Luc Besson Space Operas. Sarah Watt, Max Tarrant, Jeremy Downing and William Chen discuss the films Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) and The Fifth Element (1997). The discussion touches on gender politics and romance stories in both films. We talk about the connections to other films, like Blade Runner, Stars Wars, Avatar, Indiana Jones and Singin’ in the Rain. Luc Besson clearly loves the story he is telling in both films. We discuss other visual directors, like Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Sam Rami and George Lucas, and how too much money makes their films too long. Both films have strong female actors in the central roles, with Mila Jovovich and Cara Delevingne. We compare the casts in both films, with limited strong performances in Valerian, and a strong cast in The Fifth Element. We return to the gender politics in both films, initially around the juvenile depiction of the female leads and the non-traditional depiction of specific male characters. We compare the music in both films: the forgettable music in Valerian and the dated music in The Fifth Element. The visuals in both films, particularly Big Market in Valerian and the cityscape in The Fifth Element, are impressive.