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Haven’t you heard? Dune is kind of a big deal…

Why everybody is hyped for the new Timothée Chalamet blockbuster

Even if you know nothing about Dune, you’ll likely be aware of the army of A-list stars who make up the cast. Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, for example. And Oscar Isaac. And Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård…Basically, from Marvel heroes to James Bond villains, there’s something for everyone here.

So what is this film featuring all these famous people? Where does it come from? And why is it such a big deal?

By the time we’re done with you, you’ll understand why everyone’s so pumped for this big screen spectacle.

So, what is Dune?

Millions of years ago in 1965, Dune started out as a novel that would inspire the likes of Star Wars, Blade Runner and Alien. More recently, its influence can even be felt in stories like Game of Thrones. Now, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve has offered up his own vision. And if the rave reviews and early reactions are anything to go by, it seems he’s not just met expectations...he’s exceeded them by lightyears.

Dune is also a firmly established franchise, with a combined 19 prequels and sequels (yes, 19). But don’t worry, you won’t have to read all 19 books to understand what’s going on - because the new film is focused solely on the original novel.
Dune article

What is Dune about?

The story takes place in the distant future, where numerous noble families are ready to wage war over the supply of the most precious resource in the universe – the spice Melange, a substance found on the desert planet of Arrakis that makes space travel possible.

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a gifted young man with excellent hair, travels to Arrakis to ensure the future of his family and his people. Along the way, he encounters the Fremen, who are being slaughtered in pursuit of spice. With them is the literal woman of Paul’s dreams, Chani, who just so happens to look exactly like Zendaya.
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It’s too epic for just one film

The story simply cannot be contained by one big screen outing: Part Two is set to follow in the near future. On splitting the narrative into two parts, the director said: "The tough task here was to introduce the audience to this world, to the codes, to the culture, the different families, the different planets. Once this is done, it becomes an insane playground. It will allow me to go berserk.”
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Make way for the King of made up languages

With all these families, species and cultures knocking about, it’d be pretty weird if everyone just spoke English.

That’s why the team behind Dune recruited the king of ‘conlang’ (constructed language) to come and spice things up. David Peterson, who also created numerous tongues for Game of Thrones including Dothraki and Valyrian, worked on four different linguistics systems for Dune (two spoken, two signed), as well as an entire writing system.
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Filmed at Earth’s Valley of the Moon

“They didn’t shoot Jaws in a swimming pool,” said Villeneuve when asked about the shooting location for his film. The director insisted on filming Dune in Wadi Rum, the epic Jordanian desert known as Valley of the Moon, because he wanted the cast and crew to be inspired by infinity. He also wanted to use as many real environments as possible.
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“A film of discovery… an invitation to get lost”

All of this amazing world-building supposedly translates incredibly on the big screen. Villenueve’s Dune is already raking in the five-star reviews, with many critics comparing its epic scale to that of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“When you finally get to Arrakis, the overriding emotion Dune evokes really kicks in: a near-constant jaw-on-the-floor awe. The sense of scale conjured up is, from moment to moment, frequently astonishing,” wrote Empire.

Elsewhere, The Guardian described it as “blockbuster cinema at its dizzying, dazzling best; a film of discovery; an invitation to get lost.”

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Hans Zimmer has joined the meeting...

A blockbuster of this magnitude simply had to feature music from Hans Zimmer, didn’t it?

But due to social distancing guidelines, the legendary composer wasn’t always allowed to be in the studio with his musicians. Instead, Zimmer had 32 choir members gather in groups of four over eight sessions, while he conducted via FaceTime from his home. He was probably wearing slippers.

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