Dune has been a science fiction classic since the novel’s release in 1965. It’s been adapted a few times since then, most famously by David Lynch in the 1980s. This year, another adaptation, led by Denis Villeneuve, is set to be released. During a Q&A session with Stephen Colbert, the first trailer for this newest version was unveiled.
Frank Herbert’s novel was originally published as two separator serials in Analog magazine. Villenueve’s adaptation seems to be based on the first publication, as there will actually be two movies. The first will be released this year, covering half of the store, and the second, covering the other half, does not have a title or release date yet.
Set in a futuristic space society, Dune tells the story of Paul Atriedes, who is from a noble family that takes charge of the desert planet Arrakis. The planet is the only source of the drug melange, which enhances mental abilities and increases users’ life spans. Different factions of the empire battle for control of Arrakis and melange, endangering Paul and the rest of the Atriedes family.
Denis Villeneuve is the director of this adaptation. He previously directed Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, so he is no stranger to high-concept science fiction. Warner Bros is the studio behind the film, which is set for theatrical release on December 18, 2020. However, with COVID-19, there is no way to tell if the date will be delayed or if the movie will be released in another medium.
The cast of Dune is full of familiar names. Timothée Chalamet is Paul Atreides, with Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson playing his parents, Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica. Zendaya takes another major role as Chani, Paul’s love interest. The cast also includes Dave Bautista, Stellen Skarsgård, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem.
The trailer gives us our first glimpse into Villeneuve’s version of the Dune universe. It starts with what seems to be a psychic vision of Chani from Paul’s perspective. We see several shots of the desert world and Paul interacting with a mysterious woman covered by a head veil. Based upon the diaglogue we hear over the scenes, we can guess that Paul is being trained to take over the planet from his father.
Dune 2020 appears to be a well-directed, high concept film, much like Villaneuve’s previous work. Don’t worry about being disappointed, as it seems like this version will deliver the same level of complexity and artistry as the novel.