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The Moonshot Trailer Rockets the Rom-Com Formula Into Space

Lana Condor supremacy is heading to Mars. Cole Sprouse is here too, if you're into that sort of thing.

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Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor in Moonshot.
Image: HBO Max

In an adorable new trailer for Moonshot, HBO Max’s new sci-fi rom-com, we see Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse fall in love on a spaceship. Sure, Sprouse is presented as the lead in the trailer, but we all know the truth here. This movie wouldn’t have even gotten past the pitch stage without Condor.

Following her absolutely stellar breakout role as Lana Jane Covey in the Netflix movie series that kicked off with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Condor (who was also in the less-than-memorable X-Men: Apocalypse and Alita: Battle Angel) seems primed to take on more roles that see her as the romantic lead, and with good reason. She’s charming, charismatic, and has the earnestness a relatable rom-com lead needs to emotionally carry a film.

After a chance meeting, Walt (Riverdale star Sprouse) sneaks onto a ship destined for Mars in order to follow Sophie (Condor) to her newly assigned research station. Walt is relatively moon-eyed during the trailer, which is bemusedly charming. It does leave the door open for Sophie to have the real emotional depth between them. She’s shown being disappointed by her current boyfriend as he chooses work over his relationship with her, she’s driven to get a Mars position for herself and not for a man (the man is just a bonus), and she clearly knows exactly what she wants at the start of the trailer. She’s smart, savvy, and in general doesn’t appear to take any of Walt’s bullshit. Walt’s a puppy dog. Sophie is, clearly, a queen.

The trailer clearly shows a low-budget endeavor for HBO, which is hilarious considering the momentous amounts of money the company is known to spend on other shows. Rom-coms aren’t in vogue right now, but they are making a comeback. Marry Me (an absolutely shameless JLo vehicle that I for sure enjoyed) became the most-watched film on Peacock’s streaming service to date after its simultaneous theatrical and streaming release. The French Dispatch (it might be a stretch, but the rom-com elements are always present in Anderson’s work, and I stand by this opinion) was a critical darling.

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Rom-coms are necessary escapism, fully removed from real life, and are typically delightful, earnest, and hopeful. There’s a reason that romance is the highest-grossing publication genre, and a reason that many people gravitate toward these films. We enjoy watching movies that understand us, as an audience. The point of the rom-com is not to leave us unchallenged, but to lead us, assuredly, to a conclusion that we already know. The satisfaction is in the journey, not the destination. We go into a rom-com with a spoiler warning hanging off the back of our ticket stub: “They get together in the end!”

Maybe not forever. Maybe not happily. But for now. They get together for now, and that’s entirely enough to make the genre worth paying attention to. They’re easy, they’re comfortable, and if I can spend an hour giggling at the absurd antics of Lana Condor and whatever hapless boy has (rightfully!) fallen in love with her, I’m not about to argue.

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Moonshot premieres on HBO Max March 31.


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