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Rebel Moon 2 looks like the final-act battle of Rebel Moon 1

The trailer for The Scargiver delivers on the premise

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

The first trailer for Rebel Moon: The Scargiver quietly dropped on Christmas Day, but even with 1 million views and counting, it’s unclear if Netflix got a prized gift in its stocking or lump of coal.

Rebel Moon is currently the #1 movie on Netflix (accounting for 23.9M views as of first six days on the platform, according to the now slightly transparent company). It’s also a blemish on director Zack Snyder’s track record; While he’s not typically a critical darling, the fantasy space opera has garnered some of the sourest reviews of his career, hovering between Sucker Punch and Justice League (the first attempt) on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator. Is there hope for the Rebel Moon universe?

Netflix has to hope so — not only does the streamer have a Rebel Moon sequel, The Scargiver, locked and loaded for spring 2024, there’s transparent hope for a greater expansion of the universe into other properties. At the very least, we’re getting an R-rated cut of the first film, Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire, and a four-player co-op Rebel Moon video game from Super Evil Megacorp... eventually.

But while it’s hard to imagine “course correction” for the budding franchise — it’s Snyder’s baby through and through — the first trailer for Rebel Moon: The Scargiver could see improvement. A Child of Fire promised a Seven Samurai-esque team movie with a climactic battle of underdogs versus imperial scum... without actually delivering the climactic battle. With the muscle now in place, The Scargiver looks like a third act of the original pitch broken out into a sequel. If it’s all slo-mo action and reference-heavy iconography swirling around in a cloud of action, it might be what Snyder was envisioning all along? At the very least, we’re getting a lot more Djimon Hounsou, which is a good sign.

Rebel Moon: The Scargiver will premiere on Netflix on April 19, 2024. And either before or after that, we’re getting the rated-R cuts of one or both of the movies, which might be worth holding out for. At the very least, Snyder says they take place in a “different dimension” than the PG-13 movies, so there’s that.

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