'Dune' Reboot Could Adapt All the Books, Including Prequel Novels

Muad’Dib will rise again and become the Kwisatz Haderach and ruler of the planet Arrakis, better known as the planet Dune. The twice adapted Frank Herbert-penned science fiction masterpiece is in development for a third movie adaptation, and Denis Villeneuve — director of Arrival and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 — has been confirmed officially as its director. But, this might be more epic than any Dune ever, as it looks like there will be more than one movie, which could point to a huge science fiction movie franchise.

On Tuesday, Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert, confirmed on Twitter that “Legendary Pictures has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project.” While fans of Arrival — and Villeneuve, in general — are celebrating a rumor coming true, the new fact that is even more compelling is Brian Herbert’s use of the word “series.” This means the next Dune project could adapt all of the books, and not just the first one. And since Brian Herbert wrote several prequel novels to his father’s Dune series, it stands to reason that aspects of those might be incorporated into these new films, too.

In partnership with the popular Star Wars author Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert has written more Dune books than were contained in Frank Herbert’s original series. These included books about the rise of the House of Harkonnen, the House of Atreides, a book called Sandworms of Dune, and so on. The reaction to these novels has been decidedly mixed among fans of the original books, which didn’t detract from the popularity of the various non-Frank Herbert books, nor did it affect their strong sales. And while it’s pure speculation that Brian Herbert’s tweet indicates he’ll push for his and Anderson’s books to find their way into the new film continuity, it stands to reason that at least in reference to fleshing out the backstories of the big political players in this universe, he might.

Because the Dune books present complex and epic political science fiction stories, told over multiple eras, adapting a huge chunk of the books beyond the first one could turn the Villeneuve Dune into a huge movie franchise.

At present, casting and filming for the next version of Dune are both unknown.