'Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets' Featurette: A Movie A Lifetime In The Making

Every director has their passion project that takes them years to make, but it took Luc Besson 40 years to make his.

The Fifth Element director was enamored and inspired by the French comic book Valérian and Laureline since he stumbled on a copy when he was 10 years old, Besson said in a new featurette for his upcoming sci-fi movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. And it's only thanks to recent cinematic advances that he was finally able to make the movie of his dreams.

Watch the Valerian featurette to see what we're talking about after the jump.

The new 3-minute long making-of featurette for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets goes into the passion Besson has for this project, and why he was so attached to the story. Besson loved the depiction of a "modern couple" in 28th century space, and the technology and work that went into making it.

"I've been waiting my entire life to make this film and the journey has been amazing," Besson said in the featurette.

Valérian and Laureline is a French comic book first published in 1967, running until 2010. The comic book follows the adventures of pair of agents who traveled through space and time, and its space opera elements went on to influence everything from Star Wars to Besson's own Fifth Element.

He brought much of his passion for Valerian into his work on The Fifth Element, for which he recruited Jean-Claude Mézières, the illustrator for the Valérian and Laureline comics and his eventual designer on Besson's film Valerian. Besson said Mézières noticed the similarities, and "he was the one saying why don't you do Valerian why you do this Fifth Element thing?"

But limited technology prevented Besson from making the adaptation of Valerian that he envisioned — until James Cameron's Avatar was released in 2009. "Avatar made everything possible," Besson said happily, describing how the technology introduced through Avatar helped create the lush, CGI-heavy bonanza that is Valerian.

Here's the official synopsis for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets below:

In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha—an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other.  There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

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