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Rebel Moon: Every Cloned Sci-Fi Movie We Spotted In The Trailer

Zack Snyder has been wowing fans for years. In the 2000s he brought his unique vision to comic book adaptations like "300" and "Watchmen." Those movies earned him enough acclaim that DC Comics handed Snyder their cinematic universe, and though it didn't entirely pan out, Snyder's take on the Justice League has earned him even more fans. Though his adaptations are likely his best-known work, Snyder tends to really shine when he's working on original stories like "Sucker Punch" and "Army of the Dead."

Well, Snyder's back, and his latest feature appears to be his most ambitious yet. "Rebel Moon" looks to be the everything sci-fi movie. It's got desert worlds, cyberpunk cities, human-animal hybrids, robot swordsmen, and more. At its core, the movie is about a group of rebels coming together to fight against an evil empire. It's a story that's sold countless other sci-fi properties, and "Rebel Moon" proudly owns up to its influences.

The first "Rebel Moon" trailer gave us a look at Snyder's new galaxy, and it also showed off quite a few things we've seen before. Decades of sci-fi movies — and Akira Kurosawa films like "Seven Samurai" — have clearly inspired Snyder's work here, and more than a handful of them get a nod in the trailer. Hardcore sci-fi fans were probably able to pick out the familiar shots in a heartbeat, but we've got the full breakdown for everyone who's looking to get hyped for what might be one of Snyder's best movies to date.


It's borderline impossible to tell a space opera story that doesn't borrow at least a few elements from "Dune." Frank Herbert's novel about galactic-scale empires and desert planets filled with pseudo-magical spice debuted all the way back in 1965 — four years before humans landed on the moon. The story of Paul Atreides and his rise to power on Arrakis left a permanent mark on the entire sci-fi genre. It inspired movies like "Star Wars" and, of course, garnered multiple adaptations on the big screen and TV.

One of the earliest shots in the "Rebel Moon" trailer shows a massive spaceship that's part of a fleet heading to a planet. It's a little reminiscent of the most recent "Dune" adaptation, in part because that movie so perfectly captures the scale of intergalactic ships. That's not the most overt reference to "Dune" in the trailer, however. Anthony Hopkins' voiceover talks about prophecy and myth, both crucial elements of "Dune" as well. Later we get to see a character wearing some kind of specialized breathing mask on a sandy world. "Dune" heads everywhere must have perked up because the outfit looks almost exactly like the stillsuits that have appeared in every version of Herbert's story.

We don't know much about the story of "Rebel Moon," but it's clear that some of it takes place on a desert world. The movie's in good company, and it will be interesting to see how Zack Snyder's take on a world with an extremely hostile environment differs from versions that have come before.

The Chronicles of Riddick

"Riddick" is another sci-fi movie franchise that probably owes its existence to "Dune." The films borrow the idea of a religiously inspired army decimating the galaxy that becomes a key component of the later novels in the "Dune" series. "The Chronicles of Riddick" makes sure to pack in plenty of its own lore between action scenes, and much of that backstory develops the main villain. The Necromongers are religious zealots bent on taking over as many planets as possible. The face of the Necromongers is Commander Vaako (Karl Urban), a ruthless general in the army who comes into direct conflict with Vin Diesel's Riddick.

It's not surprising that "Rebel Moon" appears to have a few things in common with "The Chronicles of Riddick." The two of them share some "Dune" DNA, but "Chronicles" seems to have had a particular influence on the style of "Rebel Moon." The trailer is filled with over- and under-saturated shots of alien worlds, which is a choice "Chronicles" definitely doubles down on.

Ed Skreen's Admiral Atticus Noble fits into a similar role as Commander Vaako. The two are both ladder-climbers working to support tyrannical organizations. If the Necromongers left behind their somewhat medieval-inspired armor for more modern military regalia, they'd look eerily like the Imperial soldiers shown off in the "Rebel Moon" trailer. Unlike "Chronicles," though, "Rebel Moon" puts its focus on a group of united heroes rather than a lone wolf capable of taking on anyone single-handedly.

Star Wars

Who wouldn't want to make the next "Star Wars?" George Lucas' franchise has defined multiple genres of space opera, and these days it's hard to write about heroes fighting corrupt galactic governments without doing it under the shadow of "Star Wars." One way or another, "Rebel Moon" was always going to have some "Star Wars" DNA, but in an alternate reality, the entire film would have just been folded into a galaxy far, far away.

