Dune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) is a 2021 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth. It is the first of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel of the same name from Frank Herbert's Dune franchise. Set in the far distant future, the film follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the deadly and inhospitable desert planet Arrakis. The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

Dune
Release poster
Directed byDenis Villeneuve
Screenplay by
Based onDune
by Frank Herbert
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyGreig Fraser
Edited byJoe Walker
Music byHans Zimmer
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • September 3, 2021 (2021-09-03) (Venice)
  • October 22, 2021 (2021-10-22) (United States)
Running time
155 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$165 million[2]
Box office$434.8 million[3]

The film is the third adaptation of Dune, following David Lynch's 1984 film and John Harrison's 2000 television miniseries. After an unsuccessful attempt by Paramount Pictures to produce a new adaptation, Legendary Entertainment acquired the Dune film and television rights in 2016, with Villeneuve signing on as director in February 2017. Production contracts were secured only for the first film, relying on its success before a sequel would be produced. Principal photography took place from March to July 2019 at locations including Budapest, Jordan, Norway, and Abu Dhabi.

Dune was scheduled for a late 2020 release but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2021, before its international release on September 15; it was then released in United States theaters and streaming on HBO Max on October 22. Dune was a box office success, grossing $402 million on a $165 million budget. It was well received by critics and audiences, with praise for Villeneuve's direction, screenplay, the visual effects, ambition, costume design, Hans Zimmer's musical score, cinematography, and faithfulness to the source material. The film won six awards at the 94th Academy Awards and was nominated in four other categories, including Best Picture, in addition to receiving numerous other accolades.

A sequel, Dune: Part Two, had its world premiere at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square in London on February 15, 2024.[4]

Plot edit

In the distant future, Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of the planet Caladan, is assigned by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV to replace Baron Vladimir Harkonnen as the fiefholder of Arrakis, a harsh desert planet and sole source of "spice", a valuable psychotropic substance that imparts heightened vitality and awareness. Spice is key to interstellar travel, giving Spacing Guild Navigators the ability to guide starships to traverse space instantaneously and safely. Shaddam plots for House Harkonnen to retake Arrakis, secretly aided by his Sardaukar troops, to destroy House Atreides. Leto is suspicious of the Emperor but weighs the risks against the power of controlling Arrakis and making an alliance with its mysterious natives, the Fremen.

Leto's concubine, Lady Jessica, is an acolyte of the Bene Gesserit, an exclusive sisterhood whose members possess advanced physical and mental abilities. As part of their centuries-long breeding program, they instructed her to bear a daughter whose son would become the Kwisatz Haderach, a Bene Gesserit and messianic superbeing with the clairvoyance necessary to guide humanity to a better future. She disobeyed and bore a son, Paul, who is trained by Leto's aides, Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck, the Suk doctor Wellington Yueh, and the Mentat Thufir Hawat; Jessica teaches him Bene Gesserit disciplines. Paul confides in Jessica and Duncan of his troubling visions of the future. The Reverend Mother and Imperial Truthsayer Gaius Helen Mohiam visits Caladan and subjects him to a death-alternative Gom jabbar test to assess his humanity and impulse control, which he passes. At a secret meeting on Giedi Prime, Mohiam insists Baron Harkonnen spare Paul and Jessica in his coup, to which he duplicitously agrees.

House Atreides arrives at Arrakeen, the fortress stronghold on Arrakis. Duncan's advance party has made contact with the Fremen. The natives revere Paul and Jessica, which Jessica explains is due to the Bene Gesserit sowing beliefs on Arrakis centuries earlier. Leto negotiates with Fremen chieftain Stilgar and meets the Imperial Judge of the Change, Dr. Kynes, a planetologist who lives among the Fremen. Kynes briefs them on the dangers of spice harvesting, and the giant sandworms which travel under the desert and make the use of protective Holtzman shields unwise. During a flight, they dramatically rescue a stranded spice-harvesting crew from a sandworm, and Paul's exposure to the spice triggers intense premonitions.

An attempt to assassinate Paul with a hunter-seeker fails. Yueh betrays the Atreides and disables Arrakeen's shields, allowing the Harkonnens and Sardaukar to invade. He incapacitates Leto, planning to exchange him for his wife, who is the Baron's prisoner. Yueh replaces one of Leto's teeth with a poison gas capsule with which the Duke can assassinate the Baron. After the Baron double-crosses and murders Yueh, Leto releases the gas, killing himself and the Baron's Mentat, Piter De Vries, but the Baron survives. Though the Baron has arranged to have Paul and Jessica dropped deep in the desert to die, a compassionate Yueh has left them with a fremkit with survival supplies. Jessica uses a Bene Gesserit technique called "the Voice" to overpower and kill their captors. Paul and Jessica journey overnight in the desert where Paul, surrounded by spice, has visions of a bloody "holy war" fought across the universe in his name.

Baron Harkonnen gives command of the conquered Arrakis to his nephew, Rabban, and orders him to restart spice production to recoup the cost of the invasion. Paul and Jessica are found by Duncan and Kynes, and Paul discloses his plan to marry one of Shaddam's daughters to avert the civil war that would ensue from news of the Emperor's treachery. They are found by the Sardaukar but Duncan sacrifices himself to enable Paul and Jessica to escape; Kynes is mortally wounded and lures a sandworm to devour her and the Sardaukar. In the deep desert, Paul and Jessica encounter Stilgar's tribe, including Chani, the girl in Paul's visions. Fremen warrior Jamis opposes Stilgar's lenience to them and challenges Paul to a ritual duel to the death, which Paul wins. Against Jessica's wishes, Paul joins the Fremen to fulfill his father's goal of bringing peace to Arrakis.

