Dune reboot will span two movies, take at least two years, says Denis Villeneuve

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Mar 9, 2018, 5:11 PM EST

We’ve known for a while that Denis Villeneuve is working on a reboot for Dune, Frank Herbert’s landmark sci-fi novel famously adapted for the big screen by David Lynch all the way back in 1984. But now we’re learning that Villeneuve has no plans to try to cram everything from the sprawling source material into just one movie.

Via The Playlist, Villeneuve recently told a crowd gathered for a Montreal film event that his adaptation of the 1965 novel “will probably take two years to make,” with a goal of making “two films; maybe more.” That bomb drop reaffirms Villeneuve’s long-haul commitment to what’s long been a passion project. 

Fresh off Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve has a penchant for bringing beloved, established sci-fi franchises into the 21st century with a perspective that, by many fans’ estimation, hews faithfully to the spirit of the originals. And for Dune fans, who remain divided on what Lynch did with his enigmatic screen adaptation 34 years ago, that’s a promising start.

Villeneuve has gotten chattier about where Dune is heading, revealing in January that his vision for the reboot is to create a “Star Wars movie I never saw” — a “Star Wars for adults.” Legendary Pictures is developing the remake, and Academy Award winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) has gotten through a first draft, but beyond that, much is still up in the air. Villeneuve promised late in 2017, though, that his version and Lynch's would differ completely.

There’s been no word yet on casting, a release date, or even how closely Villeneuve will adhere to Herbert’s story. Add to that Villeneuve’s expectations-tempering assurance that any Dune movie is still two years off, at best, and it’s clear we’ve still got a long wait ahead.

Villeneuve will be the first director to tackle Herbert’s challenging novel since SYFY aired the well-received miniseries Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) and the subsequent Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune (2003). 

Back in the 1970s, when Lynch was still preoccupied with Eraserhead and Dune was nowhere on his immediate horizon, director Alejandro Jodorowsky made an insanely ambitious attempt at a film adaptation for Dune — one that would have featured Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and the music of Pink Floyd. You can check out the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky's Dune for the fascinating lowdown on how that project (never) turned out.