Back in November, we reported that Legendary Entertainment had obtained the movie and television rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune series of books, with an eye toward a brand new adaptation of the mythology.
Now comes word that Blade Runner 2049 and The Arrival director Denis Villeneuve will direct the first of the film projects.
It's official — Legendary Pictures has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project.
— Brian Herbert (@DuneAuthor) February 1, 2017
Herbert’s son Brian has, along with Kevin J. Anderson, been writing the later books in the Dune series, and Anderson posted his own confirmation about the news:
Legendary announces director for the new DUNE project, Denis Villeneuve, who directed ARRIVAL and the forthcoming BLADE RUNNER sequel. Yay!
— Kevin J Anderson (@TheKJA) February 1, 2017
Written in 1965, Dune is the first of a long running series won a Hugo Award (tying with Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal) and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Interestingly, in comments on Facebook, Anderson hinted that the first project might not be the first book in the series, which has already been adapted twice, first as a theatrical film in 1984 by David Lynch, and then for television in 2000 by what was then The Sci Fi Channel. The next two books in the series, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, were adapted into a second television miniseries by Sci Fi in 2003. Anderson, answering a question about whether the project was “original Dune or one of yours?” wrote, “still waiting for the overall Plan.”
For his part, Villeneuve had stated in an interview with Variety: “A longstanding dream of mine is to adapt Dune, but it’s a long process to get the rights, and I don’t think I will succeed.”
The production team on the new version includes executive producers Brian Herbert, Kim Herbert, and Byron Merritt, with Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter producing. Anderson, according to Deadline, will serve as a co-producer and creative consultant.
Anderson has also announced this week, that he’s signed with Zero Gravity Management to handle his representation for film and television, and that there’s at least one project in the works. Since the Dune project was announced after this, it’s likely that was the project he was hinting about. Anderson also said in comments on Facebook, “If a Dune film is successful, that will surely open many doors for other Herbert works.”