Cast edit

In addition, members of the supporting cast include:

Production edit

Background edit

Following the publication of Frank Herbert's novel Dune in 1965, it was identified for potential film prospects and the rights to adapt the novel to film have been held by several producers since 1971. Attempts to make an adaptation based on the book were considered to be "unfilmable" due to its breadth of content.[9][10][11] The book's status among fans meant that deviations without strong justification could potentially harm the film's reputation.[12]

Alejandro Jodorowsky acquired the rights in the 1970s to make a fourteen-hour adaptation of the book, but the project ultimately failed to secure sufficient funds. This development effort became the subject of the documentary film Jodorowsky's Dune (2013).[13] David Lynch's Dune, produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis in 1984, was intended as a three-hour film but was cut to 137 minutes; it was poorly received and Lynch himself ended up disowning it.[12][14][15][16] In 1996, producer Richard P. Rubinstein acquired the rights to the novel. A live-action miniseries produced by Rubinstein and directed by John Harrison, Frank Herbert's Dune, aired on the Sci Fi Channel in 2000; it was a ratings hit and was generally better received than Lynch's film. Some reviewers criticized the miniseries for lacking the spectacle afforded to a feature film production, as well as for staying too faithful to the book and being dragged down by exposition.[17][18] Prospects to make a successful adaptation of Dune improved after the critical and commercial success of the film series adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, both of which maintained most of the works' key characters and plots while managing the limited running time.[12] In 2008, Paramount Pictures hired Peter Berg to direct an adaptation.[19] Berg left the project in October 2009,[20] with director Pierre Morel being hired on January 2010.[21] Paramount later cancelled the project in March 2011, as they could not come to key agreements, with their rights reverting to Rubinstein.[22][23]

Development edit

 
Denis Villeneuve said that adapting Dune was a lifelong ambition. He was hired to direct in February 2017.

In 2011, Mary Parent, vice chair of worldwide production for Legendary Entertainment, and Cale Boyter, her producer partner, managed to acquire adaptation rights for Dune.[24] Eventually, Legendary acquired the film and TV rights for Dune in November 2016.[25][26] Variety reported in December 2016 that Denis Villeneuve was in talks with the studio to direct the film.[27] Villeneuve had expressed his interest in the project in September 2016, saying that "a longstanding dream of mine is to adapt Dune, but it's a long process to get the rights, and I don't think I will succeed".[28] His enthusiasm to direct a Dune film earned Parent's respect. Parent called Villeneuve and quickly hired him after Villeneuve described his vision for the film to her. He chose to complete his other films first, such as Arrival (2016) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017), as he wanted to spend more time to develop the film and co-write it himself. He also felt "Dune is my world" due to his background in directing science-fiction films.[24][29] Villeneuve had signed on to direct the film by January 2017, approximately a week after earning a nomination Academy Award for Best Director for Arrival.[30] By that February, Villeneuve was officially confirmed to be directing the film.[31]

Some of Villeneuve's previous collaborators on Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 returned for Dune, including film editor Joe Walker,[32] production designer Patrice Vermette, visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert, sound designer and editor Theo Green, sound editor Mark Mangini,[33] and special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer.[34] Other previous collaborators were slated to work on Dune but dropped out before production began, including visual effects supervisor John Nelson[35] and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who was replaced in December 2018 with Greig Fraser.[36] Dune was produced by Villeneuve, Parent, and Cale Boyter, with Tanya Lapointe, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert, Thomas Tull, Jon Spaihts, Richard P. Rubinstein, John Harrison, and Herbert W. Gain serving as executive producers and Kevin J. Anderson as creative consultant.[37][38] Game of Thrones language creator David J. Peterson was confirmed to be developing languages for the film in April 2019.[39]

Writing edit

In March 2018, Villeneuve stated that his goal was to adapt the novel into a two-part film series.[40] He secured a two-movie deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, in the same style as the two-part adaptation of Stephen King's It in 2017 and in 2019. He chose to make two films as he felt that the novel was too large and complex for one.[41] Subsequent dealings secured the production of the first film and new production deals were made to start production for the second.[42]

Eric Roth was hired to co-write the screenplay in April,[43] and Jon Spaihts was later confirmed to be co-writing the script alongside Roth and Villeneuve.[44] By May 2018, Villeneuve finished a first draft of the script.[45][46] Brian Herbert also reiterated that the latest draft covered the first half of Dune by July 2018.[47] Legendary CEO Joshua Grode confirmed in April 2019 that they plan to make a sequel, adding that "there's a logical place to stop the [first] movie before the book is over".[48] Spaihts stated the team reduced the depiction of Arab influences used in the novel for the film as "Today the Arab world is with us … If you were to build a kind of Arab future on Arrakis in a novel starting today, you would need to invent more and borrow less."[49]

Villeneuve had seen Lynch's adaptation of Dune, and respected both Lynch and the film, but chose not to build on any elements from it, saying "I'm going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it".[50] He described his reaction to the film as being "half-satisfied", and felt he had to make the film with a "different sensibility".[51] He also chose not to incorporate concepts that Jodorowsky had envisioned for his Dune film, as he felt it would be "very presumptuous and arrogant for me to try."[52][53] He later explained that previous adaptations of the novel did not fully intimidate him, as he felt that his love for Dune allowed him to focus on his own vision. He compared his experience of making the film to archaeology, describing the process as "going back in time and finding those images mixed with emotions, and bringing them back to life and trying to honor them as much as possible."[24]

In adapting the book for a contemporary audience, Villeneuve wanted to reflect on realities that have happened since that time related to contemporary over-exploitation of the Earth, and he considered his screenplay "a coming-of-age story, but also a call for action for the youth".[41] In doing so, Villeneuve wanted to recreate the experience he had felt when he initially read the book as teen.[54] He streamlined many parts of the novel for the film, and wanted to keep "the atmosphere and poetry of the book intact".[55] This included eliminating internal monologues and epigraphs used in the book and simplifying the "pseudo-antiquated" dialogue.[24] Instead, he focused the story around Paul and Jessica, giving them a secret hand gesture language they could use to communicate silently to each other. The film also minimizes many of the aspects around the Emperor and the politics surrounding the Imperium, as he believed he could keep the scope of the novel and its exploration of how power is used, while still keeping the focus on Paul's coming-of-age story.[55] The inclusion of film books was adapted from the book, with Villeneuve wanting it to convey Paul's "appetite for learning" and his desire to learn about the Arrakis and Fremen culture.[54]

Some characters were given less prominence, such as Baron Harkonnen, members of his court, and the Mentats Thufir Hawat and Piter De Vries, but established enough so that they can be used in the future.[55] He wanted to depict the Baron as a complex antagonist rather than as a caricature, feeling the novel presented him as being the latter, and took inspiration from Colonel Kurtz.[41][54] Another major change was altering some of the arcs of the female characters in the book to give them more respect and prominence, as Villeneuve felt femininity was a crucial theme in the book.[55] According to Rebecca Ferguson, "Denis was very respectful of Frank's work in the book, [but] the quality of the arcs for [many] of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now."[41] Lady Jessica was given an expanded role as a soldier and member of the Bene Gesserit. As such, the studio labeled this role a "warrior priestess", in contrast to the joking label of "space nun" that Villeneuve felt was implied by the book.[41]

