Variety and Deadline are reporting that Legendary Entertainment, producers of superhero hits such as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, has just acquired the production rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune, after coming to an agreement with the author’s estate. The acquisition grants Legendary Entertainment film and television production rights to the sci-fi saga. The projects will be co-produced by Legendary Entertainment and the Herbert estate.
Dune through the years
Set in a distant future where humans have spread across the galaxy, Frank Herbert’s science-fiction epic began with the novel Dune in 1965. It tells the story of Paul Atreides, the young prince of a noble family caught in a cold war against other factions for control of a highly valuable resource found only on the eponymous desert planet. The saga would continue on for five more novels. Which ends in a cliffhanger with the 1985 novel Chapterhouse: Dune due to Frank Herbert’s death. Two decades later, his son Brian Herbert, and sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson, finally concluded the saga, taking cues from Frank Herbert’s notes.
There have been many attempts to produce a motion picture adaptation of the saga. Including an ambitious ten-hour feature by Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky in 1973.
Although Jodorowsky’s attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, Dune would instead be adapted into a 1984 film by David Lynch, with Kyle Maclachlan as Paul Atreides. Panned by critics and audiences alike on its first release, it has since acquired a cult following among many science-fiction fans.
The last successful attempt at a film production was the Sci-Fi Channel’s three-part miniseries, Frank Herbert’s Dune in 2000. Headlined by Scottish actor Alec Newman, the critically acclaimed miniseries won two Emmy Awards for Cinematography and Visual Effects. The Sci-Fi Channel would then go on to produce a sequel miniseries, Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, starring a then not-so-famous James McAvoy in a leading role.
Exciting as it is for this wondrous turn of events for the sci-fi epic, its grandiose themes of political intrigue, ecological instability, and the dangers of relying too much on heroes, have been notoriously challenging to adapt into a screenplay. Hopefully now, with fresher minds on the job, we could finally have an adaptation worthy of the saga’s epic scale.
In any case, I do hope it’s going to be…