Credit: Warner Bros

Dune is perhaps the most celebrated and most important sci-fi novel of all-time. Published in 1965 by author Frank Herbert, the fantasy epic which went onto see five sequels was well before its time and was set far into the future following an intergalactic feudal society where noble houses fight for control over resources, armies, and planetary power. Within the abstract storyline, the novel explores complex themes of environmentalism, interconnected politics and gender dynamics. Released during an era of fascination surrounding psychedelics – just as it is portrayed in the book – it was quickly hailed by the public.

Whilst you could say the same for the likes of the Star Wars franchise and the modern tale of The Hunger Games, nothing could quite live up to the name of Dune in a cinematic sense. David Lynch was one of many filmmakers to attempt a bold adaption of the famed novel, but its film release in 1984 was considered one of the biggest box office and critic flops in history. Now, French film director Denis Villeneuve will have his turn.

Behind explosive cinematic projects such as Blade Runner and Arrival, the initial reaction to the mass production is quite a positive one and its cast, even more spectacular. Timothée Chalamet will take on his most important role to-date as lead, Paul Atreides. Rebecca Ferguson will play the mother, Lady Jessica and Oscar Isaac is his father, Duke Leto Atreides. Elsewhere, Dave Bautista is the Baron’s nephew, Glossu Rabban. Zendaya is Chani, an important woman in her Freman tribe. Javier Bardem is in talks to play Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe. And Josh Brolin has joined the cast as Gurney Halleck, a minstrel warrior. Jason Momoa will join the film as Duncan Idaho, a skilled swordmaster for House Atreides. A massive all-star cast if I ever saw one.

In our current period, certain aspects of the film will resonate with audiences and this is something Villeneuve is acutely aware of. “No matter what you believe, Earth is changing, and we will have to adapt,” he told Vanity Fair. “That’s why I think that Dune, this book, was written in the 20th century. It was a distant portrait of the reality of the oil and the capitalism and the exploitation–the overexploitation–of Earth. Today, things are just worse. It’s a coming-of-age story, but also a call for action for the youth.”

As for the format of the film, the lauded director will split the novel into two films to ensure the complex world is best represented. “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” says Villeneuve. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

We won’t have to wait too much longer either, with the film slated to release from December 18,  2020.