A second teaser for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has landed, and it launches us deeper into the city of Alpha, a 28th century deep space metropolis where various alien species coexist, sharing knowledge and culture with each other. As with the first teaser, visual splendor abounds, with the iconographic similarity to Star Wars and Besson’s own The Fifth Element making a lot of sense given that the source material Valérian and Laureline, a landmark French comic-book series that launched in 1967, was known to have inspired those two films. Space ships streaking across deserts, floating cities, charmingly dorky aliens evoking the reliance of ‘80s sci-fi on practical effects—all of it has the feel of old-school space opera revamped using 21st-century filmmaking technology and adjusted to fit Besson’s proclivity for the madcap. As an added bonus, The Beatles’ “Because” has also returned from the first teaser, once again sending shivers down spines with its haunting strangeness.
Despite the similarities to the initial trailer, there is a good bit of new footage here that foregrounds the central plot and action scenes while sidelining the romantic tension between the two leads in favor of their general camaraderie as long-time partners on the job, which involves the keeping of order within the human territories of deep space. Per the film’s synopsis, order is threatened in Alpha by a “mystery at the center of [the city], a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets,” prompting the heroes Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) to “race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.” It all sounds pretty by-the-book, but then again, the main draw of the Valerian film was always more wondrousness of world and aesthetic than sophistication of story; the argument can even be made that the old-fashioned simplicity of the premise contributes to the appealing retro-futurism of the whole package.
Valerian also stars Rihanna, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke and Clive Owen. Check out the full trailer above, and catch the film when it flies into theaters on July 21.