In 1984, David Lynch's Dune was unleashed upon the world, making fans and disappointing literary disciples in one, fell swoop. Since then, we've seen a Syfy remake of the original, as well as one of its sequels, Children of Dune, but no further action had successfully brought Frank Herbert's epic chronicle to the big screen, though not for lack of trying. If the latest news from Herbert's son, and current Dune series author, Brian is any indication, it looks like that's about to change. Ladies and gentlemen, Dune's modern incarnation finally has a director, and you can find out who it is below.
While Villeneuve was mentioned last December as being in talks to direct Legendary Pictures' new version of the classic sci-fi novel, Brian Herbert's Twitter confirmed the big news in the waning hours of last night. This makes Villeneuve the latest director to be brought on board with Legendary's planned reboot, as the last helmer connected to the project, Pierre Morel, left after a troubled production cycle. Despite past troubles with trying to get a new version of the Herbert family's legacy in front of cameras, there are a couple things that make this new hire something special.
The first sign is the fact that Legendary Entertainment are the current rights holders for Dune, meaning that Morel's departure did in fact lead to previous rights holder Paramount to lose out on the opportunity. This is probably a good thing because despite their excellent work as the studio that brought Arrival into the world, they don't seem like the type of production house that's in the business of catering to a franchise as iconic and demanding as Dune. Legendary, on the other hand, has it clear with films like Warcraft, Pacific Rim and Godzilla that they're pretty much a hot bed of geeky activity. So their chances of aligning to what Frank and Brian Herbert's fans are looking for are greater.
Secondly, and most important, they hired Denis Villeneuve to direct Dune! Looking at Villeneuve's filmography, it's abundantly clear that this man knows how to handle characters and stories that require both fantastical elements, yet a grounded feeling that pulls a universe together. While the lore of Dune involves spice trading, political machinations and a lot of personal drama, it does exist in a universe of sandworms, hyperdrives and other sci-fi staples. Mixing the two doesn't always work, but if you've seen Arrival, you know that Denis Villeneuve knows how to blur the lines between the two, making an experience that's both out of this world and close to home.
With 52 years and a slew of source material to draw from, the Dune universe is built to be a sprawling franchise. All it needs is the right navigator to bring it to the promised land of cinematic glory, and Denis Villeneuve feels like the right director to bring in on that journey. There is currently no clear timeline for Dune's production schedule, but we'd like to think that Villeneuve's hiring will speed along the process, or at the very least start the pre-production gears going. In the meantime, you can see his handiwork in Arrival, which is currently available on Digital HD and in some theaters; as well as Blade Runner 2049, which opens on October 6th.