There's no getting around it; Luc Besson makes weird movies. Over the course of his career, the French auteur has helmed some of the most delightfully absurd and visually breathtaking action/sci-fi romps like The Fifth Element and Taken, and he has developed a rabid cult following. But with such an impressive filmography under his belt, he still hasn't delved into many sequels over the years. Could Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets break that trend? According to the director, there's a trilogy planned, but it all depends on whether or not audiences like the first film. Besson explained:
I finished the number 2 already and I'm writing the number 3. I don't know if we will do it, because it's not up to me. It's up to the audience if they like it.
So at this point, it is pretty much up to the public to decide whether or not Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will receive a sequel. It's an intriguing notion, especially when we consider the fact that the film has been given a bizarrely divisive critical reception, with some heaping praise upon its visual spectacle, while others have lambasted its paper thin characterization and plot. The film currently sits at a commendable (but not outstanding) 72% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that a sequel could go either way from here.
As for the film's financial status, Luc Besson does not seem particularly worried about the possibility of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets bombing. That is because it isn't in a terribly precarious financial position. Besson recently came out and admitted that EuropaCorp has managed to cover all but 4% of the film's budget from pre-sales. With Valerian expected to perform far better overseas than in the United States, it has the potential to earn enough money globally to warrant a follow-up at some point.
Of course, it's also worth noting that Luc Besson does not necessarily seem too concerned about whether or not a Valerian sequel can materialize within the next few years. He continued in his chat with Nerdist and explained that the sequel scripts that he has worked on are more of an intellectual exercise than a definitive business decision, saying:
I don't care, I'm just happy to write it. I'm enjoying writing it. So I don't even wait. I'm just writing for myself. I finished the [sequel] already, then I [got] bored a month ago, so I said 'let's write the third.
With Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets gearing up to hit theaters this weekend it remains to be seen if this will spiral into a full-blown franchise. There's potential, but it all hinges on whether or not mainstream audiences show an interest in this first entry.
Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will debut in theaters this weekend on July 21. For more information concerning the rest of the films slated to debut in 2017, make sure to take a look at CinemaBlend's comprehensive movie premiere guide!