Dune: New Images Arrive for Frank Herbert’s Sci-Fi Epic

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Dune
Paul Atreides, Dune

Before Star Wars and Game of Thrones swept through the pop-culture world, a novel written in 1965 by Frank Herbert had all of those tropes and more, wrapped neatly into an epic-fantasy science fiction adventure called Dune.

Dune by Frank Herbert: first edition cover art
Dune by Frank Herbert: first edition cover art

Dune is a very complex, intricate story lauded for its world-building and detailed history behind its characters. In a distant future of interstellar feudal society, Dune follows the travails of our hero, Paul Atreides, and his family’s House Atreides taking control of the planet Arrakis. This being the only planet where Melange comes from (also called “spice”), control of this planet places his family in extreme danger from the other royal houses, most notably rival House Harkonnen.

Today, Vanity Fair released a series of first images from the current, star-studded production of Dune, set for release in December 2020. Dune will be released in two parts, possibly making this the next great sci-fi big screen epic, filling the hole left by Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Check out the images below!

Dune: Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica Atreides

Our hero, Paul Atreides, starts out as a young noble looking for his place in the world. It doesn’t take long for him to realize he can become much more than that, and his destiny is forever tied to the plant Arakkis. His mother, Lady Jessica, remains at his side for years to come, as Paul eventually ascends to the Golden Lion Throne as Emperor.

Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson - Dune
Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson – Photo by Chiabella James

Chani Kynes

The mysterious woman who haunts Paul’s dreams on Arakkis. She is the secret daughter of Liet Kynes, leader of the Fremen rebels and eventually becomes the Fremen-bound concubine of Paul, and later mother of God-Emperor Leto Atreides II. Her role in Dune lore is legendary.

Zendaya as Chani Photo by Chiabella James - Dune
Zendaya as Chani – Photo by Chiabella James

House Atreides

The House Atreides, Left to Right: Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Stephen Mckinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck and Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho Photo by Chiabella James
The House Atreides, Left to Right: Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Stephen Mckinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck and Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho Photo by Chiabella James

Director Denis Villenueve and Stilgar

Director Denis Villeneuve and Javier Bardem on the set Photo by Chiabella James.
Director Denis Villeneuve and Javier Bardem on the set in Jordan – Photo by Chiabella James.

Stilgar, played by Javier Bardem, is the leader of the Fremen rebels on Arakkis. Director Denis Villenueve is the same filmmaker that brought us Blade Runner: 2049, Arrival, and Sicario, among others. He was asked why he decided to make Dune into two films:

I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie. The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

Denis Villenueve

Gurney Halleck

Gurney Halleck is Paul’s combat tutor, so to speak, and plays a major future role if Dune continues past these two films. The original role was played by Sir Patrick Stewart, but Josh Brolin has a pretty commanding screen presence. He’s more than adequate to fill those shoes and rule Caladan with Lady Jessica—if the story goes that far into the future.

Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck -Photo by Chiabella James.  Dune
Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck – Photo by Chiabella James.

Lady Jessica Atreides

A member of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and concubine to Duke Leto, Lady Jessica has a very twisted destiny. She is the bastard daughter of Baron Harkonnen, raised to breed with House Atreides and produce a daughter, who would then breed with Feyd-Rathau Harkonnen to birth the Kwisatz Hadarach, a very powerful being in Dune universe lore. She does eventually have a daughter, Alia, but destiny has different plans for her. In this telling, she becomes more of a warrior.

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides Photo by Chiabella James. - Dune
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides – Photo by Chiabella James.

Duke Leto Atreides I

In the books, Duke Leto dies early on, much like Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. In other parallels to the character, his children are major figures in the Dune universe going forward. The Duke is regarded as the greatest leader House Atreides ever had.

Oscar Isaacs as Duke Leto Atreides, leader of House Atreides - Photo by Chiabella James. - Dune
Oscar Isaacs as Duke Leto Atreides, leader of House Atreides – Photo by Chiabella James.

Duncan Idaho

Jason Momoa’s casting as Duncan Idaho could be a signal that Dune will have some staying power in theaters. The character is the only one to appear in all six novels in the Dune universe, possible clearing the way for Momoa’s star power to drive future Dune projects.

Liet Kynes

The double-agent role of Liet Kynes is a pivotal character in the entire story. Kynes is the arbiter of the transition of control on Arrakis to House Atreides, while also the secret leader of the Fremen. Kynes is also the father (or mother in this new film) of Chani. The original casting of Liet Kynes was the late Max von Sydow in the 1984 film. For this installment, Villenueve departs from the source material. Sharon Duncan-Brewster is Kynes, changing the character to a woman.

Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes. Photo by Chiabella James

“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

Where is House Harkonnen?

House Harkonnen is missing from these photos, and they boast a colorful cast of unique antagonists. Baron Vladimir, the grotesque master of House Harkonnen, will be played by veteran actor Stellan Skarsgård.

1984's Dune casting of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was Kenneth McMillan. Now the role belongs to Stellan Skarsgård.
1984’s Dune casting of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was Kenneth McMillan. Now the role belongs to Stellan Skarsgård.

“As much as I deeply love the book, I felt that the baron was flirting very often with caricature. I tried to bring him a bit more dimension. That’s why I brought in Stellan. Stellan has something in the eyes. You feel that there’s someone thinking, thinking, thinking—that has tension and is calculating inside, deep in the eyes. I can testify, it can be quite frightening.”

Denis Villenueve

Also missing from these photos is Dave Bautista’s version of Harkonnen enforcer “The Beast” Count Glossu Rabban, and no word on Feyd Rautha, originally played by Sting in the 1984 adaptation of Dune.

Dune 1984's casting of Beast Rabban and Feyd Rathau, played by Paul Smith and Sting
Dune 1984’s casting of Beast Rabban and Feyd Rathau, played by Paul Smith and Sting

Part one of Dune is set for theatrical release on December 18th, 2020. As you can see, many parts of our favorite epics we argue about like Star Wars and GoT have serious roots in this amazing story. Stay with That Hashtag Show for more news on Dune, and all your pop-culture stories, news, and reviews!

Source: Vanity Fair

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