Casting edit

Villeneuve had begun the casting process by first determining who would portray Paul Atreides and progressing from there. He approached actors on an individual basis and felt the final cast was close to his "dream list".[56] For Paul, Villeneuve had desired an actor who had "an old soul in the body of a teenager" and identified Timothée Chalamet as his ideal choice for the role, later admitting that he had no alternate choices in mind.[57][58] Chalamet, who previously auditioned for a role in Villeneuve’s Prisoners (2013) and did not get it,[30] had also desired to be cast in the film and collaborate with Villeneuve. As such, he travelled to the Cannes Film Festival to personally discuss with Villeneuve about the role.[30][59] By July 2018, Chalamet had entered final negotiations to play Paul and was attached to the role a few months afterwards.[60][61] Rebecca Ferguson entered negotiations that September to play Paul's mother, Lady Jessica, with Chalamet having been confirmed for the role by then.[44] Ferguson was initially dismissive of the role, as she felt Lady Jessica had been too similar to her previous Mission: Impossible role as Ilsa Faust and also desired to not be typecast as "strong female characters".[62] However, she was convinced to accept the part after hearing Villeneuve's vision of the role and reading the novel, saying "when I gradually understood the intricate balance of these women — that the ancestral connection that they have, the simplicity of wanting to save something you have created and all of these shades, I completely fell in love with it".[63] She had been cast by January 2019.[64]

Casting director Francine Maisler had compiled over 30-50 audition tapes from actors for Villeneuve to decide from when casting secondary roles.[65] Dave Bautista was offered the role of Glossu Rabban following a phone call from Villeneuve. He had been an avid fan of Villeneuve and wanted to contact him, but was surprised when Villeneuve contacted him first and proud of being offered the role. After accepting the role, he later commented "Moments like that really gauge how far I’ve come, as an actor".[66] Villeneuve desired for Stellan Skarsgård to portray Baron Vladimir Harkonnen as he had found Skarsgård intimidating, and personally contacted Charlotte Rampling in order to portray Gaius Helen Mohiam, who accepted as she enjoyed Villeneuve's work. Rampling was previously eyed to play Lady Jessica in Jodorowsky's planned adaptation.[67] Once Oscar Isaac heard the film was in development, he contacted Villeneuve and told him he wanted to star in it. Later on, Villeneuve decided to cast him as Duke Leto, with Isaac commenting the role had suited him physically. Zendaya had auditioned for the role of Chani alongside five other actresses, prior to Euphoria. She was chosen as she was deemed to have the best chemistry with Chalamet.[65] Zendaya had previously watched and enjoyed Prisoners and was excited to work with him.[30] Bautista,[68] Skarsgård,[69] Rampling,[70] Isaac,[71] and Zendaya all joined the cast in January 2019.[72]

In the next month, Javier Bardem,[73] Josh Brolin,[74] Jason Momoa,[75] and David Dastmalchian were all cast as Stilgar, Gurney Halleck, Duncan Idaho, and Piter de Vries, respectively.[76] Villeneuve directly called Bardem and offered him the role, who was shocked as he wanted to portray Stilgar, comparing it to his personal love for Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, Brolin amusingly commented that he pretended to read the script prior to accepting the role, while Momoa said he received his casting call when he was snowboarding down a mountain. He later contacted Villeneuve on a Skype call to confirm his involvement.[59] Dastmalchian's casting was similar to that of Brolin and Momoa's, as he had received a call while he was in his house in Los Angeles, and accepted the role without reading the script due to his confidence in Villeneuve.[77] Stephen McKinley Henderson joined in March,[38] with Chang Chen entering negotiations.[38][78] Maisler's decided to cast Henderson after admiring his work in New York theaters, and curated a list of the "most talented Chinese actors in the world" for the role of Dr. Yueh. The studio had difficulties contacting Chen, so they eventually contacted his manager in China. Afterwards, Chen accepted his role as Dr. Yueh in the film. The decision to cast Benjamin Clementine as the Herald of the Change occurred after Maisler enjoyed his performance in the Tiny Desk Concerts.[65]

In July 2019, it was reported that the film would "gender swap" the character Liet-Kynes by casting Sharon Duncan-Brewster for the role.[79] Duncan-Brewster had auditioned for the role in London through Jina Jay, a casting director working with Maisler at the time, saying that she "exudes an intelligence and a power and an inner strength". Later, Maisler then presented a shortlist for the potential cast members, with Villeneuve selecting Duncan-Brewster.[65] Her casting was confirmed in April 2020.[41] The idea to change Kynes's gender was suggested by Jon Spaihts, which Villeneuve promptly accepted.[55] According to Duncan-Brewster, Villeneuve felt it was necessary to capture the essence of the character from the book, but was not necessary to remain consistent with all other facets, and thus opted for this change.[42]

Design edit

Set and props edit

The set design for the film was done by production designer Patrice Vermette.[80] Vermette stated that the set design for Dune would be guided by the need "to ground the story into realistic settings to help the audience believe in the extraordinary elements". He sought to make the sets as realistic and immersive as possible, using minimal set extensions and no greenscreens.[24][81] Prior to the creation of any sets or visual effects, Villeneuve and a group of specific people, including his storyboard artist and later concept artist Deak Ferrand, worked together to define the visual language for the film.

