Dune: All About The New Frank Herbert Adaptation

Yes Dune fans, Frank Herbert's classic is getting a makeover for a 2020 release and will boast a pretty impressive cast.

By Rick Gonzales

This article is more than 2 years old

Dune 2020 movie

Back to Arrakis we go. Yes Dune fans, Frank Herbert’s classic is getting a makeover for a 2021 release and will boast a pretty impressive cast. We’ve got the guide to steer you through what is coming, what is to be expected and if there is a possibility of more Dune movies.


The first full trailer for the new version of Dune is here. Watch it below…

For comparison purposes, this is how sandworms looked int he original 80s Dune

Sandworm in the 1984 Dune

Go in depth with our gallery of Dune Trailer Screenshots Here.

We originally got our first look ever at the new Dune movie from Vanity Fair in the form of the following images…

To go along with the first image Dune has released its first official logo…

Dune movie

As you can see it’s an improved version of the unofficial version which was floating around the internet a few months ago.


The new Dune movie was supposed to be ready in time for the holiday season is slated for release on December 18, 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic Hollywood abandoned the entire 2020 year as a possible release window.

Now the new Dune movie has been delayed and it’s currently slated for release on October 22, 2021. When it arrives it’ll be out simultaneously in theaters and streaming for free (with a subscription) on HBO Max.


Directing Dune 2020

Back in November of 2016, Legendary Entertainment acquired the motion picture and television rights for Dune from Frank Herbert’s estate. The agreement was for global audiences and called for the development and production of film and TV projects. On the film side, Denis Villeneuve was chosen in 2017 by Legendary to bring Herbert’s epic novel to life in a new Dune movie. Brian Herbert was the first to tweet out the announcement. Villeneuve is best known for the movies Sicario and Blade Runner 2049.

Just as Lynch took it upon himself to write the screenplay for the 1984 version of Dune, Villeneuve is also handling the screenwriting chores for the new Dune movie. He will, though, be sharing writing credits with Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange, Prometheus).

Villeneuve, to his credit, is trying to put his stamp on the new Dune movie. While not disrespecting Lynch’s version, it’s clear what Villeneuve is trying to achieve. “David Lynch did an adaptation in the ’80s that has some very strong qualities. I mean, David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him,” Villeneuve said via Indiewire. “But when I saw his adaptation, I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie. I’m going back to the book and going to the images that came out when I read it.”


The cast that Villeneuve has put together for his Dune movie is top-notch.

Paul Atreides

Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird, Little Women) has pulled in the prime role of Paul Atreides. He is the son of Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica. His family rules the planet Caladran and he is the heir of House Atreides.


Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) is Lady Jessica in Dune. Lady Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and concubine to Duke Leto. Ferguson spoke to ComingSoon.net about the strength of Villeneuve’s Lady Jessica versus Herbert’s version in his novel. “Completely and utterly honors the strength of Jessica–the Bene Gesserit that she is, even though she is a concubine and her rights are not as high as the King or what her son becomes,” Ferguson said. “Denis was very much aligned with creating empowerment and powerful moments for her where they were needed. I think Frank Herbert… when he wrote it he didn’t really live in an understandably equal environment. And the book is great! It has beautiful moments in it. It’s not really where we are or where we should be.”

2020 movie

Oscar Isaac (Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, IX) fresh off his Star Wars trilogy enters another high-profile science fiction epic as Duke Leto Atreides in the new Dune movie. The Duke has been bestowed the governance of Arrakis, a dangerous planet that contains the most valuable substance in the universe called “the spice”.

Dune 2020 movie

Josh Brolin (The Goonies, Deadpool 2) portrays weapons master and talented minstrel Gurney Halleck in Dune. Halleck is the loyal friend to Leo Atreides and mentor to young Paul, who refers to him as Gurney the valorous.

Dune 2020 villain

Stellan Skarsgård is the big bad Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the new Dune movie. He was the former steward of Arrakis and sworn enemy to Duke Leo. This is one of the trickier parts of Herbert’s novel. If you’ve read the book you will know that Harkonnen is a predatory homosexual with a proclivity towards pederasty and incest. He is also an inveterate rapist and murderer. So how Villeneuve frames this character in today’s landscape will be interesting, to say the least.

Dave Bautista

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049) is Baron Harkonnen’s right-hand man, Glossu Rabban in the new Dune movie. He is every bit as cruel and sadistic as the Baron and has a definite violent streak. He just lacks the brainpower his uncle possesses.

