Everything may be kind of terrible right now, but here’s a genuinely good piece of news that also serves as a reminder that movies will return at some point: our first look at Denis Villeneuve’s Dune! Indeed, the Sicario and Blade Runner 2049 filmmaker signed on to tackle an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction epic, and principal photography was completed last year. Now, with a December 2020 release date unmoved, it’s time to begin the marketing campaign.
Oscar-nominated actor Timothee Chalamet plays the film’s lead, Paul Atreides, and this image finds Paul on his home planet of Caladan. The story of Dune finds the Atreides family leaving Caladan to take over the world of Arrakis, but they’re threatened by their rivals House Harkonnen. An inciting event forces Paul to take on a leadership role far sooner than he anticipated, which is what Chalamet tells Vanity Fair (which debuted the image) drew him to the project in the first place:
“The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts… He thinks he’s going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that.”
Villeneuve had no trouble filling out his ensemble with incredible actors. Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Isaac play Chalamet’s parents, Josh Brolin plays a veteran soldier, Stellan Skarsgard plays the film’s primary antagonist, Zendaya fills the role of Chani. Even the supporting cast is insane—Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, David Dastmalchian, and Stephen McKinley Henderson all have roles in the film.
Villeneuve has stated that this is the first of a planned two-film adaptation, but a sequel won’t be greenlit until Warner Bros. sees how well this first movie does. And while the coronavirus shutdown has caused most studios to delay major films, as of right now Dune is sticking with its December 18, 2020 release date. In a statement to Vanity Fair, Villeneuve expressed his gratitude to the many people who made Dune possible, adding that he’s proud to showcase their work and looks forward “to a time when we can all get together again as Dune was made to be seen on the big screen.” Me too, Denis. Me too.
Check out the breathtaking first image from Dune below, courtesy of Vanity Fair.