Vermette created a "visual bible" to guide the development of the set design and to keep it consistent with the visual effects design used throughout the film and eventually later "came on board to extrapolate the world". He also re-read the novel, as he felt that "the book gives a lot of clues or cues that will help you navigate it to design things, but it's quite nonspecific", adding that he wanted to support Villeneuve's original vision of the novel when he read it as a young teenager, and base the design around Herbert's original novel. The team's early mood boards for the visual language of the film consisted of a variety of images, including ziggurat architecture from Mesopotamia, Egyptian references, bunkers from World War II, brutalist architecture from Brazil and the Soviet Union, megastructures conceived by Superstudio, marble mines, power dams, and imagery of glaciers taking over mountains.[24][81][82][83]

The design for the ornithopters was conceived by Villeneuve and storyboard artist Sam Hudecki. Villeneuve wanted the ornithopter be "muscular"; he wanted it to resemble a dragonfly and helicopter, but also appear realistic, such as through "obey[ing] the laws of nature, gravity, and physics". This fit in with his overall perception of the Dune world being retro-futuristic and analog. He wanted his team to design the cockpits in a way so that it allowed the actors to "always be in visual contact with the landscape". Two function ornithopter models, 48- and 75-feet long, were created for filming by London propmakers, with operable doors and interior cockpit areas. They weighed over 11 tons and required an Antonov cargo plane to transport them to filming locations in Hungary and Jordan. One ornithopter used in filming, nicknamed "The Bucket", had customizable pieces allowing for more space. Cranes were used to make the models fly, such as during a scene in which Paul and Gurney watch a sandworm consume a spice harvester. He added that though it was difficult to use ornithopters for filming, he felt it was "quite rewarding to see them in position".[84][85]

Many practical sets were created on the soundstages and backlots of the Origo Film Studios in Budapest, Hungary, which served as interiors for the three planets. In the design for Caladan, Vermette sought to give the planet "a feeling of melancholia". He wanted Caladan to resemble autumn in Canada, his home country, as he thought that it represented "the end of a cycle... or the beginning of a new one". He identified "dramatic coastal mountain ranges" and forests containing Norwegian pines as defining features of the planet.[81] Meanwhile, the interior sets of Caladan were inspired by medieval Japanese aesthetics, particularly that of Paul's training room, containing intricate screens and diffused lighting. Props were created by set decorator Richard Roberts, including custom-made furniture, lighting, textiles produced in Denmark, and other items designed to look antique.[84]

The original design for the sandworm was deemed "prehistoric", inspired by whales with baleen in their mouths.[86] The sandworm's skin texture was based on tree bark and mud flats. Vermette spoke of the challenges involved in creating the set designs used for the sandworms, stating "It was a creature that commanded respect, and it’s almost seen as a deity in the world of the Fremen. So that’s why the first time you see the depiction of the sand worm on the mural, it’s presented with sun coming out of its mouth".[87]

The design for Arrakeen was influenced by the book's description of Arrakis's climate, with Vermette calling it "the biggest residency ever built by humankind" and "a response as a colonial entity that took over the planet for the exploitation of ... spice". He designed the city in a "rock bowl" shape to protect its infrastructure from sandworms, and the buildings at an angle to protect them against high wind speeds. He also made their walls thick, as it made the interiors cooler. The team was inspired by WWII bunkers, bunkers, Mayan temples, and Brazilian modernism. The history and culture of the Fremen was also indicated through various murals throughout the residence, compared to that of a church, saying "I thought maybe they had created murals telling the story of the colonizing of the planet — but those would probably have been created by Fremen artists."[24][83][87] One practical set was the environmental lab in which Sardaukar soldiers descend from the air. The circular dome was 20 feet high, with the spokes being created by a special kind of cloth fabric, giving the illusion of shadows and providing proper lighting for the act. Agriculturally controlled sand was placed on the ground as filming took place during Budapest's raining season.[82]

Costumes edit

Over 1000 looks for Arrakis, Caladan and Giedi Prime were designed by the team for the film.[88] The costume design for the film was done by Jacqueline West and Bob Morgan. Villeneuve told West that he wanted the costumes to be "grounded" in history, while instructing them to avoid conventional futuristic views used in science fiction films, and put emphasis of giving a "philosophical" atmosphere to the film.[89][90] West performed "psychological studies of the characters and digging into the past for symbolic analogs to the various houses' identities", which aided her in creation of the costumes. Her design was primarily inspired by the Middle Ages, and what she envisioned it would look like in the future, using the term "mod-eval" to describe her approach to designing the costumes. She found similarities between the Fremen and the French Resistance and called the Sardaukar the "Nazis of this universe". Additionally, she took inspiration from various painters, including Giotto, Francisco Goya, and Caravaggio, and British art historian John Berger. She also took cues from the fashion of Balenciaga, and the Bedouin and Tuareg people[89][88]

The Spacing Guild was based on the Avignon Papacy, as West had connected their persecution of the Templars to that of House Atreides, considering House Atreides "was betrayed by the Emperor and his people". She used reference pictures of medieval popes and modernized it when designing their costumes.[89] The Bene Gesserit sorceresses' costumes were based on tarot cards and chess pieces, while the Harkonnen's armors was designed to resemble a bug's shell, using books containing "medieval drawings of insects, spiders, ants, praying mantises and lizards" as reference.[91] The design for the Atreides's costumes was based on the Romanovs, as she felt "it was the end of an empire" and described their costumes as having a "simplicity ... that was regal".[92] Meanwhile, she based Lady Jessica's dresses in the first half of the film on the works of Cristóbal Balenciaga, while the turmeric-toned gown she wears while landing on Arrakis was influenced by Middle Eastern clothing and paintings of women in North Africa.[24][89]

West used the David Lean's films Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965), in addition to Fahrenheit 451 (1966) to further inspire the diversity of costumes. She also researched Roman and Greek mythology, feeling that it connected to House Atreides and House Harkonnen and characterized as being similar to a "real Greek and Roman tragedy on one level". She dyed the gauze for the Fremen in desert colors, inspired by the color of sand and rocks in the Jordan filming locations, as she felt it highlighted the movement and shapes of people's bodies.[88] A prototype for the stillsuit was designed by West and Jose Fernandez at Ironhead Studios in Los Angeles. Morgan then took Fernandez's prototype and set up a factory in an airplane hangar at Origo Studios, where additional suits were designed within two weeks. He hired artisans across Europe who created concept designs and over 150 individual pieces for the suits. Over 250 stillsuits were used when filming in Jordan. The suits were designed so that they were flexible and could fit the actor's body, while also remaining accurate to the novel. They created "micro-sandwiches" of acrylic fibers and porous cottons, which absorbed the moisture and allowed the actors to remain cool inside the suits. Tubing also ran through the micro-sandwiches for increased flexibility. Zippers and buttons were not used as they were deemed "archaic".[89][88][91]

