Back in September, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve spoke of his passion to make a Dune film but thought getting the rights would be too difficult. Fast forward to today, as Legendary Entertainment announced they’ve managed to acquire them. This has a lot of potential.
Legendary’s output has been a mixed bag, like any film company. On one hand, Warcraft. But on the other, Crimson Peak! Obviously a lot of factors come into play for a film to be received positively (and not just at the box office) but they certainly aren’t afraid of going big. While Alejandro Jodorowsky tried long and hard to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi epic Dune, it was David Lynch who eventually got it on the big screen. It starred Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Sting among others. It has it moments, but it was not received well as an adaptation.
In the early 2000s, there was a television minisieres that aired on Syfy (then the Sci-Fi Channel) and was certainly more acceptable to fans, but still didn’t have the lasting impact of say, the Battlestar Galactica reboot that came not too long after it. Since then, Paramount has attempted to get a film off the ground, but finally gave up on the idea in 2011. Here’s the news Legendary released today:
Legendary and the Frank Herbert estate have reached an agreement granting the production entity the film and television motion picture rights to the beloved novel DUNE, one of the most revered science fiction novels of all time. The agreement calls for the development and production of possible film and television projects for a global audience. The projects would be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert serving as executive producers.
Set in the distant future, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides whose family accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis. As the only producer of a highly valuable resource, control of Arrakis is highly contested among the noble families. After Paul and his family are betrayed, the story explores themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship to nature as Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family’s control of Arrakis.
Dune has long been considered the crown jewel of science fiction properties. Its legacy and influence is witnessed in everything from STAR WARS to THE MATRIX and often referred to as the science fiction version of LORD OF THE RINGS with its sprawling world and multi-dimensional politics.
As with all things, there’s no guarantee of what might come out of this deal, but if they go for a film, I hope they at least plan it as a series. There’s just so much story, even in just the first book. But considering the type of TV we’ve gotten the last few years, I wouldn’t be opposed to them trying for a “Game of Thrones in space” and shooting for a cable network or Netflix series. How would you prefer to see the story play out and do you have anyone in mind for the lead roles? I wonder if Ava DuVernay would be up for more sci-fi after A Wrinkle in Time…