Hot on the heels of the recent trailer for his Blade Runner (1982) sequel, Blade Runner 2049, comes the news that Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) may be heading right back into another iconic science fiction property. News arrives via Variety that he is in talks with studio Legendary Pictures to direct their new version of Frank Herbert's epic space opera Dune.
Paramount Pictures were trying to get a new Dune off the ground for years, with names like Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) and Pierre Morel (Taken) attached to direct before moving on again. Paramount's Dune rights lapsed back in 2011, and Legendary Pictures were finally confirmed as the new rights owners last month. Their deal with the Frank Herbert estate allows the development of both movie ideas and TV shows based on the struggles of the Atreides family and the war for control of the desert planet Arrakis, home to both a valuable 'Spice' that allows interstellar travel and deadly sandworms.
Dune is, of course, the novel that defeated both David Lynch (Dune) and Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo). And that is just the first novel in a series of six. The Sci-Fi Channel went a bit further with a pair of miniseries' a decade or so ago. But giving the dense, philosophical nature of Dune any sort of blockbuster franchise treatment is certainly going to present a challenge...
Still, on the evidence of his previous work like Arrival (2016), Sicario (2015), Enemy (2013) and Incendies (2010) – not to mention what we have seen so far of Blade Runner 2049 – if anyone is up to that challenge it is Villeneuve. Early days yet though, with no signatures on any dotted lines at this point. As always, watch this space.
Blade Runner 2049, meanwhile, will arrive in cinemas on 6 October.