Denis Villeneuve Confirmed As Director Of Dune Remake

Denis Villeneuve

Back in November, news reached us that Legendary Entertainment (the home of Pacific Rim and Godzilla) had snapped up the rights to Dune, Frank Herbert's sprawling, complex series of science-fiction novels. Not long after that, we heard rumblings that they wanted French-Canadian wunderkind Denis Villeneuve to direct the new film. Now it looks as though it's official.


Brian Herbert (son of Frank) tweeted that Legendary "has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project". Intriguingly, the tweet suggest a franchise is planned rather than a single film – an ambitious scheme for ambitous material.

Much like the rise of the Atreides, Dune’s cinematic history is legendarily chaotic. It languished in development hell for most of the 1970s. Alejandro Jodorosky tried and failed to produce it (with some insane names attached – Orson Welles! Mick Jagger! Salvador Dali!), though his aborted efforts became a superb documentary in its own right. David Lynch eventually directed - and quickly disowned - the first completed adaptation in 1984, which starred Kyle MacLachlan, Max Von Sydow, and Sting.

sting dune

Further adaptation attempts hovered in the Development-Hell-O-Sphere for years, with Taken director Pierre Morel among the recent suitors to make an ultimately fruitless stab. The rights eventually reverted back to Herbert's estate in 2011, and were finally snapped up by Legendary late last year.

The curse of Dune could yet topple Villeneuve's efforts. But with the director shepherding another beloved sci-fi project, Blade Runner 2049, out of development hell and into cinemas this year, we'd wager he's a safe pair of hands – and with a pedigree that includes bold, challenging, grown-up material like Sicario and last year's Arrival, this could be finally the adaptation that Herbert deserves. We’ll keep our ears close to the sand on this one.