Filming edit

Principal photography began on March 18, 2019, at Origo Film Studios in Budapest, Hungary, with Greig Fraser serving as cinematographer.[32][38][93] The film was shot for the IMAX format with an IMAX-certified Arri Alexa LF camera and an IMAX-certified Alexa Mini LF prototype, equipped with Panavision's large-format lenses in the Ultra Vista and H-series lineup. Select scenes had aspect ratios opened up to 1.90:1 on all IMAX screens, and to 1.43:1 on select IMAX screens outfitted with IMAX's dual-laser projection system. The finished footage was transferred to 35mm film stock, then scanned back to 4K, in order to achieve a more film-like look.[94][95]

Parts of the Arrakeen invasion, such as the shots of Gurney, extras, and practical explosions, which were approximately five kilometers high, were filmed on backlots in Budapest.[96] Oscar Isaac's final scene he filmed was Duke Leto's death scene, eventually deciding to film it without clothes as he felt it was similar to Christ's crucifixion. He additionally came up with the idea of including the bull's head in the scene, identifying it as an "omen" associated with the character.[97] Supervising stunt coordinator and second unit director Tom Struthers had focused on developing a unique combat style for the film's major factions. When working on the action sequence between Duncan Idaho and the Sardaukar soldiers, he based Idaho's combat style from Greek and Roman warfare techniques, and the Sardaukar from Russian soldiers in WWII, saying they wanted to "mow down the enemy".[98] The interiors of ornithopters were filmed on hilltops outside Budapest, with a 25-foot high and 360-degree sand colored ramp circling a large gimbal, which the team called the "dog collar". This allowed Fraser to film with the natural sunlight, which Villeneuve wanted.[99][100] Filming also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan, which doubled for Arrakis.[38][101][102] The Liwa Oasis in the United Arab Emirates also served as a key backdrop for Arrakis. Shooting occurred across 11 days, with assistance being offered from local businesses, freelancers from Twofour54, and crews consisting of over 100 people.[103][104][105] Prior to filming Arrakis scene, Chalamet had learned the sandwalking technique beforehand, which had been designed by choreographer Benjamin Millepied, as he wanted to convey Paul's "responsibility to show Jessica in that moment" and how sandwalking was "instinctual to him".[106] Footage of helicopters flying over the UAE were also filmed, with six high-resolution cameras attached, being utilized as reference footage for the ornithopters.[100][107] Scenes featuring rock formations Fremens used as heat shelters were filmed at the Rub' al Khali desert in Abu Dhabi.[108] Filming also occurred in Stadlandet, Norway, doubling for the planet Caladan.[109] Filming wrapped on July 26, 2019.[110][111] Additional filming took place in Budapest by August 2020, which did not alter the film's then-December 2020 release date.[112][113]

Visual effects edit

 
"Sandscreens" were used to simulate the natural luminance of the desert intended for backgrounds.[114]

DNEG contributed to over 28 scenes in the film, and created 1,200 VFX shots out of the 1,700 total, with vendors including Wylie Co. and Rodeo FX.[115][116] Many shots used various chroma key process. Visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert used "sandscreens" for filming scenes in Arrakis and Arrakeen; instead of using green-based backgrounds, the visual effects team used sand-colored ones that matched the establishing desert shots intended for backgrounds. The sandscreens were used in capturing scenes of the ornithopter, with the VFX team using the helicopter footage and replacing them with the actual ornithopter models. This made the sand displacement, such as when it lands and takes off, easier to capture. This was also filmed by encapsulating the ornithopter models in a black box with fans blowing dust around. The wings were inserted using computer-generated imagery (CGI).[107][86][114] Similar processes were used to film scenes in Caladan, such as by creating "grayscreens" and those with a "slight blue tint" for filming interior and exterior scenes, respectively. Bluescreens were used for Salusa Secundus scenes. He clarified that different colored screens were used based on the imagery of the foreground and background, which made compositing them together easier. The resulting shots also appeared more natural than with other chroma key.[99][86][117] Approximately 18 tons of sand and dust were used on set, and the team created the effect of blowing sand using a V8 engine with a fan on the back of a tractor.[118]

The sandworms were created through CGI. The VFX team found a lot of difficulty in deciding how the sandworm would move. The team spent over a year in figuring out the movements of the sandworm, and researched the body movements of various animals, such as worms and snakes. The sand ripples created by the worms were inspired by Jaws (1975).[119] The special-effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer designed a vibrating 8x8 foot steel plate and placed it under the sand. This resulted in the formation of various patterns, used to signify an approaching sandworm. The vibrating areas were also later enhanced to cover a larger area.[99][100] The team initially considered using rigged explosives to capture the motion of the sandworms breaking the surface in the desert, but rejected the idea as this was impractical to perform in the Middle East. Instead, they used the Houdini software to have sand emulate the motion of water. Villeneuve did not want the associated sound design to appear as a studio production. Sound designers Mark Mangini and Theo Green used a "fake documentary realism" approach to capture natural sounds and manipulate them for use in the film, such as recording the sounds of shifting sands in Death Valley using hydrophones.[86]

The Montreal and Vancouver facilities of DNEG were used for the Arrakeen invasion sequence. It involved the combination of practical and digital effects. The VFX supervisor of the Montreal team, Brian Connor, created a digital Arrakeen space port, while the Vancouver team was tasked with simulating the explosions. Practical explosions filmed in the Budapest backlots were later enhanced by the VFX team, as the special effects team had rigs of practical light shining through the fog from the practical explosions. This allowed the VFX team to then blend the practical and digital shots together easier.[96] Lambert created the visual effects for the shields by combining past and future frames after experimenting with a clip from Seven Samurai (1954), which resulted in a "shimmering" look Villeneuve approved. They also added colors; they used blue for when an object bounces and red for when it penetrates. The scene of Paul's future vision was filmed using motion-capture (mo-cap), and the team replicated the mo-cap to add hundreds of fighters to the scene. Animation supervisor Robyn Luckham helped create the scene as the team didn't know much about mo-cap. They also added explosions in the foreground, sandworms in the background, sand displacement throughout the scenes, and used more simulations to render the scene in real-time.[100] To create the desert mouse, Muad'Dib, the team created a detailed practical stuffy model, and filmed it in Jordan for the appropriate desert lighting. The animation team used footage of animals idling as reference, and animated the mouse so that it "only expends effort when absolutely necessary".[120] The creosote bush hologram in the film was created by projecting different "slices" of the light on Chalamet's face during plate photography based on his position on the set using a projector. Wylie then completed the scene by adding the hologram around him. For the hunter-seeker, the team used a stick on set as reference, and later replaced it with the proper models via CGI. Practical rigs were attached to Skarsgård's body to create the illusion of the Baron's levitation. Sometimes, the levitation was done practically with a seesaw rig. However, the suspensor device attached to his back was inserted using CGI.[107][121]

Music edit

 
Hans Zimmer composed the film's score.

