After gifting the world with The Fifth Element in 1997, Luc Besson released just a new science fiction film this year just as crazy, if not crazier: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the adaptation of the long-running French comic book series that has been his passion project for a long time. But sci-fi hasn't been his only moviemaking area, as he's also worked in the realms of fantasy, action, comedy and more. However, if any of you have been itching to see Besson tackle a superhero movie, it's probably best to set those hopes aside, as he doesn't find these superpowered characters relatable. In his mind:
It's very hard for me to identify with a superhero because he has a superpower, and I don't have a superpower, all I can see is his power and say 'oh, thank you so much for saving my life, me, poor little human being.' I don't like this relationship. I can't identify with the guy, I'm not like him.
Luc Besson's comment to Bleeding Cool came after he talked about how he likes that Valerian (played by Dane DeHaan in the movie) isn't a superhero at all, adding that while the character can be heroic at times, he also has his fair share of personality flaws. That makes it easier to identify for Besson to identify with Valerian. Superheroes, on the other hand, he believes don't have that reliability that he looks for in a character due to their amazing abilities. Maybe he feels differently about non-powered heroes like Batman and Green Arrow, but for the most part, his dislike of superheroes makes it sound like he won't ever join forces with Marvel, DC or another studio. His heart just wouldn't be in adapting such properties.
While superheroes have been part of pop culture ever since Superman hit the scene in 1938's Action Comics #1, the movie genre centered around these comic book tales has only exploded within the last two decades. The cinematic universe craze that Marvel started in 2008 further boosted the popularity of these movies, to the point that certain studios are releasing 2-3 of them per year. Superhero stories make up the majority of comic book adaptations, but Luc Besson provided one of the exceptions with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. So far, though, Valerian hasn't been one of the winners of this summer blockbuster season, as it's received mixed reviews and only made over $59 million worldwide. Still, in an industry that's superhero crazy right now, at least Valerian is exposing the masses to a different kind of comic book property, and a visually dazzling one at that.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is still playing in theaters, and Luc Besson's upcoming projects include Lucy 2 and Colombiana 2.