Zack Snyder has been dreaming up "Rebel Moon" for a long time, and the story has gone through quite a few transformations over the years. Snyder has admitted that somewhere between his earliest brainstorming sessions and today, "Rebel Moon" almost got picked up as a spin-off "Star Wars" movie. That plan didn't quite work out, but now that "Rebel Moon" is coming as a standalone project, it's easy to see how the movie could have fit into the "Star Wars" universe.

The trailer for "Rebel Moon" gives us glimpses of just a few of the worlds within the Imperium. From desert worlds with massive colosseums to worlds dominated by dense cityscapes, there's a huge amount of variety on display in the movie, but all of its worlds have obvious "Star Wars" counterparts like Tatooine and Coruscant. The most overt "Star Wars" similarity is the dual lightsabers wielded by Bae Doona's character, Nemesis. The story behind her and her signature weapons will probably end up clueing everyone into why "Rebel Moon" just didn't quite fit into the "Star Wars" universe.

The Matrix

Has there been a single sci-fi movie released in the past two and a half decades that wasn't influenced by "The Matrix"? Probably, but whatever it is still would have been better with bullet time. The Wachowskis paired classic sci-fi tropes with truly next-level filmmaking and effects to create a movie that's guaranteed to stand the test of time.

Since at least "300," Zack Snyder's work has worn its Wachowski influences on its sleeve. The Wachowskis didn't invent slow-motion shots, but they found revolutionary ways to heighten the tension and visual spectacle of action scenes using slo-mo. Today Snyder is arguably more known for his slo-mo shots than the Wachowskis, but fans of "The Matrix" know where the technique really got started.

It wouldn't be a Snyder movie without more than a handful of dramatic slo-mo shots. The "Rebel Moon" has given us a peek at just a few of them, but we can already see how Kora's (Sofia Boutella) hand-to-hand combat really gets to shine with its own version of bullet time. The trailer's most memorable shot — Tarak (Staz Nair) leaping from a cliff onto a winged creature in slow-motion — bears some resemblance to another massive sci-fi property, but more on that later. For all the glorious slo-mo we've already seen in the "Rebel Moon" trailers, it's bound to be just the tip of the iceberg.

John Carter

The character John Carter is more than a hundred years old. He was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and debuted in the serialized story "Under the Moons of Mars" in 1912. John is a regular human man, but when he gets transported to the wilds of Mars, a planet locals call Barsoom, he gets the chance to become an epic hero. The character of John Carter changed Burroughs' life, and John continues to have an influence on modern-day sci-fi.

The last time Hollywood attempted to adapt Burroughs' story was in the 2012 film aptly titled "John Carter." The movie roughly sticks to the events of "Under the Moons of Mars" and follows John, played by Taylor Kitsch, as he encounters multiple dangers in Martian society. In one of the movie's most dramatic scenes, John comes face to face with alien creatures in an epic colosseum, and we might get a version of that scene in "Rebel Moon."

There's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the announcement trailer for Zack Snyder's latest movie that instantly calls to mind that scene from "John Carter." In the shot, we see a number of humanoid aliens cheering on a four-armed creature from a hallway attached to a colosseum. We don't have very much context for the scene, but it does appear that the colosseum and its inhabitants have something to do with Tarak's story. We see several shots of him cheering on fellow soldiers, and when he's outside he's on a sandy world that looks an awful lot like Mars from "John Carter."

Blade Runner

"Rebel Moon" is looking to be a real who's-who of famous sci-fi movies, and the collection wouldn't be complete without "Blade Runner." Ridley Scott's classic film is based on a novel from one of the United States's greatest sci-fi authors. Phillip K. Dick wrote "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" in 1968 and described a chilling future where humanoid robots are used as forced laborers. Any that resist or argue for their own autonomy are hunted down and decommissioned.

Dick's novel has gone on to inspire countless other stories, but the most inspirational thing about "Blade Runner" is its jaw-dropping setting. Scott created a living world that strongly emphasizes the "high-tech, low-life" ethos of cyberpunk fiction and that looks just as good today as it did in 1982.

