Director Luc Besson, famous for films that include Subway, La Femme Nikita, Leon (The Professional) and The Fifth Element, has announced he will be directing a film version of the French science-fiction comic Valerian et Laureline. The film’s title is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Dane DeHaan, best known as Harry Osborne in Spider Man 2, has been cast as the title character alongside Cara Delevingne, who is currently filming Suicide Squad, in which she plays Enchantress. Delevingne is a successful model, associated with Burberry among other brands, who is lately making her way as an actress.
Expectations will be high for Besson, whose stylish and quirky Fifth Element is a fan favorite. Valerian will be another opportunity to create a vivid and vast cosmos—Besson acknowledged as much in his Twitter announcement, calling Valerian “a big sci-fi.” Besson says the film will begin shooting in late 2015 and will be in theaters in 2017.
Valerian et Laureline first appeared in Pilote magazine in 1967, and the material collected in the first 11 graphic novels was all previously published in Pilote. In all, there are over 20 volumes in the main series, with assorted extras bringing the full bibliography at the official website to 37 books. Valerian and Laureline had their stateside debut in Heavy Metal, when Ambassador of the Shadows was serialized across four issues in 1981. All Valerian et Laureline stories, sometimes published as Valérian: Agent Spatio-Temporel, were produced by the creative duo of writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières.
Here are covers of the first 11 graphic novels; dates are indicative of when the graphic novels themselves were published, not when the material appeared in Pilote.
And here, just because we know you want to watch it, is the Fifth Element trailer: