However—our brains kind of stopped short with a record-scratch sound effect when we learned that Rihanna is introduced in the film as a stripper who does a dance for the male lead, played by Dane DeHaan.
In the clip shown at Comic-Con DeHaan's character reportedly asks a 28th century strip club owner (Ethan Hawke) for a dance from a "Retro" girl, and:
. . .Hawke has just the thing: He sits the spaceman down for a private show as a bowler-clad performer appears on stage, straddling a chair.
The woman turns to the camera, and thank the heavens above, it’s fucking Rihanna.
(Sexy space Rihanna, y’all!)
Serving up a Sally Bowles look, Velma Kelly glamour, and Rihanna Rihanna-tude, Space Rihanna gets ready to slay her dance number … and then the clip cuts out...
It's difficult to measure director Besson's cruelty in teasing the folks who got to watch this live like that.
For his part, Besson made it clear in a Twitter question-and-answer session that he views the beautiful Barbadian queen apart from her image as a musical artist:
Look, if the fact of a futuristic stripping Rihanna doesn't get your motor running, that's fine—because Valerian also features no less than another Maxim fave, Cara Delevingne, who plays DeHaan's partner in the flick.
Even better, Luc Besson said on Twitter that while Rihanna starts off with a dance, Cara gets to fight monsters:
It's like this flick was made with us in mind.