Whether you're familiar with the Kwisatz Haderach or not, the Dune movie is coming — and it's going to debut in a highly accessible fashion we're surprised to find out about.
If you've ever tried and failed to read Frank Herbert's Dune, you're probably familiar with how dense and complicated it is. This is where director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, Sicario) seeks to bring fans and new folks alike into the same tent, by making a Dune film that's both accessible and true to the book.
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One of the ways Villeneuve will seek to make this all work is by splitting the original book into multiple parts. The Dune movie that's coming soon is going to be adapting the first half of Herbert's beloved and intricate 1965 novel. A second Dune movie is expected (but not green-lit) to finish the work.
Oh, and the other trick they're using to draw audiences to the world of Dune — where you want to know what a Gom Jabbar is, and want to know how to control the Spice — is by filling it with a superb cast. At the front is Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird), along with Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Rebecca Ferguson (The Snowman) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman, See).
Here's what you need to get excited about the Dune movie, and as for understanding it, just watch the trailer. You'll quickly figure out if this is for you or not.
- Not in the US? Here's how to watch HBO Max from anywhere
Dune movie trailer
The first official video of the Dune movie is ready for your consumption now:
Dune's trailer begins with troubled narration from protagonist Paul Atreides, as he is starting to feel something coming over him. But before he can kiss Chani, he wakes up to his regal bedroom, and speaks of a "crusade coming." He's then interrogated about how his dreams are true to life. Then, a masked figure, who appears to be Gaius Helen Mohiam, tests his limits for pain.
Then, our young ruler-to-be spars, casts his gloomy expression upon vista after vista. We see floating objects, and a powerful wrist-worn device. Atreides' father is apparently losing his mind, and Paul is realizing his time in power may be incoming. We see plenty of wild-looking persons, flaming trees, floating soldiers and then it's all cool flying ships and blades and gaping maws of desert monsters. Marvel movie fans may even recognize someone who looks like Drax, but isn't.
Dune movie release date
When I heard Dune was scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2020, I called that "a little optimistic."
And I was right. Dune's got a new release date: Oct. 1, 2021. Collider broke the news. Oh, and about that release date ... there's one huge big detail we should add.
Dune movie on HBO Max
Yes, Dune will debut on HBO Max the same day it hits theaters, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Warner Bros. to think differently.
The only caveat? It will only be on HBO Max for 31 days, and then it becomes a theatrical exclusive again.
Dune movie cast and crew
Dune is led by Timothée Chalamet, whose appeal may be wide enough to bring a large audience to this adaptation, which might not have been their cup of tea otherwise. He's joined by an all-star cast of modern comic/sci-fi movie actors, including MJ herself, Zendaya. Oh, and Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin are here to smolder.
Here is the main cast of Dune:
- Zendaya as Chani
- Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica
- Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides
- Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho
- Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck
- Dave Bautista as Glossu 'Beast' Rabban
- Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides
- Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
- Javier Bardem as Stilgar
- David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries
- Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam
- Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat
- Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet-Kynes
- Chen Chang as Dr. Wellington Yueh
- Babs Olusanmokun as Jamis
Aside from director Denis Villeneuve, Dune's pedigree is strong even behind the scenes. Villeneuve co-wrote the script with Eric Roth (Forrest Gump).
Villeneuve wasn't the original director, though, as Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) was originally tasked, but left before Paramount dropped Dune from its list of projects. Legendary Pictures would later acquire rights, and they brought Villeneuve to the table. Also, erase all memories of David Lynch's 1984 Dune movie. Villeneuve has states his movie has no connections to that original. Relatedly, Lynch has no interest in seeing this movie.
Hans Zimmer is scoring Dune, and picked the project over Christopher Nolan's Tenet, due to his own personal love of Herbert's book.
Dune story: What's it actually about
10,000 years in the future, the empire of the Imperium rules the world of Dune, which looks to be a more manageable massive space opera on the screen than it is on the page. The big story at the center of the story finds Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides, dealing with strife, a powerful drug known as The Spice and giant sandworms.
The story begins on Arrakis, where Paul is fighting for his life as his family takes over the mining of The Spice (also known as Melange). Complicating things is Baron Harkonnen, who was caricature-calibur evil in the books, though Villeneuve wants to turn into a more complex antagonist.
On Arrakis, Paul's life changes once powers begin to manifest in his body, and his own goals begin to conflict with his family's politics.