That strange feeling? That’s the sensation of being excited about new movies again.
Now that theaters are slowly reopening (though not yet in New York or most of California, and I am 100% okay with that), studios are once again releasing trailers to hype up their scheduled releases for 2020 and beyond. Today, we finally got the first trailer for a new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel “Dune.”
The story focuses on the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, which has become the key location in a galactic power struggle — it’s the only source of the spice melange, necessary for both space travel and immortality. Paul Atreides (played here by Timothée Chalamet) comes to Dune as teenaged royalty, but palace intrigue soon threatens his life and turns him into an uncomfortable messiah figure to the planet’s inhabitants, known as Fremen. (The trailer suggests that Paul’s “jihad” in the books has become a “crusade” in the movie.)
As a book, “Dune” has been sequeled, prequeled, turned into multiple TV miniseries and adapted into beloved computer games. Most famously, David Lynch directed (then disowned) a film version in 1984. And while Lynch’s “Dune” has some striking moments, it was also a box office bomb, and very few book fans would consider it a faithful or successful adaptation. (Alejandro Jodorwosky’s unsuccessful attempt to film the book was the subject of a separate documentary.)
This time around, “Dune” is being directed by Denis Villeneuve, who previously helmed “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049.” And it boasts an all-star cast — Chalamet is joined by Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem, among others.
Unlike the Lynch version, this new “Dune” is only expected to adapt the first half of the book, with a planned sequel handling the rest. And while Warner Bros. is releasing the film, its parent company WarnerMedia is also planning a spinoff TV series for HBO Max, with Villeneuve directing the pilot.
“Dune” is currently scheduled for release in theaters on December 18, 2020. Will that actually happen? Well, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” (also from Warner Bros.) is the first blockbuster movie in theaters since the pandemic began, and it seems to be doing pretty well, particularly outside the United States.