Early last year we learned Bruno Dumont would next direct the science fiction feature The Empire, then said to mingle “the common life of the inhabitants of a fishing village on the Opal Coast [with] the parallel and epic life of knights of interplanetary empires.” Little else has been known since, other than once-cast Adèle Haenel leaving the project for fear it propagates “dark, sexist and racist” attitudes, mocks victims of injustice, and exhibits general disregard for non-white perspective. Not the press most would seek, but not exactly counteracted by French distributor ARP Sélection describing The Empire as Dumont’s “caustic, cruel and crazy vision of Star Wars” in posting the first (French-only) trailer, released ahead of the film’s likely 2024 debut.
Herein we find a scale well beyond anything Dumont’s yet mounted––so intriguing that one might overlook it’s also set in his Quinquin Cinematic Universe. Whatever trepidation Haenel’s comments can instill, thus far The Empire‘s showing quick quips and terrific production design––spaceships, lightsabers, Dune-like guilds. In lieu of the previously announced Virginie Efira and Lily-Rose Depp, Camille Cottin, Lyna Khoudri, Anamaria Vartolomei populate the cast alongside Fabrice Luchini.
Watch the preview below: