First Images of Denis Villeneuve’s Adaptation of ‘Dune’ Revealed

Yesterday, Vanity Fair began releasing the first exclusive images of Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune. These images are extremely exciting to see and will no doubt fuel speculative debates for fans in the coming months until the film’s release.

Mild Spoilers Will Follow

The first image from yesterday is of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) walking alone along a beach on what is clearly Caladan.

Source: Vanity Fair
Source: Vanity Fair

This image seems to me to be Paul awaiting the arrival of Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) where he will undergo the Bene Gesserit trial by pain to test if Paul was ‘truly human’. Paul has been given training in the ways of the Bene Gesserit by his mother, the Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), against the wishes of the Bene Gesserit order.

We can see craft in the sky behind Paul, which I am presuming are freighters loading goods and belongings up to the Guild Heighliner in orbit around Caladan waiting to take the Atreides family to their new home on Arrakis. The photo captures Paul’s isolation and loneliness well and serves to highlight the fact that he has no friends or companions his own age. Paul has been raised for one purpose and all other considerations are forgotten.

Today we get two images. The first is of Paul and the Lady Jessica.

Source: Vantiy Fair. Photo by Chiabella James
Source: Vantiy Fair. Photo by Chiabella James

Here we get to see the Fremen stilsuits for the first time. They are much closer to the images I had in my head when reading the book than either David Lynch’s version in 1984 or the Sci-Fi Channel’s mini-series in 2000. They have both hoods and face masks, which are essential to the proper working of a stilsuit. We can see the Fremkit on Paul’s back so I gather that this image is to be after the Harkonnen attack and Paul and Jessica have survived the sandstorm. They are most likely now search for the Fremen in order to seek their aid. They will have to walk without rhythm to avoid the sandworms.

In the distance you can make out a series of white specks. I wonder if they might be wind traps for collecting the so precious moisture of Arrakis. One thing that seems to be missing from the image are the literjons of water that help create the bond between Paul and the Fremen.

Update: It was mentioned to me that Paul is taller than his mother so there is the possibility that this image is from later in the story when Paul is fully accepted by the Fremen.

Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

In the second image we see Chani (Zendaya) in her stilsuit. It’s good to see the scarf/cloak in this image as the cloaks were an essential part of the Fremen stilsuit. They served many purposes and help separate the Fremen from the people of the graben, sink and pan.

I like what I’m seeing so far and hope that Villeneuve’s can live up to the aesthetic level set by David Lynch in 1984. Dune has a very baroque and gothic feel to it. These images are very interesting, but out of context for the moment. I think the true feel will come when we get to see a trailer of the film.

We also have an image of what is purported to be the logo for the film.

Source: Warner Bros.
Source: Warner Bros.

UPDATE

I’ve had time to look at the rest of the photos released.

House Atreides. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
House Atreides. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

This shot shows the entirety of House Atreides. Here we get a good look at what I will assume is the Atreides working uniform. They remind me of the uniforms worn in David Lynch’s version of Dune and that’s no bad thing.

Denis Villeneuve directing Javier Bardem as Stilgar. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Denis Villeneuve directing Javier Bardem as Stilgar. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

Bardem looks appropriate for Stilgar although he shouldn’t be wearing gloves. Fremen rub their hands with the juice from the creosote bush to inhibit perspiration. It’s a small detail but one that a lot of fans will notice.

Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

In this series of character shots, we see what appears to be some form of armour on Gurney Halleck and Duke Leto. The armour seems strangely out of place given the reliance on personal shields. Is this going to be a change from the book, I wonder? We also see Lady Jessica in her black aba robe. She would only wear this after she has gone through the spice agony to awaken her other memories to make her a full-fledged Reverend Mother.

Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

Momoa’s casting as the Swordmaster Duncan Idaho is the one I have the most contention with. I don’t know what he’s doing here, but I have a feeling it’s something added to show off Idaho’s fighting ability.

Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Leit-Kynes. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.
Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Leit-Kynes. Source: Vanity Fair. Photo by Chiabella James.

Here we see the Imperial Planetologist Liet Kynes. As is so common these days the character’s gender has been switched. This sort of thing is not unexpected but I think Villeneuve chose the wrong character to do this with. Changing Duncan Idaho to a woman would have made more sense to me.

Update 16-04-2020

A first look at Chen Chang as Dr. Wellington Yueh in Dune. Source: Warner Bros.

This latest image shows Chen Chang as Dr. Wellington Yueh. We can see the diamond tattoo indicating his graduation from the Suk School and the unbreakable Suk Imperial Conditioning making him suitable for treating royalty. With such conditioning, Yueh’s character is above reproach or suspicion making him the perfect tool for the Baron Harkonnen.

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