Dune's Chani

Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home) is Paul Atreides’ love interest, Chani in Dune. She is the daughter of Imperial Planetologist Liet-Kynes.

Movie mentat

David Dastmalchian (Blade Runner 2049, Ant-Man and the Wasp) portrays another very interesting character: Piter De Vries. He is a Mentat, a human specially trained to perform mental functions that rival computers. He has been twisted by the Tleilaxu, a race of genetic manipulators, into an amoral sadist. He serves the Baron, although because of his great intelligence and Mentat abilities, he knows that the Baron plans to dispose of him after his usefulness is gone. In fact, De Vries says as much in the novel, “But you see, Baron, I know as a Mentat when you will send the executioner. You will hold back just so long as I am useful. To move sooner would be wasteful and I’m yet of much use.”

Dune 2020 leader

Charlotte Rampling (Assassin’s Creed, Red Sparrow) plays Gaius Helen Mohiam in Dune. She is what’s known as a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. The Bene Gesserit is a sisterhood who, through years of mental and physical conditioning, obtain superhuman abilities and powers that many see as magical. Her rank as a Reverend Mother puts her at the top of the sisterhood.

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa (Batman v Superman; Dawn of Justice, Aquaman) is the perfect choice as fan favorite and Frank Herbert favorite Duncan Idaho in the new Dune movie. He is a Swordmaster and is fiercely loyal House Atreides. He is also a gifted hand-to-hand fighter and not so surprisingly women are easily attracted to him.

Dune movie suk

Chang Chen is Dr. Wellington Yueh, a Suk doctor. He is such a highly trained doctor that he has become incapable of inflicting harm.

Dennis directing Dune

And finally, in Dune Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Eat Pray Love) is Stilgar, the leader of Sietch Tabr, a Fremen community.

Gender Bending Liet Kynes

Dune movie liet

In the Dune books by Frank Herbert the character of Liet Kynes is a caucasian male. In the upcoming Dune movie, Liet Kynes is an African American woman played by Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

Variety caught up with Duncan-Brewster and asked her why that change was made and here’s what she had to say…

“What Denis had stated to me was there was a lack of female characters in his cast, and he had always been very feminist, pro-women, and wanted to write the role for a woman… This human being manages to basically keep the peace amongst many people. Women are very good at that, so why can’t Kynes be a woman? Why shouldn’t Kynes be a woman?”

– -Sharon Duncan-Brewster


Dune 2020 movie

We’re hoping Villeneuve adheres more closely to the Herbert novel than Lynch did for Dune, even though the book can be dense in places. The general story is of the House Atreides being granted sovereignty over Arrakis, a desert planet (hence “Dune”). Most of the planet is inhospitable but it’s an extremely valuable place. Its value lies in that it’s the only source for the highly sought-after spice called mélange.

This spice can make interstellar travel possible while also enhance mental abilities in people. Obviously there are many out there who would like to be in House Atreides place.

With the value of spice being so high, in the Dune books House Atreides is betrayed in a very much reminiscent of a Game of Thrones-type betrayal. Paul barely escapes with his life, finding solace in the desert. Fortunately, the desert is where a nomadic tribe called the Fremen live. They take him in and the Bene Gesserit prophesy him to be a messianic figure named the Kwisatz Haderach.

Paul slowly learns to be a leader and revolutionary where he is then given a new name by the Fremen. A name after a species of mouse who survives in the desert, Muad’Dib.

The rest of the story, well, wait until the Dune movie comes out. Obviously, there is a lot going on in Dune. The book was big and covered a lot of ground. It will be interesting to see how Villeneuve and his co-writers tackle the script for Dune.


As you may imagine, a story as large as Dune can’t be told in one movie, unless that movie hits the 5-hour mark. So, Villeneuve has been given the green light to tell Herbert’s story in two films. Legendary CEO Joshua Grode told The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s a backstory that was hinted at in some of the books [that we expanded]. Also, when you read the book there’s a logical place to stop the movie before the book is over”.

So for now, two Dune movies look like a given. Depending on the reception these two films get, there are 5 more Frank Herbert Dune books they can pull from. And speaking of more Dune


HBO Max, the new streaming service, will premiere in May of this year. At some point, more than likely after Villeneuve’s Dune is released in December, the streaming service will premiere their new series, Dune: The Sisterhood.

