Dune is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of science fiction literature since its publication in 1965. The 1984 movie adaptation, on the other hand, isn’t anywhere near the same kind of critical darling. Panned and bombing at the box office during its initial release, the Dune movie starring Kyle MacLachlan has since gained cult status, but even so, there have been calls and attempts over the years to give the Frank Herbert-penned novel another shot at the big screen. Now it looks like that opportunity may finally come thanks to a change in ownership rights.
It was announced today (via THR) that Legendary Entertainment has acquired the film and television rights to Dune. That means that not only could a Dune movie re-telling be ordered at some point, but also there’s the potential for some TV projects down the line, all intended for a “global audience.” Whether Legendary goes the big or small screen route, said projects will be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, while Frank Herbert’s son Brian, Brian’s daughter Kim and Byron Merritt will serve as executive producers.
Set in a distant future, the original Dune story follow Paul Atreides, whose comes from a family of nobles that has accepted control of the desert planet Arrakis. This planet also happens to be the only source of the coveted spice substance. After he and his family are betrayed, Paul must lead a rebellion to retake Arrakis and the spice, which is considered the most valuable commodity in the universe due to its various uses, namely increasing mental abilities.
As mentioned earlier, the original Dune movie failed to impress most viewers, and that was after more than a decade of being developed. Fortunately for fans, that David Lynch-directed movie wasn’t the only live action Dune material that’s been released. In 2000, the then-Sci-Fi channel aired the three-part Frank Herbert’s Dune miniseries, and that was followed in 2003 by Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, which combined the Children of Dune and Dune Messiah books together.
Following the first story, Frank Herbert published five more Dune novels. After his death in 1986, Brian Herbert and author Kevin J. Anderson continued the series, starting with 1999’s House Atreides, the first entry in the Prelude to Dune series. There’s more than enough material for Legendary to create a Dune franchise both for movies and television, should the company go in that direction. Frank Herbert’s main Dune books could comprise a movie series, while the prequel stories could be used for serialized television on a network like HBO or streaming service like Netflix. That’s just one approach, but this mythology is definitely ripe for a new take outside of the printed page.