Fan expectations for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune have been at an extreme high for quite a while now. Between Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, the director has a stunning record when it comes to science-fiction, and he’s assembled one hell of an ensemble cast – led by Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, and Josh Brolin. Those pieces alone have given us a great deal to anticipate, but now hope and excitement is through the roof courtesy of the blockbuster’s brand-new trailer.
Those familiar with the book will watch the footage and recognize a lot of standout sequences from Frank Herbert’s beloved novel, from the Gom Jabbar Test Of Humanity to the sandworm devouring the spice harvester, but even with that knowledge, there are a few questions that the trailer introduces – and it’s those questions we are here to address. There are five in total, and we’ll start with one about the setting where the story starts…
How Much Of Dune Will Be Set On Caladan?
When people think about Dune, they think of Arrakis. After all, the title of the book is a nickname for the planet. However, while it’s true that the majority of the story takes place there, it’s not actually where it all begins. Instead, the initial setting is Caladan – a planet notable in strict contrast to Arrakis given how plentiful water is. The trailer that’s been released for the new adaptation features quite a bit of it, which is what makes us wonder how long the film is going to actually spend there.
It’s been widely reported that Dune will actually only cover an undisclosed fraction of Frank Herbert’s book, and the great benefit of this is that it will allow the material to breathe and won’t be trimmed down to fit everything in. That in mind, it’s possible that the adaptation could spend as much as an entire act on Caladan – introducing the members of House Atreides, explaining the presence of the Bene Gesserit and engaging with the galactic politics. If the film winds up clocking in around 150 minutes, it wouldn’t be too surprising at this point, given what we’ve seen, if it won’t be until 30-45 minutes in that the heroes arrive on Arrakis.
What Kind Of Balance Can We Expect Between Dream Chani And Real Chani?
The relationship that forms between Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) is a crucial one – emphasized by the fact that Paul has vivid dreams of the future in which she plays a major part. A key word to note in that sentence, though, is “future,” because it brings us to another point to make about Dune being an adaptation of only about half of the original novel. As crucial as Paul and Chani’s bond may be, it’s not something that becomes physically real until the back half of the book, which makes us question how much of Dream Chani vs. Real Chani we will see in the adaptation.
The trailer seems to confirm that Dune will at the very least feature a scene where Paul meets the literal girl of his dreams, but it would also seem that the development of their actual relationship is something that we won’t really see until a sequel is made (fingers crossed that happens). This is probably a question that we won’t have a complete answer for until the movie is released, but we’re still asking it.
Will Pink Floyd Be A Part Of Dune's Soundtrack?
The Dune trailer using a cover of “Eclipse” by Pink Floyd is a wonderful touch, and not only because of the wonderful atmosphere that it provides for the footage. It’s also an Easter egg of sorts. When writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky was planning an adaptation of Dune in the early/mid-1970s (a film that never got made), his plan was to have the movie feature music by Pink Floyd and another prog rock band called Magma. It’s a cute nod, but also makes us wonder if it’s a nod exclusively for the trailer, or if fans should expect at least one needle drop in the completed blockbuster.
This kind of move wouldn’t be totally out of character for Denis Villeneuve, who made memorable use of Frank Sinatra and Elvis music in Blade Runner 2049 – so is it beyond reasonable to wonder if we could see the soundtrack feature some Pink Floyd? It would be wonderful to hear, if not at the very least sampled in the score being put together by Hans Zimmer.
Is Feyd-Rautha Not In Dune?
When one looks at the cast list for Dune, it’s hard to prevent one’s jaw from dropping. Not only does the film feature the all-stars mentioned in the intro paragraph, but also Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, David Dastamlchian, Chen Chang and Stellan Skarsgard. All of them are bringing to life extremely important characters in the book – but going through the roster, one can’t help but notice that there is one name missing: Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.
The cunning Harkonnen son compared to the more brutish Glossu 'Beast' Rabban (Bautista), the character is a primary antagonist in the story, and was memorably played by Sting in the David Lynch-directed adaptation. Sadly, though, all evidence suggests that he won’t be a part Denis Villeneuve’s movie, very much including his total lack of presence in the debut trailer. Perhaps the two Harkonnen sons have been combined into one character? We’ll have to wait and see.
Will Dune Keep Baron Harkonnen Hidden?
Speaking of the Harkonnens, the trailer for Dune provides us with our first look at Stellan Skarsgard as the villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen – but it’s also pretty hard not to notice that the footage we see of him doesn’t fully provide us with a totally clear impression of what to expect from the character aesthetically. There are only two shots in the trailer where he appears: the first is a close-up in smoky atmosphere, and the second sees him emerging from a giant vat of goo.
Harkonnen’s appearance in the book is rather outlandish – being so physically enormous that he needs anti-gravity suspensors to move around – and it seems like the film is playing coy when it comes to giving us a good look at him (he’s notably not been featured in any of the official stills that have been released either). In the same way that this footage reveals the sandworm at the end, is it possible that a second trailer will be punctuated with a wide shot of the notorious antagonist? Or will that be a reveal kept for the big screen? At present, it’s a mystery.
Did we touch on all of the questions you find yourselves asking after watching the debut Dune trailer? Are there other areas that have you confused and/or curious? Hit the comments section with all of your thoughts, feelings and opinions, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend as we draw ever-closer to the release of this remarkably exciting blockbuster.