Balisarius In ‘Rebel Moon’: Is Princess Issa Alive? Is Sam Issa?


Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon revolves around the atrocities committed by men in power who want to conquer the entire universe. Their world could have been a beautiful place, but their lust for power depleted the natural resources, forcing them to send armies into the vastness of space to explore new lands. Kings often lost sight of the enemies around them in their conquest for expansion, which eventually led to their downfall. After the assassination of the King and Queen, Senator Balisarius didn’t miss the golden opportunity to take charge of the Imperium and announced himself as the Regent of the Realm. While many submitted to his sovereignty, a few planets on the edge of the Motherworld’s reach refused to accept Balisarius’ rule and, therefore, rose in rebellion against him. The man in power decided to curb the rebellion at all costs and sent his most brutal admiral, Atticus Noble, to hunt down the insurgents. However, Balisarius was unaware of the fact that at the far end of the galaxy, Atticus Noble would encounter a familiar face who might unravel a conspiracy revolving around his rise to power.

Spoiler Alert

Did Balisarius kill the King?

Zack Snyder’s character shares uncanny similarities with its historical counterpart of the same name, who was a Byzantine Empire military commander and served King Justinian I in the 5th century. As mentioned in the books of history, Balisarius had created an elite regiment for the protection of the King, something similar to what we saw in Rebel Moon Part 1. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Balisarius was an ambitious man with a keen interest in state politics. He wanted to be closer to the “King” so that he could manipulate the narrative without being obvious. The commander had recruited his loyal soldiers as members of the Elite Regiment so that he could fulfill his ulterior motives and assassinate the King without any resistance. The first part of the film did imply that the King was assassinated by those whom he trusted the most. This brings in the possibility that it was Balisarius who slew the King and killed the entire Royal Family so that he could take charge of the kingdom and become the Regent. However, according to Balisarius’ admiral, Atticus Noble, it was an off-worlder who killed the King, Queen, and Princess Issa; therefore, it could be possible that Balisarius hired an off-world hitman to finish the task for him so that he could put all the blame on the planets of the Outer Reach and get away with the assassination without any investigation. However, this brings us to the question: why did the commander commit such atrocities?

Why did Balisarius kill Princess Issa?

As mentioned by Balisarius’ adoptive daughter, Arthelais, the young commander had a lust for destruction. For some men, killing becomes a part of their existence, and they cannot imagine a life without war and violence. In Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon, Balisarius was ecstatic about bloodshed. The commander would plunder into the vastness of space to conquer planets and kill innocent civilians in the name of warfare. Men like Balisarius have no set agenda or motive to kill people. Instead, violence becomes a means to quench their never-ending thirst for combat. For Balisarius, everything was going perfectly until an old prophecy came true. According to JC-1435, the King’s daughter, Princess Issa, was prophesied to bring a new age of peace and compassion. Evidently, the prophecy didn’t align with Balisarius’ school of thought, and therefore the commander concocted a plan to kill Princess Issa so that the era of war and violence would never come to an end.

Can Arthelais stop Balisarius?

Balisarius had used his authority to get Arthelais assigned as Princess Issa’s personal bodyguard, for reasons we have already mentioned. The commander might have instructed his adoptive daughter to kill Issa at the right moment so he could overthrow the current regime and become a Regent. However, Arthelais, who had lost her family and her childhood in the war, didn’t share the same beliefs as her tyrannical father. She trusted in Princess Issa’s ability to restore peace and order in the realm, which suggests that she went against her father’s wishes and escorted Issa out of the palace in order to send her to a safe location. It was probably while running away from Balisarius’ forces that Arthelais ended up on Veldt, where she started living a secret life under a new disguise. And if that is true, then it was only Arthelais who knew the hiding place of Princess Issa, which was the reason why Balisarius commanded a revived Atticus Noble to go to Veldt and bring back his daughter alive by any means possible. Balisarius wanted Arthelais alive so that he could extract the same information out of her. However, he didn’t disclose the truth to his admiral because such a rumor could shake the very foundation of his rule. Balisarius knows that his rulership will come under threat if Princess Issa returns to the Motherworld, as the majority of the senators would support her rule against his.

Some theories even suggest that Arthelais’s entire backstory is completely false. And it is she who is the real Princess Issa, who had been hiding on Veldt so as to protect herself from a traitor. Perhaps after her family’s death, she lost interest in ruling such a realm, which was why she escaped the royal palace to spend a peaceful life in the farthest corner of the universe. Whatever the case might be, if Princess Issa is really alive, then we will see her presence in the second part of the film, where she will assemble a force to fight against Balisarius and take back what is rightfully hers. It also hints at the possibility that the entire Mechanicas Militarium might join the resistance against Balisarius in order to overthrow the Regent. In the first part of the film, JC-1435 killed a member of his own platoon to save Sam from the savages. These robots had lost their purpose after they found out about Princess Issa’s death; however, if the young princess is still alive, then she could reunite the Motherworld and bring a new dawn, fulfilling her late father’s dream.

Is Sam Princess Issa?

A brief interaction between JC-1435 and the young villager Sam also hints at the possibility that she is none other than Princess Issa herself, who was brought on Veldt by Arthelais for her own safety from the evil Regent. And if that’s true, then Arthelais would do anything in her power to protect the villagers in the final battle on Veldt. There are so many things that we expect from the second part of Rebel Moon, and we really hope it is not as disappointing as the first one.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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