Just yesterday Luc Besson debuted the first promotional image for his long-developing passion project, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, teasing a fitting return to sci-fi from the director of The Fifth Element and Lucy. Today brings more official photos from the upcoming project starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as a pair of time-traveling agents on a mission to protect the universe.

As Besson promised, EW debuted a handful of images from his new film, based on the classic French graphic novel series Valerian and Laureline. DeHaan plays Valerian opposite Cara Delevingne’s Laureline in the ambitious project, and though there’s a lot of big, crazy ideas and visual elements (obviously), Besson says he hopes to appeal to a wider audience:

I allowed myself much more freedom. I centered the story to make it more real, more human. If you don’t like sci-fi, I want you to still like Valerian. And the other part was: Let’s try to do everything, before someone tells me its impossible. Let’s have the imagination go to the limit. And let’s be so super complicated, with aliens and robots and all this, but to make it look easy like a dance. You watch the thing, and it’s fluid and funny and wild. It’s not deep and complicated. It’s ultra sophisticated to do, but it looks easy. Like a cocktail where you don’t even taste the alcohol.

Valerian features an excellent supporting cast, including Clive Owen (as the protagonist duo’s commander), John Goodman, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. As to which of these characters might be the villain, Besson says that question is part of the central mystery Valerian and Laureline must solve:

I can’t tell you that. The big difference between this and the Marvel pattern is that with Marvel you know after five minutes who’s the villain. They do films that are super well made, but this pattern bothered me a little bit. What’s new here is we have two agents, and over the course of one film, it’s a police investigation, in fact. So you don’t know who’s exactly bad until the end, because it’s an investigation. That’s why I can’t talk too much. But it’s a real story. That’s what I love about it.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Rooted in the classic graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline- visionary writer/director Luc Besson advances this iconic source material into a contemporary, unique and epic science fiction saga. Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner- blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him. Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time- uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits theaters on July 21, 2017.

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