Last month Frank Herbert fans began to buzz as word got out that Legendary Entertainment had acquired the television and film rights to one of the best-selling science fiction series in history, “Dune.”  Now there is more cause to get excited as The Wrap is confirming that award-winning director Denis Villeneuve is in talks to direct the feature film reboot of the “Dune” universe. With Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert on board as executive producers, it’s widely expected that this film would launch a new franchise.

Kyle MacLachlan and Sting in David Lynch’s “Dune” (1984)

The story of Dune books takes place over thousands of years far off in the future, with previous films focusing on the rise of the Atreides family, and prodigal son Paul, as they take control of the desert planet of Arrakis, the center of the known universe, and the single source of a spice that controls everything from extended consciousness to space travel to prolonged life. It follows the religious and political machinations that work for and against the family, and the very fate of the known universe.

“Dune” has seen several incarnations on the screen. After several failed attempts by others to create a film adaptation, in 1984 David Lynch directed what has become an ultimate cult classic, with a very young Kyle MacLachlan and a soundtrack by the band Toto. A longer cut of the film came out later, but Lynch refused to have his name put on it, so the name Alan Smithee was listed as director instead. In 2000 Syfy channel released a mini-series, with a follow-up mini-series in 2003 called “Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune” that covered two other books. Both of those series won Emmys and are still considered some of the most popular mini-series the channel has produced.

Syfy’s “Frank Herbert’s Dune” (2000)

“Dune” is a series of novels that challenge the very meaning of human existence, with a heavy exploration into intertwining themes of science, religion, and politics, which is the reason why Villeneuve is perfect to bring the franchise to modern audiences. Rising to acclaim with such heavy hitters as “Prisoners” and “Sicario,” his latest sci-fi release “Arrival” is in position for even more rewards, with critics and audiences applauding similar themes of humanity and communication. He’s also currently working on the upcoming “Blade Runner 2049” which is also considered “heavy thinking science fiction.” Combine this with his previously stated passion for “Dune” and it seems like a no-brainer.

Are you excited to delve back into the world of Arrakis? How do you feel about Denis Villeneuve taking the reigns of a new franchise? As news becomes to take shape on this future film, we will keep you updated!

Jason Stollery has horror films encoded into his DNA, going so far as to name his sons Michael and Fred. He can be found on Twitter @smegghed, and on his genre film blog and podcast at filmguild.net

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