Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' movie will adapt just the first half of the book

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Dune (Credit: Universal)

Denis Villeneuve’s remake of cult sci-fi classic Dune will only use the first half of James Herbert’s feted 1965 novel.

Herbert’s son, the writer Brian Herbert, who is also executive producer of the movie, confirmed the news in a tweet.

Villeneuve had previously intimated that his remake could span two movies, and now that appears to have been confirmed.


The original book has an obvious breaking point halfway through the narrative where the first film could end. When young Paul Atreides (rumoured to be played by Timothee Chalamet) and his mother Lady Jessica escape the Harkonnens in the desert of Arrakis, they join a community of the native people (the Fremen), with Paul becoming their leader. There is then a time jump forward in the story, which is a natural place to split the story.

Brian Herbert, as well as being the biographer of his late father, took on the Dune storyworld, and has written a host of prequels and other novels in the series.

Villeneuve, meanwhile, follows a famously unsuccessful adaptation of the novel, by director David Lynch in 1984.

Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Stewart and Sting, it was critically mauled and resulted in a massive box office failure.

Lynch later removed his name from the movie, and was credited as Alan Smithee, the name used by directors who have disowned their own film projects.

Denis Villeneuve (Credit: AFP)

The Blade Runner 2049 director may have better luck, however, and is said to be sticking closer to Herbert’s original novel, where Lynch went off-piste with his own screenplay.

A passion project for the French-Canadian helmsman, he’s even said to have turned down directing Bond 25 in order to make his version of Dune.

It was announced earlier this month that Call Me By Your Name actor Timothee Chalamet will star, but as yet there’s no word on a planned release date.

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