Hans Zimmer affirmed he would be scoring Dune near the start of the film's production in March 2019.[38] Zimmer had previously worked with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049. At the time, Zimmer had been approached by Christopher Nolan for composing on his then-upcoming film Tenet, but Zimmer opted for Dune, citing his personal love for the book as the reason.[122] Zimmer did not want the soundtrack to sound like his previous works and used instruments atypical of a Western orchestra, an approach he called "anti-groove".[123] He avoided watching Lynch's Dune so as not to be influenced by Toto's music, instead spending a week in a desert in Utah to incorporate its sounds into the score. The music was performed using an eclectic set of instruments, including some that were created specifically for the soundtrack. Performers for the score include guitarist Guthrie Govan and vocalist Loire Cotler. Additional music was composed by Steve Mazzaro and David Fleming, both of whom worked in collaboration with Zimmer to keep his pieces on theme.[123] Among the soundtrack pieces include bagpipes for the House Atreides theme. Zimmer said the idea of the House using bagpipes was Villeneuve's idea of something "ancient and organic". Zimmer was able to find thirty bagpipe players around Edinburgh amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recorded them playing in a church.[124]

For the first Dune trailer, Zimmer supervised a 32-person choir via FaceTime (necessitated by pandemic restrictions) for the recording of a cover of Pink Floyd's song "Eclipse". Choir members gathered in groups of four over eight separate sessions in Santa Monica at Zimmer's Remote Control studio while Zimmer conducted from home.[125]

Three soundtrack albums were released for the film by WaterTower Music, including The Dune Sketchbook (Music from the Soundtrack), Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), and The Art and Soul of Dune on September 3, September 17, and October 22, 2021, respectively. Villeneuve said Zimmer spent "months and months creating new instruments, defining, creating, and seeking new sounds, pushing the envelope" and praised his work on the film. Two singles were released on July 22, titled "Paul's Dream" and "Ripples in the Sand".[126] The film's score was nominated for the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media at the 2022 Grammy Awards.[127]

Marketing edit

Vanity Fair published a two-part extensive first-look report on Dune by April 14, 2020.[41] Empire's October 2020 issue's cover story included an in-depth look at the film and interviews with cast and crew, providing additional first looks ahead of the film's trailer release.[128] A teaser trailer was released on September 9, 2020, featuring a remix of the Pink Floyd song "Eclipse" (1973) combined with Zimmer's score.[129][130] Zack Sharf of IndieWire gave the trailer a positive review, and wrote "It's full of eye-popping set design", in addition to stating, "The two [Denis Villeneuve and Greig Fraser] have brought a tangibility to Frank Herbert's world that should make Dune a visceral experience for moviegoers."[131] Miles Surrey from The Ringer also gave the trailer a positive review, and felt the trailer "undoubtedly looks promising," and noted that, though the source material has been "notoriously unadaptable," he felt "the curse could be broken," due to the cast and Villeneuve's direction.[132] Similarly, Deadline Hollywood's Dino-Ray Ramos also praised the trailer for its scale, writing that it contained "sci-fi prestige and the epic scale that includes mind-boggling action, elegant cinematography and fantastical nuances that still leave room for grounded and very human storytelling".[130]

The first ten minutes of the film were screened in select IMAX theaters worldwide on July 21 and 22, 2021, in an event that also included a behind-the-scenes look at the film and the debut of the film's theatrical trailer, on July 22.[133][134] Angela Wattercutter of Wired stated that the trailer "is begging you to see it in theaters".[135] Jennifer Yuma from Variety praised the cast and visuals, and praised its scope, calling the trailer "epic".[136] Similarly, Aaron Couch from The Hollywood Reporter also praised the cast and thought the film was an "ambitious sci-fi adaptation".[137] Anthony Breznican from Vanity Fair also gave the trailer a positive review and stated, "It will seem more mysterious to those unfamiliar with the story, but like Chani does herself in those dream missives to Paul, it hints at big, impressive things to come."[138] Vulture's Zoe Haylock was also impressed by the trailer, and advocated watching the film in theaters, praising the visuals as "transcendental natural settings".[139] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Christian Holub felt the trailer "sets the stage cleanly".[140]

On February 26, 2019, Funcom entered into an exclusive partnership with Legendary Entertainment to develop games related to the upcoming Dune films.[141] In September 2020, McFarlane Toys started a line of 7-inch figures modeled after characters from the film.[142] A 12-inch figure of Baron Harkonnen was introduced at the same time.[142] The action figures were released in December 2020.[143] An artbook, The Art and Soul of Dune, was released alongside the film on October 22, 2021. The book was written by the executive producer Tanya Lapointe, and it included a soundtrack album of the same name composed by Zimmer. The book was available in both a standard and deluxe edition.[144]

Release edit

Theatrical and streaming edit

Dune was originally scheduled to be released on November 20, 2020, but was pushed back to December 18, 2020.[145][37][146] The film was then delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this time to October 1, 2021, taking over the release date slot of The Batman, where it was theatrically released in 3D.[147] In late June 2021, Warner Bros. delayed the film's American release date again by three weeks to October 22, 2021, to avoid competition with No Time to Die.[148] Over a month before the domestic North American release date, the film had a staggered theatrical release schedule in most international markets that do not have HBO Max, beginning on September 15, including France, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.[149][150][151] A week ahead of the United States release, Warner Bros. announced that the film's availability on HBO Max would start on the evening of October 21, 2021, correlating with typical early Thursday theatrical showings for films released on Fridays (although the studio had not been doing early Thursday previews for most of the rest of their hybrid theatrical/HBO Max releases. The other exception being The Suicide Squad, which had the same strategy for its early Thursday previews/HBO Max release).[152]

