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Zack Snyder says Rebel Moon’s R-rated cut ‘takes place in a slightly different dimension’

I’m listening...

Kora (Sofia Boutella) swings an axe above a floored soldier in Rebel Moon Part One - A Child of Fire Photo: Chris Strother/Netflix
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Zack Snyder was not running into the Justice League problem with his new Netflix movie Rebel Moon. From the beginning, the plan was always to cut two different versions of the film: a PG-13 cut for its premiere release that could play to a larger audience, and an R-rated cut that would offer a more unfiltered Snyder-y take on the sci-fi fantasy saga. Was it a content ploy? A new mode for studios to take with filmmakers to avoid warring in the edit room? Both?

Whatever the case, Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire is out on Netflix, which means Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire: The Official R-Rated Snyder Cut Brought to You By Zack Snyder can’t be far behind. But what exactly is it that Snyder left on the table when the movie is such a pure extension of his work already?

In a recent conversation with Snyder, Polygon asked him exactly that. In the past, he’s described the R-rated cut as being true to his “sexy, violent, crazy” vision for a “weirdo” version of the Star Wars-esque space opera. So is the R-rated cut sexier? More violent? “Crazier”?

“It’s more about a deep dive into the universe — it’s a lot more,” Snyder clarifies. “It’s almost like the story takes place in a slightly different dimension than this movie that’s about to come out.”

Snyder loves a shared world. Remember, he put UFOs in the background of Army of the Dead and says that the 2021 zombie movie takes place in the same universe as Rebel Moon. So does the R-rated cut literally take place in a “different dimension”?

“It might! We’re gonna have to see the totality of the two movies. I mean, it’s very subtle, but I go as far as... like the same line of dialogue might be a different take in the other version of the movie. I’ll be interested to see how audiences react to it and how they find exploring this other version of that story.”

While the elasticity of Rebel Moon’s mythology in the R-rated cut may turn out to be classic Snyder hype, it’s hard to imagine the second version going a bit harder than what’s currently streaming. With Rebel Moon, the director says he really wanted to get out of the box of typical sci-fi action to find a more brutal side of intergalactic warfare.

“The action sequences in this movie are all sort of character-based, and they’re all teaching us more about [Sofia Boutella’s character] Kora,” Snyder says. “In a space movie, normally, the fighting is really kind of ‘pew pew’ or lightsabers, so you have this kind of distance, where I really wanted them to be basically brawling all the time. It’s kind of retro fights. I tried to do the sort of opposite of what you would expect, them using some kind of high-tech weapons. They use no weapons. Or, like [Ed Skrein’s character] Noble literally has a club. So it’s coolly primitive.”

We’ll see how it plays in a slightly different dimension.

The R-rated cut of Rebel Moon currently does not have a streaming date. A Child of Fire is currently streaming on Netflix. The sequel, The Scargiver, hits Netflix on April 19, 2024.

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