'Dune 2020' Release Date, Plot, Cast and More on the Revamped Space Saga

Set a course for Arrakis.

Kyle McLachlan as Paul Atreiedes in Dune

Director Denis Villeneuve is bringing Dune to screens everywhere in 2020. This is the second time Frank Herbert’s six-book sci-fi saga has been adapted into a feature-length film, with David Lynch’s 1984 version preceding it. Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune will stick closely to Herbert’s novels as it tells the story of noble families warring for control of the planet Arrakis. But this is Villeneuve, people. It may stick to the source material, but we should expect it to have the look and feels of a Villeneuve production.

Dune has been in production since summer 2018, but there hasn’t been too much revealed about the film’s look, the design of the world of Arrakis, or the actual characters. Nor have any teases or glimpses been offered up to help get excitement levels to rise. That will likely change as the film’s 2020 release date draws closer and as the planned Dune-iverse comes together. Oh, wait, have you not heard? We’re about to get a deluge of Dune goodness in the coming years.

In June 2019, a TV spinoff titled Dune: The Sisterhood was announced, which would be overseen by Villeneuve and focused on the mysterious Bene Gesserit. In July, Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert, tweeting in early July that he signed a new Dune franchise contract which could put yet another spinoff TV series into pre-production in addition to the in-development video game and tabletop game based on the series.

Yes, the Dune-iverse is coming together nicely. All we need now is some actual information on Villeneuve’s film, which seems poised to kick it all off. Let’s review what we actually know about the forthcoming, revamped Dune, including the release date, plot, cast, and more.

Kyle McLachlan in 1984's Dune
Paul Atreides crosses the desert of Arrakis with his army in tow

When Is the Dune (2020) release date?

Dune is slated for release on November 20, 2020.

The timing is notable since it is scheduled to arrive in theaters at the beginning of the holiday box office season. This slot means expectations are high for Dune, and Legendary has their fingers crossed it will be a success with the help of holiday crowds.

Is There a Trailer For Dune?

There is no trailer for Dune — yet.

Given the November 2020 release date and the scale of the project, we could get a first-look teaser as early as November or December 2019 which would help build curiosity and momentum for the film. However, a full-length trailer is likely to roll out in spring or summer 2020.

Who Is Directing Dune?

Denis Villeneuve is directing Dune. This film serves as the follow-up to 2016’s Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Dune will mark the third time Villeneuve has adapted a literary work for the film, previously adapting Ted Chiang’s short story “The Story of Your Life” into Arrival and Jose Saramago’s Enemy in the film of the same name starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Villeneuve is no stranger to putting distinct, auteur touches on his film. This includes working with cinematographers like Roger Deakins on Blade Runner 2049 to imbue a film with a distinct visual look and feel which makes the viewing experience all the more arresting, or commissioning a score, as he did on Arrival, that is as much a character as the actual characters. Dune audiences should certainly buckle up because whatever Villeneuve serves up, it is going to be very exciting to behold.

Max Von Sydow, Patrick Stewart, Kyle McLachlan, and Jurgen Prochnow in 1984's Dune
How does the new 'Dune' cast stack up to the 1984 cast, which was chock-full of talent?

What Is the Plot of Dune?

Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young nobleman whose family is just one of a number of several noble families clashing over the control of the planet Arrakis. Arrakis is a unique planet because a drug known as “melange” or “the spice” is produced there, which gives its user the ability to see the future, to travel across space, and even an extended life.

Paul’s inheritance includes the planet of Arakis, which brings him into conflict with the planet’s former rulers, House Harkonnen. It’s also believed Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach, a messianic character known to the people of the Bene Gesserit region who worship it and believe it will lead them to freedom. Paul soon discovers his duties and loyalties are not what he thought they once were as he is thrust into conflict over the future of Arrakis.

Who Is in the Cast of Dune?

The real question is: Who isn’t in the cast of Dune? From July 2018 to February 2019, it felt like there was new Dune casting news. Timothee Chalamet was the first actor to be cast back in 2018, with Jason Momoa being the most recent addition to the cast. This is a film that has racked up a seriously talented and diverse cast, promising a film that is packed to the rafters with interesting actors.

Dune’s leading cast includes:

  • Timothee Chalamet as “Paul Atreides”
  • Zendaya as “Chani”
  • Rebecca Ferguson as “Lady Jessica”
  • Oscar Isaac as “Duke Leto Atreides”
  • Stellan Skarsgård as “Baron Harkonnen”
  • Javier Bardem as “Stilgar”
  • Josh Brolin as “Gurney Halleck”
  • Jason Momoa as “Duncan Idaho”

But the greatness doesn’t stop there. Dune’s cast also includes Charlotte Rampling, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Babs Olusanmokun. If there was ever a reason to run to the theater to see this film, the cast is a hell of a selling point.

Kyle McLachlan and Sean Young in 1984's Dune
Paul and his love interest, Chani, share a moment

What Do I Need to Read or Watch Before I See Dune?

You have more than a year at this point to get immersed in and fully caught up with the world of Dune. If you’re feeling ambitious, dive into Herbert’s books! There are six novels in the Dune series to keep you busy. If you want more, check out Lynch’s adaptation of Dune as a way of familiarizing yourself with the characters and the relationships while getting a uniquely Lynchian perspective on this sci-fi world.


Dune arrives in theaters November 20, 2020.

Media via Universal Pictures