The new Dune movie from sci-fi maestro Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) is finally arriving this year, and fans of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same title are excited to watch one of the most highly-anticipated hitting theaters this year.
This Dune film will adapt only the first half of the novel, with the other half slated for a sequel. Villeneuve explained the choice of telling the story this way, "I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie. The world is too complex. It's a world that takes its power in its details."
Originally scheduled to release on December 18, 2020, Dune has been delayed to October 22, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That should give you enough time to catch up on the novels. If you're hyped for the film, make sure to bookmark this page as we update you with everything you need to know about Dune.
The plot of Dune: What is this epic sci-fi all about?
Published in 1965, Dune by Frank Herbert is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time, and it's also considered one of the greatest books of all time. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and tied with Roger Zelazny's This Immortal for the Hugo Award in 1966. Dune is set far into the future in an intergalactic feudal society where powerful noble houses fight for control over armies, planetary power, and resources.
The story follows the young Paul Atreides, whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis, a barren desert planet with harsh climate, but it's the only place to mine melange, or the "spice", a drug that enhances mental abilities and extends life. The drug is also used for space navigation, which requires a kind of multidimensional awareness and foresight that only the drug provides. However, on Arrakis, the Emperor and their rival House Harkonnen betrays Duke Leto, which sets off a battle over Arrakis and its spice.
Arrakis is inhabited with giant sandwords and a native population known as Fremen, who learned to survive with water is their most precious resource and currency.
Dune's story explores the multi-layered interactions of ecology, human emotion, politics, religion, and technology.
According to members of the press who've seen the IMAX presentation in July, we learn that the opening scene of Dune is focused on exposition, with Zendaya's character, Chani, describing the imperial pressure of the Harkonnen boot on the Fremen tribes of Arakkis.
In an interview with Empire, Denis Villeneuve said that it was a top priority for him to make Dune a "more feminine" story. "For me, it was important to bring more femininity to the story," Villeneuve said. "I am fascinated by the relationship of femininity and power, the place of women in society."
The official synopsis of Dune from Warner Bros. reads:
A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, "Dune" tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Has Dune become a movie or TV show?
Yes. Over the decades, there have been many attempts to adapt Dune into a film, and the most famous one is David Lynch's film in 1984. However, that movie was a failure, both critically and commercially, making it one of the biggest flops in film history.
Other filmmakers like Ridley Scott, Peter Berg, and even Herbert's son attempted to make a film adaptation, but none of them made it into production.
The Sci-Fi Channel released a disappointing miniseries version in 2004, but none of the adaptations has done the book justice.
Are we finally going to get the right Dune movie?
The latest Dune movie adaptation is directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose sci-fi film Arrival was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. He also directed Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 cyberpunk film Blade Runner. Villeneuve has proven that he's capable at adapting thought-provoking stories and visually-stunning films, so fans have high hopes that he will give the book justice in his Dune adaptation.
In August, star Jason Momoa told the New York Times Magazine that the studio needs to release the four-to-six hour version of the film instead of the two-and-a-half theatrical version.
"It was a cool movie. You know what they need to do? They need to make the four-to-six hour version of the first half. It's like, ‘Let's watch the four-to-five-hour movie like a TV show; I can choose when I want to watch the whole thing.' I want to see Denis' whole vision. I don't want it to be trimmed."
In August 2021, Zendaya, who plays Chani, told Empire that she was only in the set for four days. "[Denis Villeneuve is] so kind and attentive to all of his actors," Zendaya said. "I was only there for four days and I did not want to leave! Denis understands what he wants from us but he's also very collaborative, allowing me to have my take on the character as well. I don't want to jinx anything but I can't wait to explore her more. I hope I get to learn more from Denis. I love to learn from people who are great at their job."
The cast of Dune: Who's going to be in the movie?
The protagonist Paul Atreides is played by Timothée Chalamet. Paul's mother, Lady Jessica is played by Rebecca Ferguson, and his father, Duke Letro Atreides, is played by Oscar Isaac.
The villain, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, is played by Stellan Skarsgård. During an interview with Vanity Fair, Villeneuve said that his film has a new approach to the villain, created with full body prosthetics, saying, "As much as I deeply love the book, I felt that the baron was flirting very often with caricature. I tried to bring him a bit more dimension. That's why I brought in Stellan. Stellan has something in the eyes. You feel that there's someone thinking, thinking, thinking--that has tension and is calculating inside, deep in the eyes. I can testify, it can be quite frightening."
David Bautista plays Glossu Rabban, the nephew of the Baron. Javier Barden plays Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe; Zendaya plays Chani Kynes, a formidable Fremen fighter; Josh Brolin plays Gurney Halleck, a ministrel warrior; Jason Momoa plays Duncan Idaho, House Atreides' skilled swordmaster.
In July 2021, Warner Bros. released character posters for Dune, highlighting the main cast of Villeneuve's highly-anticipated adaptation.
Another poster for Dune was shared on Aug. 9, giving us a look at the ensemble cast.
Dune 2021 release date: When will the new Dune movie come out?
Dune was originally set to release in theaters on December 18, 2020; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. announced that Dune would hit theaters and HBOMax simultaneously on October 22, 2021, along with the studio's entire film slate for the year. However, in October 2021, Warner Bros. announced that the film will be released on HBO Max a day earlier. Fans will be able to watch it on HBO Max starting Oct. 21 at 3pm PT/6pm ET.
Denis Villeneuve blasted the deal in an essay in Variety, writing, "There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. 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."
On August, Villeneuve explained why watching Dune on television is like driving a "speedboat in your bathtub".
Dune 2021 trailer: Is there any teaser or trailer out yet?
Update: The latest Dune movie trailer was released on July 22, 2021, giving us an early look at the epic battles in planet Arrakis, and it looks pretty epic. Watch the new Dune trailer here:
Warner Bros. has already released trailers for Dune, giving us an early look at Timothée and Zendaya's outstanding on-screen chemistry and action scenes. You can watch the trailers below.
HBO Max also released an exclusive trailer for Dune, teasing an exclusive look at the epic sci-fi film.
On Oct. 7, Warner Bros. has released the final trailer for Dune, which teases more epic footage from the highly-anticipated sci-fi film.
This movie is really meant to be seen in theaters, and it's already dominating the international box office with over $100 million in profits.
Will Dune 2 be confirmed? What will it be about?
Although Warner Bros. hasn't confirmed any sequels for Denis Villeneuve's upcoming Dune movie, the director said that he believes that the studio will confirm it. It was also reported that the sequel will focus on Chani (played by Zendaya).