- Zack Snyder introduces a new universe in Rebel Moon with new languages, locations, weapons, and technology.
- A mythologically-dense story with thousands of years of history, myth, and prophecy lays the groundwork for the Rebel Moon universe.
- The Bloodaxe rebels lead a small force against the Imperium, lacking organization, but gaining a victory in Part 1.
Zack Snyder introduces a whole new universe in Rebel Moon – Part 1: A Child of Fire, including new languages, locations, weapons, technology, and more. Re-teaming with 300 writer Kurt Johnstad and Army of the Dead writer Shay Hatten (who also wrote the lore-heavy John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4), Snyder wrote a mythologically-dense story full of thousands of years of history, myth, and prophecy for multiple civilizations, laying the groundwork for an entire new Rebel Moon universe on Netflix.
Like any fictional universe, there’s a lot of new words and terminology in Rebel Moon – Part 1: A Child of Fire, especially considering Snyder developed at least four new languages for the film. Like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or any other fictional universe, you don’t need to know all the details surrounding every aspect of the lore in order to follow the basic plot of Rebel Moon, although a deeper understanding can help expand the scope of the universe.
Rebel Moon Universe History and Backstory
The Motherworld’s history and origin.
The opening narration from Jimmy (Anthony Hopkins) reveals a brief history of the Imperium. Begging on the Motherworld, they ruled for thousands of generations until they consumed all of their home planet’s resources and had to expand into the rest of the galaxy to discover and conquer other planets. The very first scene in the movie shows the Imperium opening a wormhole in the far reaches of space as a dreadnought passes through while Jimmy explains how the royal bloodline’s lust for power led the Imperium to conquer countless planets to expand the “glory of the Motherworld.”
At one point in the thousands of generations of the Imperium, the royal bloodline gave birth to an ancient queen, Issa, who legend said had the ability to bestow life, giving her the name “the Lifegiver.” The Jimmies, an ancient order of robots pledged in service to the king, believed in a prophecy that the power of Queen Issa would be reborn again in Princess Issa (Stella Grace Fitzgerald) and that she would “usher in a new age of peace and compassion” and bring peace to the galaxy.
The Death of the Slain King and the Modern Imperium
Princess Issa was supposed to usher in an age of compassion.
As the Imperium conquered new worlds it also subjugated their people, adding them to its ranks of soldiers. As one of the Imperium’s top military leaders, Balisarius (Fra Fee) led the attacks on numerous planets personally, which is what led him to discover Kora (Sofia Boutella). He saw something in her and instead of killing her like the rest of her people, he took her under his wing and trained her. She climbed the ranks at the Academy Militarium and saw success on the battlefield. Eventually, Balisarius pulled strings to make her the personal bodyguard of Princess Issa.
It wasn’t just the Jimmies that believed the prophecy of Princess Issa. Even the King (Carey Elwes) believed she’d bring compassion back to the Imperium, ending war, and becoming the “dawn of something better.” Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass. An assassin killed the king and queen, Balisarius rose up to become the new Imperium Regent, and Kora disappeared, crash landing on Veldt and hiding out among the farming community until Admiral Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein) arrives during his hunt for the Bloodaxe siblings.
While the king is dead, the Imperium is still steeped in his imagery and his memory is used to progress an even more brutal version of the Motherworld forces. The name of Noble’s dreadnought, for example, The Kings Gaze, serves to remind the Imperium forces that the king is always watching to keep them disciplined, although that concept seems at odds with the wishes of the king for a more compassionate Imperium. The eye of the king is prominent throughout the Imperium imagery, including on military uniforms, the masks of the red-robed Imperium priests, and even the currency.
The Bloodaxe Rebels
Who’s fighting back against the Imperium?
Devra Bloodaxe (Cleopatra Coleman) and Darrian Bloodaxe (Ray Fisher) lead a small rebel force against the Imperium, but they lack the numbers or organization to be more than a thorn in the side of Regent Balisarius and Admiral Noble until their small victory at the end of Rebel Moon – Part 1: A Child of Fire. The rebel insurgency is being sheltered on the spiritually-focused planet Sharaan and the tentacle-faced king Levitica.
Other pockets of resistance exist throughout the galaxy, though most lack the coordination of the Bloodaxe rebellion. General Titus (Djimon Honsou) once commanded a sizable Imperium force and turned them against the Motherworld in an act of rebellion. When he eventually surrendered to the Motherworld, his army was slaughtered and he went into exile as a gladiator on the planet Pollox.
The Weapons and Technology of Rebel Moon
Not all Imperium technology is worn down and outdated.
The guns in Rebel Moon are a little different from real-life projectile weapons or the kind of energy weapons often depicted in science fiction. Instead of shooting bullets, lasers, or other energy blasts, Rebel Moon‘s guns fire what Snyder and Rebel Moon‘s prop department refer to as a “lava cork,” which is a superheated chunk of plasma. When the corks hit organic matter like humans, aliens, or animals, they burn a lethal hole in the body, but when they hit a hard metal surface like a wall, it splashes and leaves a small melted crater.
Nemesis and some Imperium soldiers also wield swords. The blades of the swords wielded by the Imperium are powered by energy packs that make the blade glow blue when it’s charged up, but Nemesis wields a version of the weapon with some noticeable differences. Nemesis’ hands have been removed and replaced by robotic gauntlets that supercharge her sword, making the blades glow bright orange-red as the become hot enough to slice through almost anything with ease.
While much of the Imperium technology is old, worn down, and in a state of disrepair, some of their technology seems disproportionately advanced. While it doesn’t get much explanation on screen in Rebel Moon – Part 1: A Child of Fire, some of the Imperium tech comes from interdimensional beings. The technology that utilizes these abilities seems to be related to space travel, long-range communications, and medical technology. Noble is specifically a beneficiary of this as he’s plugged into a machine that brings him back from the dead.