Legendary Entertainment has succeeded in the near impossible: they have made a deal with Frank Herbert’s estate and acquired film and television rights for Dune.
The book series has earned a reputation as one of the most sought after and difficult to acquire science fiction properties. The studio is known for geek-centric blockbusters such as Pacific Rim, Godzilla, and Warcraft. The projects will be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter. Brian Herbert, Bryon Merritt and Kim Herbert will executive produce.
Written in 1965, 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. It has become one of the bestselling sci-fi novels of all time with more than 12 million copies sold. Known as the science fiction Lord of the Rings, Dune explores sprawling world and multidimensional politics and has influenced everything from Star Wars to The Matrix.
Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides and his family, who accept control of Arrakis, a desert planet that is the only source of a highly valuable resource. Due to this, the governing of the planet is constantly contested by the noble families. Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family’s control of Arrakis when they are betrayed. The story explores themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship to nature.
The Herbert classic was originally brought the big screen in 1984 by David Lynch, with Twin Peaks and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alum Kyle MacLachlan as Paul. But it bombed, bringing in only $30.9 million for its $45 million budget. It was found to be hard to understand for those who had not read the book and different enough to upset purist fans. However, over time it has become a cult classic. In 2000, John Harrison adapted the book into a Sci Fi Channel miniseries starring William Hurt. In 2013, the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune examined director Alajandro Jodorowky’s failed 1973 attempt to make a Dune adaptation with a cast that included Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, and Mick Jagger.
Dune has potential to go big, with multiple projects over time. Herbert wrote five literary Dune sequels and starting in 1999, new Dune novels began being published. Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert have teamed to write over a dozen novels expanding the Dune universe.
There are currently no specific projects listed.
Editor Jason Hunt had an opportunity to interview Anderson and Herbert in 2014 during Book Month on Live From the Bunker. Here’s the episode: