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Dune: The battle for Arrakis begins in first epic trailer for Denis Villeneuve's all-star adaptation

By Josh Weiss
Timothee Chalamet Dune

"Fear is the mind-killer ..."

The first trailer for Denis Villeneuve's blockbuster adaptation of Dune has landed, and boy, oh boy, does it look like it's going to be one epic ride. It gets even more exciting when you remember that the celebrated director of Blade Runner 2049 is splitting Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel into two separate films.

For now, though, let's focus on the initial footage, which is full of iconic elements from the source material — like the precognitive dreams of the Kwisatz Haderach, the painful box test of the Reverend Mother, the hedonistic lifestyle of Baron Harkonnen, and, of course, the gargantuan sandworms of Arrakis (aka "Shai-Hulud"). Those things make Tremors' Graboids looks like common earthworms!

Watch the trailer (set to a haunting rendition of Pink Floyd's "Eclipse") and prepare to have your mind blown to shreds. The usage of Pink Floyd in the trailer is pitch-perfect, as director Alejandro Jodorowsky famously approached the iconic band to create music for his own adaptation of the source material that never came to fruition in the 1970s.

Set in a far-flung future where humanity has mastered interstellar travel but reverted back to house divides, Dune is basically a mixture of Star Wars and Game of Thrones. However, to put things in perspective, it predated and heavily influenced those two properties. Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, a young royal who is forced to accept his destiny when his father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), is betrayed shortly after assuming the stewardship of the harsh and unforgiving desert planet of Arrakis (aka "Dune"). Despite its severe weather conditions and man-eating worms, the planet is coveted for its rich deposits of the mind-altering substance known as "spice" or "melange."

Judging by the trailer, it look as though Villeneuve is painting yet another portrait of the future that is both profoundly beautiful and terribly stark. It definitely feels like a visual companion piece to his Blade Runner sequel. Props go to Greig Fraser (The Mandalorian, The Batman) for the gorgeous cinematography, which benefited from real-world locations like the desert of Jordan.

"[Denis] is one of the best working directors on the planet, with some of the best IP on the planet. We all know the quality of the story in Dune. Most of us have either read it or heard about it," Fraser told SYFY WIRE earlier this year. "It’s like a freight train. It’s a-comin’ [and] you better get out of the way, because it’s gonna hit you in the face."

In terms of the cast, Chalamet and Isaac are just two parts of a top-tier ensemble that also features: Rebecca Ferguson ("Lady Jessica"), Stellan Skarsgård ("Baron Harkonnen"), Josh Brolin ("Gurney Halleck"), Dave Bautista ("Glossu Rabban"), Chang Chen ("Dr. Wellington Yueh"), David Dastmalchian ("Piter De Vries"), Stephen McKinley Henderson ("Thufir Hawat"), Charlotte Rampling ("Gaius Helen Mohiam"), Jason Momoa ("Duncan Idaho"), Javier Bardem ("Stilgar"), and Zendaya ("Chani").

Audiences will head to Arrakis when Dune: Part I opens in theaters everywhere Dec. 18. A theatrical release date for Part II has yet to be announced. Check out our breakdown of the trailer right here.