Like all 2021 Warner Bros. films, Dune was streamed simultaneously on HBO Max for a period of one month.[153] The film was then removed from the service and followed the normal home media release schedule,[153][154] similar to the process Warner Bros. used for Wonder Woman 1984 (2020).[155] Many production companies and directors expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, including Villeneuve and Legendary Entertainment.[156] In a column published in Variety, Villeneuve wrote:

Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of Dune's scope and scale. Warner Bros.' decision means Dune won't have the chance to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph... My team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie's image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters.[157]

Dune had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2021.[158][159] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival with an IMAX premiere screening at the Ontario Place Cinesphere on September 11, 2021.[160][161] Jason Momoa tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the film's London premiere on October 15, 2021.[162][163] On October 17, the film was leaked online ahead of its planned US and HBO Max release.[164]

The film returned for a theatrical run at IMAX theaters from December 3, 2021.[165] From January 24, 2024 these screenings included an exclusive preview of Dune: Part Two ahead of its March 2024 release.[166]

Home media edit

The film was released digitally on December 3, 2021, while Blu-ray, DVD and Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of the film were released on January 11, 2022, by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.[167] After its release on home media, Dune ranked first on the "NPD VideoScan First Alert" chart for combined Blu-ray and DVD sales as well as the dedicated Blu-ray sales chart.[168] According to The Numbers, it sold a combined 215,375 Blu-ray and DVD units in the first week for $3.6 million.[3] It retained the top position on both the charts of the NPD Group for the following two weeks before being displaced by Ghostbusters: Afterlife.[169][170] In addition, it was the most rented title from Redbox kiosks for three weeks as well.[171][172] It was the highest-selling movie for the month of January according to the "NPD VideoScan First Alert" chart.[173]

Reception edit

Box office edit

Dune grossed $110 million in the United States and Canada, and $324.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $434.8 million.[3]

In the US and Canada, the film made $41 million in its opening weekend from 4,125 theaters,[174] surpassing its projected opening weekend estimates of $30–35 million and besting the debut of Godzilla vs. Kong ($31.6 million) for the highest opening weekend for Warner Bros. during the pandemic era.[175][176] Of that opening weekend take, $17.5 million came from its first day ticket sales, including $5.1 million from Thursday night previews. Dune also had the best opening of Villeneuve's career.[174] The film fell 62% in its second weekend to $15.5 million, though it remained atop the domestic box office.[177][178] In its third weekend it dropped by 51% to earn $7.6 million, and was displaced by Eternals from the top rank.[179] On November 25, 2021, Dune became the second Warner Bros. film of the pandemic era to cross $100 million in the US and Canada, following Godzilla vs. Kong.[180]

The film was released in 14 markets outside the US and Canada on September 15, 2021. It grossed $37.9 million, with the largest markets being Russia and CIS ($8.9 million),[181] France ($7.2 million), Germany ($4.4 million), Taiwan ($3.4 million), Italy ($2.5 million) and Spain ($2.4 million).[182] After adding an additional $26.3 million from 32 countries in its second weekend, the film had a 10-day running total of $76.5 million.[183]

In China, Dune opened to a $21.6 million weekend according to estimates by Warner Brothers, ranking second on the country's box office behind The Battle at Lake Changjin.[184] In its fourth week of release outside the US and Canada, the film made $21.4 million in 75 countries, a drop of 54% from the previous weekend.[185] It also fell by 78% to about $5 million in China, dropping to the third rank.[186][187] The film crossed the $300 million global mark on November 2.[188] During the fifth weekend it earned $11.1 million, a drop of 52%.[189] This included $2.1 million in China where it dropped to the fifth rank.[190]

After its return to IMAX for a week on December 2, the film earned an estimated $1.8 million during the weekend, a drop of 13% from the previous weekend, primarily due to earning around $1 million from IMAX. In Australia it debuted atop the box office chart, earning $3.4 million in the opening weekend.[191] The $400 million global mark was crossed on February 14, 2022, with the largest running-total countries outside the US and Canada being China ($39.5 million), France ($32.6 million), the UK ($30 million), Germany ($22.5 million) and Russia ($21.3 million).[192]

Streaming viewership edit

According to Samba TV, the film was watched in over 1.9 million US households during its first three days of release,[193] which grew to 2.3 million within its first week of release.[194] 3.9 million US households had watched the film within its first 30 days of release.[195] According to TV Time, it was the most-watched film overall in the United States from the first to the third week of its release consecutively,[196] before dropping to the sixth rank in its fourth week.[197] The film rose to the third rank on TV Time's chart in the final week of its availability.[198][154] It was the ninth-most-streamed-film of 2021 according to the service.[199] By March 20, the film had been streamed in 5.3 million households in the US, including 996,000 since the Oscar nomination announcements on February 8.[200]

After its release on PVOD services, Dune debuted at the second position on iTunes and Vudu charts, while being ranked seventh on Google Play.[201] The following week it fell to the seventh position on iTunes and the third position on Vudu, while maintaining its ranking on Google Play.[202] After falling out of the charts for two weeks, it found renewed interest as it rose to the tenth position on iTunes, seventh position on Google Play, and the fifth position on Vudu.[203] It however fell out of the iTunes and Google Play charts again in the following week, while dropping to the tenth position on the Vudu chart.[204]

The film was the highest-selling title on Redbox's digital service for the week of January 24–30, 2022.[171] It was also the top-ranked film on iTunes during the same week.[205] Following the Academy Awards nominations, it reentered the top 10 charts for iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.[206]

Critical response edit

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of 507 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "Dune occasionally struggles with its unwieldy source material, but those issues are largely overshadowed by the scope and ambition of this visually thrilling adaptation."[207] Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 68 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[208] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 84% positive score (with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars) and 66% saying they would definitely recommend it.[174] Following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September 2021, early reception was generally positive, receiving praise for its ambition, story, scope, worldbuilding, performances (particularly those of Chalamet and Ferguson) and production values, although some critics considered the story to be incomplete and dull. Its writing and scope continued to be praised following its release, while others criticized the runtime, pacing, and adaptation of the source material.[209][210][211]

