Remake of “Dune” with Denis Villeneuve to possibly direct

According to Variety, Legendary’s Dune remake is eyeing Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) to direct. The Canadian helmer had previously told the trade back in September 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.”

Last month, Legendary and the Frank Herbert estate announced their intent to bring Dune to both movie and television screens, with all projects to be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert serving as executive producers. It’s interesting that Villeneuve may jump from Blade Runner to Dune, as Ridley Scott did just the opposite in the early ’80s when he dropped out of a planned adaptation of Dune in order to make the original Blade Runner.

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.

A Dune movie was previously realized in 1984 with director David Lynch at the helm. There, Kyle MacLachlan headlined as Paul Atreides. While the film underperformed at the box office, it has since gained popularity as a cinematic cult classic. Herbert’s novels were later adapted for television with Syfy adapting both the first and third books (Dune and Children of Dune) as television miniseries. More recently, the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune (you can listen to our interview with the producer of Jodorowsky’s Dune, Stephen Scarlata, in TG Geeks Episode 105) examined director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed attempts at making his own Dune movie.

With a fully realized science fiction universe that spans millennia, Dune has the potential to go as big as Legendary wants to make it. Herbert himself wrote five literary Dune sequels and, beginning in 1999, new Dune novels began being published. Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert teamed to write more than dozen novels that expanded on the Dune universe.

Dune is one of the most beloved books in science fiction literature, yet the movie/TV versions have been controversial at best. Is this property something that can be adapted for the screen, yet still retain all of the elements that made to so successful? Or do you think Dune and its sequels should be left alone and not have the work corrupted purely for the sake of turning it into a visual medium?
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