Denis Villeneuve for months has been open about wanting to helm a cinematic relaunch of one of the most celebrated science fiction properties of all time, and now it looks like he’ll get the chance. Deadline has confirmed that the Sicario and Arrival director is in early talks with Legendary to direct a reboot of Dune.
Legendary acquired film and TV rights to Dune in November and is planning to develop it as a franchise with multiple films.
The series of sprawling epic novels written by Frank Herbert and first published in 1965 is set in the far future with humanity, having spread beyond Earth to countless other worlds, now ruled over by competing feudal families who control access to a drug called Melange. Known popularly as “spice,” the drug gives its users heightened consciousness and an extended lifespan at the cost of crippling addiction and fatal withdrawal. Spice, use of which makes interstellar travel possible, is found only on the desert planet of Arrakis — aka “Dune” — and as such is the most valuable commodity in the galaxy.
The novels, known in particular for drawing inspiration from the history of Islam, focus on the fortunes of the Atreides family and veer into themes of political intrigue, philosophy, tyranny, peace and the fate of humankind.
The series has been adapted twice before, first as a 1984 film directed by David Lynch that bombed hard and more recently two Sci-Fi Channel miniseries — both of which won VFX Emmys.
Villeneuve said in a September interview with Deadline sister publication Variety that “a longstanding dream of mine is to adapt Dune.” If he ends up with the job, he’ll get valuable experience reviving a dormant but beloved science fiction franchise with his upcoming Blade Runner 2049, which hits theaters next fall.