Not much is known about the series other than it will focus on the sisterhood Bene Gesserit. It looks to be more of a prequel, telling how the Bene Gesserit maneuver through the intrigue and politics of The Imperium that will eventually land them on the planet Arrakis.


Footage from the Dune movie has been shown to people and sci-fi novelist Brian Clement was one of the lucky people to see it. He decided to share his reaction to what he’d seen…

“I am ON BOARD with it. I think it looks fantastic… I think this will blow people away the way LOTR did 20 years ago, the way Star Wars did 40 years ago. It’s not Jodorowsky or Lynch, but maybe Villeneuve has filmed the unfilmable.”

After people wen nuts, he followed up with more specifics…

“To be honest, it’s not exactly how I pictured the universe of Dune when I first read the book (it never will be) but that’s a good thing. I really like the look Villeneuve has created and I think it’s going to be spectacular. I’m not exaggerating when I say a lot of people will have goosebumps/tears when they see this movie (I might!). Heck, when they see the footage I saw they will.”

Clement did not see the entire movie, just footage from it. And he admits there were some confusing shots…

“…there were wide shots of a group of people I at first thought were members of the Spacing Guild, but then Rabban was among them so I think they were Harkonnens because they all had similar costumes and makeup.”


Dune author Frank Herbert died in 1986 so there’s no telling what he’d think of this new adaptation of his seminal work. Since Frank’s death his son Brian Herbert has been managing the rights to Dune and has even written numerous and successful books set in the world of Dune himself. And we do know what Brian Herbert thinks, because he told the world in this tweet…

Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like from this tweet that Brian Herbert has seen any more of the movie than we have. It’s an odd oversight, you’d like to think that he’d be involved in the process somewhere along the way. Still, it’s nice to know that he’s liking what he’s seen so far. Hopefully they’ll get him in to see more of Dune, perhaps when it’s closer to being a finished project.


Paul Atreides in Dune

Director David Lynch, who helmed the notorious Dune movie from the eighties, almost never talks about Dune anymore. Now we know why. When asked about Dune he had this to say: “I have zero interest in Dune… Because it was a heartache for me. It was a failure and I didn’t have final cut. I’ve told this story a billion times. It’s not the film I wanted to make. I like certain parts of it very much — but it was a total failure for me.”

The star of Lynch’s Dune movie, Kyle MacLachlin is still a successful working actor and he’s been happy to share his thoughts on the redo.

When asked about the new Dune movie, Kyle MacLachlin the first Paul Atreides had this to say…

There will be a couple of us out there, running around, there’s plenty of room I think. Timothee I think will do a fantastic job, I’m very much looking forward to the vision he has. David Lynch is, of course, a very specific vision, so this will be something completely different I’m sure. Why not have both stand on their own merits?


The following report may contain spoilers for the upcoming new Dune movie. Read no further if you don’t want to risk it…

The script for Dune leaked online in early February, revealing a lot about the movie. The script itself is gone now, but here’s one detailed review that was posted on Twitter…


The new Dune movie hasn’t even been released yet, but it’s having a HUGE impact on sales of the original Frank Herbert novel. So huge, in fact, that the book is now #1 on the Washington Post mass market paperback bestseller list.

Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert excitedly tweeted the news…

Dune was first published in 1965. For a book that old to top any bestseller list is almost unheard of. It seems clear that anticipation for the new movie is now through the roof.


Frank Herbert's Dune

Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic novel Dune was published in 1965 and is considered one of the top best-selling science fiction novels of all time. While it was first published in Analog magazine as two separate serials, it eventually was released as one book.

Dune’s popularity led Herbert to write five sequels, all very well received. His original book also led to a 1984 David Lynch Dune movie of the same name and two Sci-Fi Channel miniseries, Frank Herbert’s Dune in 2000 and its sequel in 2003, Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune (which was a combination of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune). Not only did Herbert himself pen five sequels, but his son Brian Herbert has also written numerous prequels and sequels in collaboration with author Kevin J. Anderson.

Back to that 1984 Lynch Dune movie. David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet) both wrote and directed a Dune movie that received critical backlash, so much that Lynch refuses to talk about the film to this day. The Dune movie starred Kyle MacLachlan (his first film role) who would later be seen in Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. But general consensus was that the film was a complete mess and plans for sequels that were to happen after the 1984 release were scrapped.