Luc Besson has said repeatedly that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, based on a French comic book series he’s loved since he was a child, is a dream project for him. At New York Comic Con in October, he told a story of how the prospect of making it was a topic of discussion on the set way back when he was filming 1997’s The Fifth Element, but as reported from his roundtable interview at the event, he realized "At the time, to be honest, you couldn't make it. There are five or six [human] characters and all the rest are aliens. The technology was not ready. You really had to wait until Avatar to really start to think, "Oh, okay, now imagination is the limit. Now we can do everything."
And by the looks of the images trickling out from the production, the sky really is the limit these days, as we see teases of its dazzling worlds and all kinds of fantastical galactic creatures. Starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as space cops Valerian and Laureline — with a romantic interest on his part, at least — and a supporting cast including Rihanna, Clive Owen, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, and Rutger Hauer, the film is scheduled to reach theaters on July 21, 2017. As the eye candy in the first Valerian trailer stokes excitement, we’ve compiled a set of still images released so far. As new photos emerge, we’ll add them here.