Let’s not beat around the bush: 2020 is a year full of suck. With the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world, we could really use some entertaining distractions. The problem is that due to the coronavirus, a lot of movies – the very distracting entertainment we need and were looking forward to – have been delayed to next year. Luckily though, arguably the most-anticipated of the bunch is still set for release in December this year. And now we have our first look at it.
The upcoming star-studded adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune completed principal photography in July 2019 already, but just like director Denis Villeneuve did with his masterpiece Blade Runner 2049, this new blockbuster has been wrapped in secrecy as he puts it together. But in the first of a two-part coverage feature, Vanity Fair is pulling back the curtain to sneak a peek. The publication has given us the first look at star Timothée Chalamee as the young Paul Atreides, the protagonist of Herbert’s opus, on his native planet of Caladan.
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In the far-future-set Dune, Paul’s father, Duke Leo Atreides, accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, the source of Spice, the galaxy’s most valuable resource, and home of the giant sandworms. This makes their entire family a target of the schemes of others, like the House Harkonnen. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Paul also gets caught up with the Fremen, the local desert-dwelling inhabitants of Arrakis, to whom he may be a prophesied messianic figure possessed of superpowers.
As Oscar-nominee Chalamet explains, the tragedy and chaos that surrounds his family’s arrival on Arrakis forces Paul to grow up much faster than he anticipated.
The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts. He thinks he’s going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that.
To portray the other members of Paul’s household, their enemies, and the Fremen, Villeneuve has assembled an insane ensemble cast. Alongside Chalamet, there’s Oscar Isaac as Duke Leo Atreides, and Rebecca Ferguson as his wife and Paul’s mother – and also a member of the secretive Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Charlotte Rampling stars as Gaius Helen Mohiam, the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit. Josh Brolin plays Gurney Halleck, weapons master of House Atreides and Paul’s mentor, while Jason Momoa is House Atreides’ swordmaster Duncan Idaho. Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, sworn enemy of the Atreides, is played by Stellan Skarsgard, while Dave Bautista plays his brutish nephew Glossu Raban. The Fremen leader, Stilgar, is played by Javier Bardem, while Zendaya stars as Chani, Paul’s Fremen love interest. Rounding out the cast there’s also David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.
UPDATE: Vanity Fair has just revealed a bunch more pictures, which you can see below in a fresh gallery!
According to Villeneuve, the team he’s assembled behind the camera is equally as impressive and diverse, and they have been working hard to keep this movie on schedule despite the global pandemic forcing them to stay apart.
Dune was made by people from all over the world. Many of these people are like family to me, and they’re very much in my thoughts. I’m so proud to showcase their hard work. I look forward to a time when we can all get together again as Dune was made to be seen on the big screen.
Villeneuve confirms that Dune is still set for release on 18 December, but that’s not all. The master filmmaker, along with co-writers Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts, is adapting Herbert’s novel as a two-part feature film, but there’s no word yet on when that sequel will release. Villeneuve will also be producing a spinoff TV series, Dune: The Sisterhood, which will focus on the Bene Gesserit and function as a prequel to the movies. That’s a whole lot of Dune, but if anybody can pull this off, it’s Villeneuve and I’m totally psyched for it.
Last Updated: April 14, 2020