Back to the Dune: Denis Villeneuve’s latest movie

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 15 September 2021 > What's On

Denis Villeneuve's latest movie, Dune, is one of the most anticipated upcoming films. Dune is an epic space opera film and the adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name. The film covers about the first half of the book.


An impressive cast

Oscar Isaac is Duke Leto and Zendaya is Chani, a “Fremen”who is the subject of many of Paul’s precognitive dreams on Caladan.

Rebecca Ferguson plays Lady Jessica and Jason Mamoa plays Duncan Idaho, a swordsman and loyal member of the Atreides House.

Josh Brolin is Gurney Halleck, the closest confidant to Leto and Paul Atreides. Halleck oversees the Atreides military and training the family members but he also enjoys writing poetry and playing music. Stellan Skarsgård plays the repulsive Baron Valdimir.

Dave Bautista is Glossu Rabban, nephew and minion of Baron Harkonnen. Rabban is a killer. Javier Bardem plays Stilgar, the leader of a Fremen “sietch”, or tribe, on Arrakis.

Charlotte Rampling is the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother, Gaius Helen Mohiam. Sharon Duncan-Brester plays Liet-Kynes, a Fremen scientist and planetologist employed by the galactic emperor, who advocates for the terraforming of the desert-planet Arrakis into a water-planet like Caladan. Kynes is also Chani’s mother in Villeneuve’s film, whereas the original character in the novels is Chani’s father.

Dune : the book

Dune is the adaptation of a science-fiction novel written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965. The novel was originally serialised in the magazine Analog, from 1963 to 1965 as two shorter works: Dune World and The Prophet of Dune.

This book is considered as one of the greatest science-fiction novels of all time, frequently cited as the best-selling science-fiction novel in history.

Dune spawned five sequels written by Franck Herbert. In 1986, Herbert passed away following the publication of Chapterhouse: Dune, which ended on a huge cliffhanger. His son, Brian Herbert, continued his father's work. He has created a series of prequels, interquels and sequels co-written with Kevin J. Anderson, more than 15 novels in all.


Going further in the Dune World

        • Dune by Frank Herbert - 1965
        • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert - 1969
        • Children of Dune by Frank Herbert - 1976
        • God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert - 1981
        • Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert - 1984
        • Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert - 1985
        • House Atreides by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 1999
        • House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2000
        • House Corrino by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2001
        • Fremen Justice by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2001
        • The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2002
        • The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2002
        • The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2004
        • Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2006
        • Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2007
        • Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2008
        • The Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2009
        • Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2011
        • Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2014
        • Red Plague by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2016
        • Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2016
        • The Duke of Caladan by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2020
        • The Lady of Caladan by Brian Herbert with Kevin J. Anderson - 2021

In France, most of Frank and Brian Herbert's novels are published by Robert Laffont and Pocket.

Understanding the world of Dune

Dune is set far in the future where a sprawling feudal intergalactic empire has made fiefdoms of planets controlled by noble houses.  These houses owe allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino ruled by Shaddam Corrino IV  Emperor of the Known Universe. The Atreides is one of these noble Houses.

Dune begins when the young Paul Atreides (15 years old) and his family, are relocated from their ancestral home — the ocean planet Caladan — to the desert planet Arrakis.

Paul is the son of Duke Leto Atreides and his Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica. The Bene Gesserit Order is a matriarchal religious sect using superhuman powers obtained after years of physical and mental training. Much of the population mistrusts the Bene Gesserit, and calls them "witches" because of their strange abilities. They have their own political motivations and seek to acquire more power. They have integrated all aristocratic circles. They select the best specimens from each family and breed with them. The daughters born from these unions will give the next Bene Gesserit Sisters, until the day when selections, made from the long-running genetic-breeding program, will give a male child who will be the Kwisatz Haderach, their genetic messiah.

The Bene Gesserit brought Paul's parents together with the intention of producing an Atreides daughter, who could then mate with a male heir to House Harkonnen to produce the fabled Kwisatz Hadarach. The plans of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood were thrown into disarray when Jessica, due to her deep love of the Duke Leto, bore a male heir to his House rather than a girl: Paul.

The Spice is central to the Dune universe

Duke Leto as the leader of the Atreides House, is ordered to go to Arrakis by the Emperor Shaddam IV to manage the harvest of the very important export called the Spice Melange. The desert of Arrakis is populated by huge and very dangerous creatures, sandworms, and the Spice is part of the sandworm life cycle. These creatures’ larvae produce the rare and precious natural narcotic substance. The Spice prolongs life and strengthens the immune system. The Space Guild, which has a monopoly on interplanetary travel, uses it to induce a form of foreknowledge in its navigators, who can travel in hyperspace without danger. Before using the Spice, interstellar navigation was very long and dangerous. The Spice is central to the Dune universe in that all political forces are directly dependent on it. This is one of the reasons the Emperor is the only true owner of Arrakis.


Arrakis: Fremen homeland

Arrakis is also the Fremen homeland. They can be considered as the natives of the planet but they descend from human people, hardened in survival, adapted in the harsh environment of the planet. The Fremen co-exist with the sandworms in the desert and have learned how to harvest Spice manually for their own consumption and use. When someone is addicted to Spice, their eyes turn blue. Due to their constant exposure to Spice—in the air they breathe and the food they eat—all Fremen have glowing blue eyes.

The Fremen come to develop a relationship with the Duke who has managed to gain their trust. The Duke quickly learns that the Fremen are a powerful force with which to align his House.

Dune is the tale of a family betrayed by their master

Duke Leto knows that, by agreeing to come to Arrakis, he will fall into a trap set by the emperor and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Both want the fall of the Atreides House. Originally, House Harkonnen directed — cruelly — the Spice operations on Arrakis until the emperor assigned the task to House Atreides, the hereditary enemy of the House Arkonnen. Coming to Arrakis is to sign a death warrant.

Dune is the tale of a family who are betrayed by their masters and forced to work with a planet’s native people to survive. The adventure centres primarily on Paul, and goes on to include a whole host of weird and wonderful characters.

Dune : cinema and television

Dune has been adapted various times, both on film and television.

Alejandro Jodorowsky tried to get an expansive adaptation made in the 1970s, but that film never past the development stage. It's David Lynch's 1984 film version that fans most remember.

In the years 2000/2003, 2 mini-series were produced for television by Sci-Fi Channel adapting the 2 books, Dune and Children of Dune.

In an interview for Inverse , Brian Herbert revealed that after seeing the trailer and visiting the set, he is confident that fans will be pleased with this latest adaptation. The Dune 2021 movie will be the definitive version, says Brian Herbert.

Last but not least, in a recent interview for Variety, Denis Villeneuve briefly discussed his plans for a Dune-based spin-off series called The Sisterhood.