
Image credit: Netflix

Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon: Part 1 is now right around the corner, and Zack Snyder and part of the cast showed up this last weekend at Brazil’s CCXP to give the movie a final marketing push ahead of its debut on December 22 on Netflix (and in select theaters on the 15th).

For those who aren’t familiar with the project, Rebel Moon was born from a scrapped Star Wars pitch which Zack Snyder came up with years ago, and it’s been envisioned as a two-parter that will hopefully kick off a new transmedia sci-fi universe. It also marks the filmmaker’s second major collaboration after Army of the Dead (2021) with Netflix.

The story follows Kora (Sofia Boutella), a mysterious stranger with a dark past who lives among villagers on a distant moon. When they are suddenly threatened by a tyrannical ruling force, she embarks on a mission to recruit trained fighters to make an impossible stand against the Mother World. But of course, things won’t be as simple as the synopsis suggests, and Boutella teased a lot for her character alone during a live Q&A at the convention: “He didn’t give me anything easy to play. He challenged me to the point where I had to sit down with him multiple times to talk over and over about what he gave me to defend. You have to be the lawyer of your character when you take a part onboard. And what he gave me to defend was difficult. I had to really, me, forgive my character and it took me a minute. And the audience is gonna discover what is her depth in movie number two.”

Her protagonist truly sounds like someone you’d expect to see in a Zack Snyder movie. While many DC fans are still complaining about his Superman, it’s obvious he always strives to explore difficult characters or, at the very least, add some complexity to characters you expect to be simpler to understand. There are great examples of this in his take on Watchmen, where he really played up each lead’s imperfections, and even 300, where Leonidas often comes across as a deeply vulnerable man despite all the badassery on display.

Ed Skrein also confirmed that DNA is also a big part of his villain, and praised how Snyder really cares for the bad guys as much as the heroes: “Usually, the antagonists… they are not given the same depth of narrative as the protagonist is given. With Zack, he really gives everything to the antagonist. If you’re gonna be a bad guy, be a bad guy in a Zack Snyder movie and he will look after you.” Indeed, looking at 300’s Xerxes or Watchmen’s Ozymandias, and even Batman v Superman’s discordant take on Lex Luthor, it’s hard to deny that Snyder tries to avoid generic bad guys as much as possible, giving them plenty of on-screen time to chew the scenery. General Zod (Man of Steel) and Steppenwolf (Justice League) may be the exceptions, but at the same time, they’re still talked about to this day.

Whether you’re jumping into Snyder’s bold take on big sci-fi universe-building as soon as it drops or are waiting for his rawer director’s cut next year, you better prepare yourself for another wave of heated debate around the divisive filmmaker’s latest.

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