Arrival, Blade Runner, And Now Dune: Denis Villeneuve Is Taking Over Sci-Fi

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is on a major sci-fi kick. Following his Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations for Arrival and the recently released first look at his Blade Runner sequel, it’s been announced that the filmmaker will undertake a remake of a notoriously difficult project: an adaptation of author Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, Dune.

David Lynch made the first film version in 1984 following an epic and legendary fail by director Alejandro Jodorowsky a decade earlier (the making of which spawned its own documentary, 2013’s Jodorowsky’s Dune, about the troubled and ambitious production).

Villeneuve has been rumoured to be in the running for the job for about a year now but the official announcement came late last night when author Brian Herbert, the son of Dune’s creator, Frank Herbert, tweeted the news.

The novel is about a futuristic interstellar civilization under the control of a supreme Emperor and Imperial Court. A drug called “the spice” is the most highly valued substance in the Dune universe (in increases lifespan and makes interstellar travel far safer and much more predictable). The spice can be found only on the planet Arrakis, the eventual domain of the charismatic and gifted Paul Atreides (played by Kyle MacLachlan in Lynch’s version). Circumstances and ambition intersect to propel Atreides to the level of a kind of ruling messiah—a role he feels conflicted over. Also: there are sandworms.

Considering the five sequels Herbert wrote (plus a number of prequel novels penned by his son), Dune is a prime source for franchise-building… if Villeneuve can manage to get the first instalment into theatres.

In the meantime, check out trailer for Lynch’s Dune, Jodorowsky’s Dune, and the Frank Herbert’s Dune TV miniseries below. Or, y’know, just read it.