Following multiple delays due to the pandemic, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is locked in for a theatrical release and streaming via HBO Max on October 22. Warner Bros. unleashed a new trailer this week, showcasing Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel.
Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, whose family ships off their lush home planet of Caladan for the desert planet of Arrakis. Here are five things you need to know about Villeneuve’s big-budget take on Dune.
This is the first of a two-part adaptation
Villeneuve was adamant out of the gate that his adaptation of Herbert’s novel would require two films. The studio obliged, although there no current timetable for the second half of the tale.
“I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” Villeneuve said in 2020. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”
The pandemic led to multiple delays
Dune was initially set to hit theatres in November of 2020, which was later bumped to December 2020. The release date was changed once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, landing an October 1, 2021 release. That date was later scrapped for its current October 22 release to avoid interference with the release of the 25th instalment in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die.
The director and studio are at odds over the release plan
While the pandemic effectively shut down theatres for the better part of the last year-and-a-half, Warner Bros. opted to plan a hybrid release for theatres and its HBO Max streaming product.
The decision did not sit well with Villeneuve and production company Legendary Pictures. The director penned an essay on Variety blasting the hybrid release plan.
“There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here,” Villeneuve said of the HBO Max decision. “It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. Therefore, even though Dune is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.”
The cast is absolutely stacked
While the debate over release plans rages on, there is no dispute over the sheer awesomeness of the cast.
In addition to Chalamet, Dune stars several of the biggest names in modern cinema including Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, and David Dastmalchian.
It’s not Hollywood’s first run at the sci-fi classic
In 1984 Universal Pictures attempted to put Herbert’s novel on the big screen with a then up-and-coming director David Lynch. While it’s become something of a cult classic, it stands as one of Hollywood’s greatest failures of the decade.
The film failed to earn back its $40 million budget and a plethora of disappointing reviews from critics.
Then there’s Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed attempt to bring Dune to the big screen in the mid-1970s as a acid-fuelled sci-fi trip fest complete with a Pink Floyd soundtrack. The process was thoroughly detailed in the highly-recommended 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.