Ben Travis of Empire, Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph, and Xan Brooks at The Guardian rated the film five out of five stars.[212][213][214] Travis praised the writing and direction, feeling it helped properly establish elements of worldbuilding. He also lauded Fraser's cinematography and Zimmer's score, calling the film "blockbuster filmmaking in the Christopher Nolan mould", and praising Chalamet and Ferguson's performances. However, he felt that the "emotional strings" were not very impactful to him.[212] Brooks agreed with the sentiment that it was a high-quality blockbuster film and found it "the missing link bridging the multiplex and the arthouse", citing the worldbuilding, ensemble cast, and set pieces as positive elements.[214] Collins also praised the writing and Chalamet and Ferguson's performances, feeling the exposition was written well. However, he highlighted the production design and the sandworms, calling the latter "threateningly alien, but also enticing, even addictive" and commenting "the sets ring with the desolate grandeur of ancient ruins".[213]

In a positive yet more critical review, Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times felt the film used thematic elements from the novel well, and also lauded the production values albeit labelling the visual aesthetic as monochromatic. Chang further went on to praise the plot for increasing the role of women in the story and tension regarding anticipation of action sequences, which he thought were directed well. However, he disliked the "abrupt, unsatisfying" ending and wanted Villeneuve's style to align with David Lynch's style, which he considered to contain "feverish, pustular imagery".[215] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, who graded the film a B, wrote that Dune had little exposition and also appreciated the worldbuilding and visual aesthetic. However, she did not appreciate the jokes and felt the script gradually adjusted "and soon settles into a kind of grim grandeur", highlighting Chalamet and Isaac's performances.[216] The New York Times's Manohla Dargis also admired the production values and worldbuilding, adding the exposition and pacing was appropriate to establish the latter. However, while she felt Villeneuve had attempted to be faithful to the source material, she also opined that Villeneuve was trying to satisfy the demands of the contemporary film industry. Her major issues were also with the ending and what she deemed to be a "white man leading a fateful charge", though she refrained from labelling it a white savior narrative.[217]

Critic Owen Gleiberman's review in Variety was more negative: he appreciated the film's extensive focus on worldbuilding, but felt it had also undermined the storytelling. He found the title of "Dune Part I [sic]" to be "presumptuous", regarding it to be analogous to how other film franchises advertise future installments. Gleiberman felt the film's spectacles, including the sandworm and ornithopter sequences, disengage him from the story, saying "as the movie begins to run out of tricks, it turns woozy and amorphous".[218] Reviewing the film for TheWrap, Steve Pond noted the film's darker tone had remained consistent, and cited the production design and scope as positive elements. Pond enjoyed the action sequences on Arrakis and appreciated that Villeneuve "finds some dark poetry in the way he plays up the story’s mystical elements". However, he was mixed on the film's dark tone, regarding it as a tonal deviation from his previous films but also allowing it to be "giant mood piece that can be exhilarating in its dark beauty".[219]

Some commentators and academics perceived the film to have neglected and appropriated Arabian and Islamic elements which influenced Dune, citing the lack of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) actors.[49] Serena Rasoul, founder of Muslim Casting, wanted more MENA representation and labelled the lack of MENA actors an "erasure". However, she also acknowledged the cast's overall diversity and did not call the film Orientalist.[220] On the other hand, Ph.D. student in History at Princeton University Haris Durrari deemed it to be Orientalist as he opined it reduced Arab influences to "exotic aesthetics" and "broad abstractions".[221] Meanwhile, Ali Karjoo-Ravary, an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Bucknell University, was concerned with unintentional reinforcements of negative stereotypes and mishandling of cultural elements, going on to scrutinize flaws in Herbert's novel.[222]

Accolades edit

Dune was nominated for ten Academy Awards (winning six),[223] three Golden Globe Awards (winning one),[224] eleven British Academy Film Awards (winning five),[225] ten Critics' Choice Movie Awards (winning three),[226] two AACTA International Awards (winning one),[227] ten Satellite Awards (winning five),[228] one Grammy Award,[229] one Hollywood Music in Media Awards (won),[230] four People's Choice Awards,[231] one Screen Actors Guild Awards,[232] three Dorian Awards (winning one),[233] and one Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award (won),[234] among others. It was also ranked as one of the top ten films of 2021 by the American Film Institute.[235]

Future edit

Dune: Part Two (2024) edit

Villeneuve intended to make a two-part adaptation of the novel, and by November 2019, Jon Spaihts left his position as showrunner on Dune: Prophecy to focus on writing the sequel film.[40][236] Villeneuve felt that Warner Bros.' decision in December 2020 to simultaneously release their 2021 films through HBO Max alongside a theatrical release due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cinema could compromise the film's financial performance, resulting in the cancellation of the sequel, though Warner Bros. assured him a sequel would be greenlit as long as the film performed well on HBO Max.[157]

Following the success of the film, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures officially greenlit Dune: Part Two in October 2021.[237][238][239] Afterwards, Villeneuve's main concern was to finish the production, which would benefit from all the work on the first part.[237] Main characters reprise their role from the first film, with additional casting lasting from March to July 2022, and concluding by January 2023.[240][241][242] Preliminary filming began in Italy by early July 2022, and concluded that December.[243][244] The film is scheduled for general release on March 1, 2024.[245] Dune: Part Two's world premiere took place at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square in London on February 15.[246][247]

Potential third film edit

Villeneuve expressed interest in making a third film based on Dune Messiah, saying that its possibility depends on the success of Dune: Part Two.[248][249]

Dune: Prophecy edit

In June 2019, Legendary Television announced it is producing a spin-off series, Dune: The Sisterhood, for WarnerMedia's streaming service, HBO Max. The series serves as a prequel to the film and centers on the Bene Gesserit. Initially, Villeneuve was going to direct the series' pilot, with Spaihts writing the screenplay and Dana Calvo as showrunner for the series.[250][251] In November 2019, Spaihts left the series as writer to focus on the sequel film.[236] Spaihts and Villeneuve remain as executive producers along with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert.[252] In July 2021, Diane Ademu-John took over as showrunner.[253] Spaihts and Villeneuve confirmed in March 2022 that the show is still in development.[254] In April 2022, it was announced that Johan Renck will direct the first two episodes.[255] Travis Fimmel joined the cast in November 2022.[256]

In February 2023, it was announced that production was put on hiatus as Renck exited the project.[257] The series was retitled Dune: Prophecy in November 2023.[258]

References edit

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