EXCLUSIVE: Luc Besson has set Clive Owen to star alongside Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Cara Delavingne (Paper Towns) in Valerian, the $180 million budget sci-fi film that is based on a comic series he loved as a child. It is an adaptation of the iconic French sci-fi graphic novel series from writers Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières that first appeared in 1967. Owen will play Commander Arün Filitt.

Luc Besson's 'Twice' To Be Directed by 'Mesrine' Jean-Francois RichetThe film will begin shooting early next year. Besson gathered a handful of reporters in the back room of a bar during Comic-Con to show us the storyboards for the film, which is actually called Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. It is a big bet for his indie company EuropaCorp, and the visuals conveyed a futuristic world with these amazing creatures and vistas that looked like Star Wars meets Blade Runner meets Besson’s The Fifth Element. There are only five major human characters and dozens of crazy-looking creatures, and we hear he’s already clearing space in his Paris studio because he’s going to need all the soundstages. Besson didn’t reveal the film’s plot, only the world he is building, and it looked exquisite. He told us that he thought he had the script ready several years ago, but tore it up after watching Avatar and realizing he had a lot more work to do. Now, he is ready.

Owen stars in the Steven Soderbergh-created series The Knick, as a surgeon in a turn-of-the-20th-century hospital. He’s repped by CAA.