References in Valerian

In 2017, Luc Besson returned to live action science fiction with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. As you would expect, the film has references to The Fifth Element throughout.

According to Besson, there are at least 7 references during the market scene.

Here is what I have found so far.

1. New York Taxi

Taxi on a sign hanging from an arch
Taxi on advert board (on the right)

The iconic yellow and white 23rd century New York taxi appears a few of times on signs during the initial fly through of the marketplace, and there is an actual cab parked up:

New York cab parked up (bottom right)

2. Zorg

Zorg Industries on a couple of boards on the left
Zorg Industries on a board far below
Zorg Industries on a board on the left

Throughout the fly-through of the marketplace, there a numerous golden Zorg Industries logos on purple backgrounds.

3. Korben

Korben’s sign above Igon Sirus Guard

A nod to The Fifth Element’s lead character, Korben’s is the name of a bar in the marketplace. It was actually first revealed in the poster, which lead to speculation of some sort of continuity between the films.

4. Leeloo

Leeloo is the name of the shop on the right.

As Valerian is trying to escape from Igon Siruss, whilst avoiding the floating advertisements and throughout the subsequent attack from the Igon Siruss guard from Korben’s bar, there is a shop called ‘Leeloo’ in the background.

5. Ruby Rod

There are a few Ruby Rod signs as well:

Ruby Rod board in red with three yellow lights.
Ruby Rod board in red opposite the Zorg board.

After escaping “Mummy”, Valerian swings across the market. Directly apposite is a red board for Ruby Rod. He still appears to be on air as it states “Live Broadcast at 6”:

Ruby Rod board in red on the right.

Other references

Ship Introduction

At the start of both films, an alien ship enters frame from the right, with Earth on the left, with very similar shot framing.

Temple Reference

Before Valerian falls through the manhole in Big market, a view from above shows his hand position in the middle, surrounded by four circular fixings. This is framed similarly to the four elements around the fifth in the temple in Egypt.

There is also the call back of Valerian’s right hand being trapped in the dimension-switching-box and Leeloo’s right hand being the only surviving part from the Mangalore attack.


Major Gibson says “Showtime” in a similar style to Mangalore leader Aknot in The Fifth Element.