The sleeper has awakened!
After far too long, someone is taking another crack at Dune, Frank Herbert’s classic series of science fiction novels. In this case, that someone is Legendary Entertainment, who are no stranger to genre franchises. Legendary announced they had acquired “the film and television motion picture rights” to the Dune saga in late 2016. Eric Roth, whose screenplay credits include Forrest Gump, Munich, The Insider, Ali, and others, will write the film, which Denis Villeneuve is directing. Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, will produce for Legendary. Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert will serve as executive producers.
Cameras on the Dune remake have officially started rolling. The production is currently filming in Budapest, Hungary and locations in Jordan. It’s happening, folks!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Dune reboot!
Dune Remake Release Date
Dune was originally scheduled for Nov. 20, 2020 but has been pushed back to Dec. 18, 2020. Get ready for your new Star Wars!
Dune Remake Cast
Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) is set to star as Paul Atreides, the firstborn son of a noble family who come to Arrakis to export its impossible wealth of spice. Chalamet will be about the same age Kyle MacLachlan was when he played the role in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation.
According to Variety, Oscar Isaac is in talks to play Leto Atreides, Paul Atreides’ father. Now you’re just getting greedy, Dune remake, while Rebecca Ferguson is in talks to play Lady Jessica, the Duke’s true love and the woman who teaches Paul the skills of the Bene Gesserit.
Josh Brolin will play Gurney Halleck, the chief warmaster (and aspiring musician!) of the Atreides family, and the one responsible for young Paul’s combat training (via Variety).
Jason Momoa will go from underwater to the desert of Arrakis as Duncan Idaho, another warrior loyal to the Atreides, and one who could have quite a future with the franchise (via THR).
Zendaya will play Chani, a Fremen warrior and a key piece of young Paul’s emotional and spiritual journey. Collider first broke the news of Zendaya’s involvement.
In other Fremen news, Javier Bardem will play Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe that ultimately takes Paul Atreides in and helps shape his destiny (via Variety).
Charlotte Rampling has signed on to play galactic emperor’s Truthsayer, Gaius Helen Mohiam
Dave Bautista is on board as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, known by the charming name of “Beast.”
Stellan Skarsgard will play the villain Baron Harkonnen.
David Dastmalchian is playing Piter De Vries, who’s described by Deadline as “a twisted Mentat, a human trained to perform mental functions rivaling computers.”
Chang Chen will play Dr. Yueh, a physician who works for the Atreides family, as depicted in the novel. The Taiwanese actor has primarily appeared in Chinese releases, though stateside moviegoers will know him from 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Dune Remake Story
There have been attempts to bring Dune to the screen since David Lynch’s 1984 film, notably the Sci-Fi Channel’s 2000 mini-series, which was perhaps more faithful to the source material, but lacked the resources of Lynch’s big screen attempt. That was followed by the Children of Dune mini-series, which combined elements of the second and third books from the series, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.
One of the key failures of Lynch’s Dune movie was to try and condense the massive first book into one film. It also gives the (incorrect) impression that story ended with any sense of closure, when the source material didn’t. Any new attempt to make Dune not only has to factor in the other books in the series, but has to take into account the simple reality that the first book might be too big for one movie. Vileneuve seems to understand this, recently saying “Dune will probably take two years to make…The goal is to make two films, maybe more.” (via The Playlist). This is excellent news for fans of the saga, and Legendary is hoping to begin production in early 2019. There’s also already the first TV spinoff in the works to flesh out the world even further.
“Most of the main ideas of Star Wars are coming from Dune so it’s going to be a challenge to [tackle] this,” Villeneuve told Fandom back in January. “The ambition is to do the Star Wars movie I never saw. In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults. We’ll see.”
Frank Herbert wrote six Dune novels, each more bonkers than the last. The saga has since been continued by Herbert’s son along with sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson. But again, even just keeping the focus on Frank Herbert’s first six, or even first three books, Dune simply can’t be contained by a single film. Perhaps the biggest failing of the David Lynch version was its attempt to give closure to what was really only the beginning of the story. But it seems that’s the plan here, as Villeneuve told Fandom, “the idea is to start from the very first book.”
But Dune, with its sprawling, psychedelic, intergalactic story of royalty, prophesy, and fiefdoms has proven notoriously difficult to do justice on screen. The most notable failure remains Alejandro Jodorowsky’s years-long quest to bring the movie to life using everyone from legendary comic book artist Moebius to Mick Jagger to Salvador Dali. This was chronicled in the stunning Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary, which is ironically the best Dune-related thing to ever actually make it to the screen. Seriously, you need to check it out.
Mike Cecchini can be found folding space in his spare time and on Twitter.