Thanks to familiar series of delays and pushbacks, it feels like we have been waiting forever to see director Denis Villeneuve adaptation of Dune, but writer Eric Roth is here to keep the hype train chugging along, comparing the upcoming sci-fi franchise starter to one of the most beloved trilogies of all time. Roth recently teased their approach to adapting the seminal novel, describing the movie as “really spectacular.”
“[Working on Dune] was wonderful. I’d done some work for Denis on Arrival and we became kind of a little bit of soulmates. And so when Dune came along, he asked me if I would approach it. And I did, and I wrote a big, full, overwritten Eric Roth draft that had certain things special to me. It needed to be, honestly, cut down and sort of harnessed, and Denis did some of that, and they eventually brought in a writer – I was busy, so they brought in a writer named Jon Spaihts, who is a wonderful writer, who I think kept it grounded. And I think he… I don’t want to say Lord of the Rings, but I think it’s really pretty spectacular. He’s a visionary of his own kind, Denis.”
Fans of the Frank Herbert novel have worried how Villeneuve would bring the vast story to life in just one movie (causing many to suffer flashbacks to director David Lynch’s 1984 effort) with Roth now confirming what everyone had suspected; Dune is just the first half.
“It’s completely the first half. I didn’t know when we started, so I think I adapted a little more than the first half and started going into the second half of the book. But I’ve seen the film, it’s pretty much the first half.”
Planning a franchise when you have no idea how the first installment will be received is a risky game, and, of course, could result in Dune feeling like unfinished business should the worst come to the worst. Roth though remains hopeful that Villeneuve will get to complete the arc, though the esteemed writer is unlikely to be involved.
“I [wrote] a treatment to show the estate what we could do with the second half, but I’ve got to tell you that I think I’ve done as much as I can do. I also have other things I want to do. I’m 76 years old, and these things obviously take a long time to do. And so I have a few others I’m excited about. And hopefully people love Dune so much that they do want to have a second part, and I’m sure Denis would do amazing version of that.”
Dune will hurl audiences into the far future of humanity, as Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) accepts stewardship of the dangerous desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only source of the most valuable substance in the universe, “the spice”, a drug which extends human life, provides superhuman levels of thought, and makes faster-than-light travel practical. Though Leto knows the opportunity is an intricate trap set by his enemies, he takes his Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), young son and heir Paul (Timoth&ée Chalamet), and most trusted advisers to Arrakis. Leto takes control of the spice mining operation, which is made perilous by the presence of giant sandworms. A bitter betrayal leads Paul and Jessica to the Fremen, natives of Arrakis who live in the deep desert.
Dune is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States in IMAX and 3D on October 1, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures, as well as a month-long simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service. This comes to us from Collider.