Look out for an other-worldly Jason Momoa and Timotheé Chalamet, too.
When Warner Bros. Pictures announced it was remaking Dune for a new generation, it seemed like an enormous undertaking. Directors have attempted to adapt the galactic space opera series of novels to film twice. The first, more famous 1984 David Lynch film is a cult-classic failure. The other, a SyFy TV movie, was mainly snubbed. But the new adaptation’s star-studded cast and blockbuster treatment mean few will ignore this film. These Dune details, including the trailer and character posters, will help a new fan base get acquainted with Arrakis.
For those unfamiliar with the book, Frank Herbert’s Dune is to science fiction what JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was to fantasy. It redefined the genre from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and HG Wells’ The Time Machine and put it in space, telling a story that spanned across galaxies and planets. The first novel created a hero’s journey story for lead character Paul Atreides as a space messiah that is still one of the dominant features of the genre to this day.
That Dune has never been successfully adapted for the screen is partly due to how dense the story is and how fantastical the worlds within it are. But from the looks of the trailers, photos, and posters, the visuals are one of the things the film’s director, Denis Villeneuve, gets right.
Dune was originally schedule to debut on Dec. 18, 2020, but the pandemic pushed it back. The original trailer was released in October 2020, giving fans a first glimpse of the worlds of Arrakis and Caladan, as well as the fabled terrifying sandworms of the former desert planet.
After the film moved from December 2020 to October 2021, fans had a long wait to see more from the film. But on July 22, Warner Bros. Pictures finally released a new, much longer cut of the trailer. The new clip, which runs nearly three-and-a-half minutes, does a lot to define the film’s themes of colonialism, environmentalism, and a declining galactic empire desperate to hold on to power.
The Dune cast is stacked to the rafters with A-list level talent in nearly every significant role. Timothée Chalamet leads the cast as Paul Atreides, the son and heir of House Atreides of Caladan. Oscar Isaac plays his father, the current Duke, Leto I, and Rebecca Ferguson is his mother, Lady Jessica, a member of the religious order known as the Bene Gesserit, whose marriage to Leto represents a critical political alliance. Charlotte Rampling plays Gaius Helen Mohiam, the head of her order.
Their family is given governance to the planet of Arrakis as the film begins, to solve the current spice crisis and put down the rebellion by the planet’s native peoples, the Fremen.
Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa are allies of House Atreides. Brolin plays Gurney Halleck, Paul’s weapons teacher, while Momoa is Duncan Idaho, a skilled pilot and fighter who is Paul’s closest confidant. Stephen McKinley Henderson plays Thufir Hawat, the family’s Master of Assassins.
On the opposing side, Stellan Skarsgård plays Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, whose House was in charge of Arrakis before it was taken from him by Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, who rules over the galaxy. Dave Bautista is his henchman, Glossu “The Beast” Rabban. David Dastmalchian plays Piter De Vries, the Harkonnen family Mentat, essentially a human trained to act as a computer. Chang Chen is Dr. Wellington Yueh, an Imperial Doctor whose job isn’t to heal but to inflict pain.
As for those who call Arrakis home, Sharon Duncan-Brewster is Dr. Liet-Kynes, the Imperial Planetologist assigned to the desert planet Arrakis. She has married into the native Fremen population and given birth to Chani, played by Zendaya. Javier Bardem is Stilgar, the Freman who leads the current rebellion.
Warner Bros. Pictures has released a ton of Dune character posters, one for each of the show’s key figures. Here are a few:
The plot of the Dune novel is super complex, with competing Houses, betrayals, politics, and romance. But it’s vast enough of a story that this film is currently considered Part 1, with the idea that the second half of the book will be made into a Part 2, should it be a hit.
Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence–a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential–only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Dune Release Date
Dune will premiere at Venice Film Festival on Sept. 3, followed by a screening at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie will open worldwide on Oct. 22, 2021, in theaters and begin a 30-day streaming window on HBO Max the same day.