How Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Could Kickstart The Next Big SciFi Franchise

How Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Could Kickstart The Next Big Sci-Fi Franchise

Considering its largely positive early reviews and stellar cast, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune could kickstart the next big sci-fi franchise.

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How Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Could Kickstart The Next Big SciFi Franchise

All signs point to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune becoming the next big sci-fi franchise in mainstream cinema. Based on the 1965 cult sci-fi novel Dune, expectations are high not just for 2021’s Dune but for its potential sequels as well. As evidenced by several previous screen adaptations, it’s no secret that the convoluted politicking and spirituality surrounding Dune’s many characters and factions can be challenging to translate to film.

The first and perhaps most famous attempt to adapt the novel for the big screen is the 1984 Dune film by David Lynch, a dizzying art house interpretation that, to this day, continues to draw mixed reviews. Much later, in 2000, Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) released a miniseries called Frank Herbert’s Dune, which was followed by another miniseries called Children of Dune in 2003 – a more faithful and extensive screen adaptation that received mostly praise. Considering their overall style and how these adaptations were marketed to viewers, they were specifically aimed at fans of the book, which allowed them to develop a cult following among hardcore sci-fi fans.

In contrast, HBO, Warner Bros. and director Denis Villeneuve have much bigger plans for the new Dune, and they seem to be coming to fruition. While the reviews following early screenings are a mixed bag, they have been largely positive. For instance, Dune garnered this year’s longest standing ovation after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Even Dune’s negative preliminary reviews seem to foreshadow the success of the next big sci-fi-franchise. And with the film simultaneously releasing on HBO Max in 2021 and in theaters, there will be even more opportunities for this new Dune adaptation to go mainstream.

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It certainly helps that Villeneuve’s Dune has a stellar cast that’s fronted by several A-listers. Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Sharon-Duncan Brewster, and Rebecca Ferguson are just some of the names that have helped draw new fans to the franchise. While it’s clear that Villeneuve had every intention of using Dune’s cast for their sheer star power, there’s also no question that every actor is perfect for their respective role. The casting alone has done a lot to make Dune one of the most anticipated movies of 2021. And by finding the perfect actors to bring some of the most beloved cult sci-fi characters to life, Villeneuve has set up the ideal environment to flesh out his Dune franchise.

In fact, the director has openly said that his plan is to create a Dune film trilogy. The 2021 film is only based on the first half of the first book, which is a format that hasn’t been attempted by any prior screen adaptation. Alongside Dune, HBO Max also plans to release a miniseries called Dune: The Sisterhood, which is based on the Bene Gesserit, a pivotal faction in the story. Meanwhile, according to Villeneuve, Dune 2 will be focused on Zendaya’s Chani and will be fleshing out the second half of the first book. And as for the third and possibly final Dune film in the new franchise, Villeneuve will draw inspiration from the second book by Frank Herbert: Dune: Messiah. For now, it’s unclear whether or not Villeneuve will continue to adapt Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune as part of his emerging new franchise. But even if Villeneuve and Warner Bros. call it quits after the trilogy and the first two books, Dune could still kickstart the next big sci-fi franchise.

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