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The highly-anticipated Denis Villeneuve adaptation of DUNE has seen its fair share of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic but it looks like nothing is standing in the way of its most recent October 1, 2021, release date. In order to maintain the hype, writer Eric Roth is revealing exactly how much of the book the film is adapting and he’s comparing the potential franchise starter to the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy.
During a chat with “Collider“, Roth shared how much of a wonderful experience it was to work on Dune and what a truly visionary director Denis Villeneuve actually is:
“[Working on Dune] was wonderful. I’d done some work for Denis on Arrival and we became kind of a little bit of soulmates. And so when Dune came along, he asked me if I would approach it. And I did, and I wrote a big, full, overwritten Eric Roth draft that had certain things special to me. It needed to be, honestly, cut down and sort of harnessed, and Denis did some of that, and they eventually brought in a writer – I was busy, so they brought in a writer named Jon Spaihts, who is a wonderful writer, who I think kept it grounded. And I think he… I don’t want to say Lord of the Rings, but I think it’s really pretty spectacular. He’s a visionary of his own kind, Denis.”
Frank Herbert’s novel is beloved by fans and some of them have been worried about how Villeneuve would bring its vast story to life in just one film. David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation suffered due to this, among other reasons, and fans didn’t want to see that happen with this version because it sounds very promising. Fans had already suspected this but Roth is confirming that Dune just adapts the first half of the book:
“It’s completely the first half. I didn’t know when we started, so I think I adapted a little more than the first half and started going into the second half of the book. But I’ve seen the film, it’s pretty much the first half.”
A lot is riding on Dune to be successful because planning a franchise when you have no idea how the first installment will perform is a very daunting and risky task. Science fiction can be a bit of a tough sale for casual moviegoers at the box office, especially when it’s more cerebral, but Roth is hopeful that Villeneuve will get to complete the arc he set out to make:
“I [wrote] a treatment to show the estate what we could do with the second half, but I’ve got to tell you that I think I’ve done as much as I can do. I also have other things I want to do. I’m 76 years old, and these things obviously take a long time to do. And so I have a few others I’m excited about. And hopefully people love Dune so much that they do want to have a second part, and I’m sure Denis would do amazing version of that.”
Dune follows the son of a noble family that is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy. Villeneuve has gathered an impressive ensemble cast for the film including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.
Are YOU happy Dune is only adapting the first half of the book? Dune hits screens and HBO Max on October 1, 2021.