Amidst the many planets of the Imperium, Zack Snyder seems to have created at least one that could come straight out of "Blade Runner." In the trailer, we see Nemesis dueling with a spider-human hybrid (with a very "Alien"-influenced design) in a back alley that looks so familiar, we almost expected the camera to cut to Harrison Ford's face. From the trailer, it looks like a large chunk of "Rebel Moon" takes place on the dusty outworlds of the Imperium, but we have to imagine a society that's spread across the stars has more than a handful of futuristic cities planted on various planets throughout the galaxy. The universe of "Rebel Moon" is big enough to hold both a cyberpunk future and more traditional space opera settings without being overwhelmed.

Total Recall

There are very few places you can go in science fiction, and especially in sci-fi movies, without encountering Phillip K. Dick. His 1966 novella "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" proposed a future where humans have expanded out to Mars but most of the people still living on Earth are too poor to afford to see the stars. Luckily there's a company that manufactures fake memories and inserts them into people's brains for a price. But when memories can be faked, how can you trust anything in your own mind?

Dick's novella was adapted into a snappy action movie with an even snappier title. 1990's "Total Recall" stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid, a man who pays for the memory of being a Martian secret agent, but when it turns out that Douglas' "fake" memory has more reality in it than he intended, things go sideways quickly. Douglas' memory-based misadventures leave him questioning his reality and potentially leading a sort of Martian revolution. The story is packed with fun twists and turns, but more than anything it's the visuals that really stand out.

The style of "Total Recall" seems to have had a small influence on "Rebel Moon." Like Zack Snyder's new movie, "Total Recall" splits its time between futuristic urban environments on Earth and some high-tech ruralism on Mars. From landing pads to turbinium mines, the scenery of "Total Recall" has worked its way into the imaginations of sci-fi fans everywhere, and since Snyder is definitely a fan, it's no wonder that hints of the classic film are showing up in his work.


As a genre sci-fi has a lengthy history, and plenty of creators draw on work from nearly half a century ago for inspiration in their projects. That said, there are plenty of influential sci-fi movies that aren't decades old. James Cameron's "Avatar" borrows plenty of old story tropes while completely changing the game when it comes to sci-fi effects. "Rebel Moon" looks to be taking at least a little bit of inspiration from a certain chunk of life on Cameron's Pandora.

We know very little about the character Tarak or what role he'll be playing in Zack Snyder's latest movie. The trailer gives us just a few tantalizing hints about what kind of person Tarak is. He seems to be a powerful warrior, one with a special relationship with animals, and it looks like he has a knack for rallying troops to his cause. A leader needs to make a big impression, and much like how Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) became Toruk Makto in "Avatar," Tarak appears to be tied to a massive winged creature on his planet in "Rebel Moon."

It might be safe to assume that Tarak and his winged friend already have a relationship by the time the movie starts. The trailer shows — in typical Snyder slo-mo — that the two clearly trust each other when Tarak makes a running jump from a cliff onto the back of the creature as it flies by. It's a moment straight out of "Avatar," but just because we've seen similar things before doesn't make flying on a giant alien animal any less exciting.

Jupiter Ascending

Remember the Wachowskis? Their work on "The Matrix" inarguably inspired countless filmmakers, including Zack Snyder, but their legacy didn't stop in 1999. The Wachowskis have gone on to direct plenty of other movies, but their 2015 project bears special mention here.

"Jupiter Ascending" is a massive sci-fi epic that has a striking resemblance to what we've seen of "Rebel Moon." In the Wachowskis' take on the space opera, the galaxy is dominated by a powerful royal family, though humans on Earth are relatively unaware of what's taking place out in deep space. Rather than focusing on a group of hardened rebels, "Jupiter Ascending" really focuses on the royal family and how one human named Jupiter (Mila Kunis) might have an important part to play in their never-ending quest for power.

"Rebel Moon" is clearly all about getting the gang together and finding out how the various characters all decide to fight the power of the Imperium. We do, however, get to see at least some royal activity, and the trailer shows us a brief glimpse of Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee) as a crown is being placed on his head. There are only so many ways to depict a galaxy-tier evil royal, but Regent Balisarius definitely brings to mind Eddie Redmayne's Balem Abrasax from "Jupiter Ascending." It's probably safe to say that Snyder has some unique plans for his contemptible king, but odds that fans will have to wait until the second "Rebel Moon" movie debuts on April 19, 2024, before they really understand what Regent Balisarius is planning for the Imperium.