It was released in theaters on October 22, 2021 in the United States. It was previously anticipated for release on December 18, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting theaters reopening and attendance.
A sequel will be released on October 20, 2023.
Official synopsis of Dune from the press release:
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, "Dune" tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Full description from the press site:
Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name.
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
The film stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Women”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise) Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “Avengers: Infinity War”), Stellan Skarsgård (HBO’s “Chernobyl,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, “Avengers: Endgame”), Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences,” “Lady Bird”), Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” HBO’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (“Mr. Long,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), David Dastmalchian (“Blade Runner 2049,” “The Dark Knight”), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Netflix’s “Sex Education”), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years,” “Assassin’s Creed”), with Jason Momoa (“Aquaman,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Skyfall”).
Villeneuve directed “Dune” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert. Villeneuve also produced the film with Mary Parent, Cale Boyter and Joe Caracciolo, Jr. The executive producers are Tanya Lapointe, Joshua Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert.
Behind the scenes, Villeneuve reteamed with two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette (“Arrival,” “Sicario,” “The Young Victoria”), two-time Oscar-nominated editor Joe Walker (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Arrival,” “12 Years a Slave”), two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert (“First Man,” “Blade Runner 2049”), and Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer (“Blade Runner 2049”). He also collaborated for the first time with Oscar-nominated director of photography Greig Fraser (“Lion,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”); three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (“The Revenant,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Quills”) and co-costume designer Bob Morgan; and stunt coordinator Tom Struthers (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception”). Oscar-winning and multiple Oscar-nominated composer Hans Zimmer (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Inception,” “Gladiator,” “The Lion King”) is creating the score.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present “Dune.”
Set against the backdrop of Arrakis, a desert planet home to the Fremen, and the only known source of spice — a sand-like substance and the most sought after object in the universe — Chani Kynes tells the history of the harsh rule the Fremen (Arrakis’ native population) face under House Harkonnen. Living under the Harkonnens for years, Chani and the Fremen are surprised when House Harkonnen’s rule of Arrakis is ended by the Emperor, Shaddam IV.
Years later, it’s the year 10191. Caladan is the homeworld of the ruling House Atreides. An emergency meeting is called between House Atreides and the Emperor, in which he offers House Atreides the stewardship of Arrakis, to which they politely accept. Poised as a polite offer, Leto (the head of Atreides) is aware that the Emperor has planned his next moves carefully, and plans to eradicate House Atreides and hand back control of Arrakis to House Harkonnen.
Leto’s only child, his son Paul, tries to convince one of his mentor’s, Duncan Idaho, to allow him to travel to Arrakis with him the next day, but finds Duncan is reluctant. Paul tells Duncan that he has had visions of Arrakis and the Fremen, which become more suspicious when Paul explains that he has seen Duncan lying in the desert, presumably deceased. Nonetheless, Duncan turns Paul away, not wanting to put Paul in danger but equally not to break Leto’s rules.
Frustrated with the outcome, Paul talks with his father about the situation, but finds that he too is reluctant to allow Paul to travel to Arrakis early. He tells Paul that he is the future of House Arrakis and will sit on his council with him. The two discuss how they will need to master the desert in order to rule Arrakis, but will seek to bond with the Fremen and bring peace to the Houses. Paul leaves Leto to head off training with Gurney, another mentor.
Days later, Paul is awoken during the night by his mother, Jessica, with news that Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam has arrived and wants to inquire about the strange dreams he has been having. Jessica explains that Mohiam is a respected — and high ranking member — of the Bene Gesserit; Paul is aware that the Bene Gesserit is an all-female group of spies and theologians who have enhanced powers. Paul has been training as a member of the Bene Gesserit under his mother.
After being warned about the Bene Gesserit by a doctor, Paul enters the room and meets Mohiam. She subjects him to a test involving a poison needle called a gom jabbar. Despite being warned that failing the test would result in his death, Paul passes the test and is congratulated by Mohiam. As Mohiam leaves, she talks with Jessica about Paul being The One. Paul overhears the conversation and questions Jessica about it. Jessica reveals that the Bene Gesserit have been manipulating bloodline for centuries to eventually create someone who is capable of bringing peace to the houses. She remarks that some believe The One is already here.
Weeks later, House Atreides arrive on Arrakis with their soldiers. They are welcomed by a group of Atreides soldiers sent previously to get things ready. When they arrive, they are welcomed by the Fremen, who loudly chant “Lisan al Gaib”. Paul questions his mother on the meaning, and she reveals that it translates to “prophet”, or “messiah”, and means that the Bene Gesserit have been at work. Paul rebukes her, questioning if this means that they have been instilling superstition, but she merely replies that they have been getting things ready for the arrival. House Atreides settle in Arrakeen, the capital of Arrakis built by the Harkonnen. Arrakeen, Thufir Hawat notes, lies behind a large, natural wall that protects it from the powerful sandstorms that ravage the surface.
Shortly after her talk with Paul and Jessica, Mohiam travels to Giedi Prime, the homeworld of House Harkonnen, and explains that the emperor supports their battle to usurp House Atreides from Arrakis, therefore ending the house and taking back control of Arrakis. Mohiam explains, however, that Jessica is under the protection of the Bene Gesserit, and by extension, Paul too. Vladimir agrees to spare them reluctantly, but makes it clear after Mohiam leaves that they are not safe from Arrakis.
Only days after their arrival at Arrakeen, Leto is informed that the equipment left by Harkonnen is substandard and the majority malfunctions; Leto believes that they have been set up to fail. Nonetheless, Leto, Paul and other figureheads of the house are invited on a tour of the operation in which they are shown a spice harvester in the desert by Dr, Liet-Kynes, the judge of change. Problems occur, however, when a sandworm approaches the harvester, drawn to the rhythmic sounds it emits. An extraction attempt is made, but the gear on the carryall fails and the harvester cannot be lifted to safety. Leto orders that the crew of 21 aboard be saved by transferring to Leto's small squadron of ornithopters. Further problems arise when Paul nearly falls victim to the sandworm but finds his visions intensified following the inhalation of the product in the spice bed.
House Atreides face further dangers in Arrakeen, when an attempt is made on Paul’s life. The attempt fails, but Leto puts the guards on high-alert. Only days later, the traitor is revealed to be Wellington Yueh, a Suk Doctor and friend of Jessica’s. Yueh disables the shields protecting Arrakeen and blocks Atreides’ communications, allowing a coalition of Harkonnen and Sardaukar troops to invade the city. Thousands of Atreides soldiers are killed and the Atreides stronghold falls. Yueh is able to incapacitate Leto, and explains that Baron Vladimir — the ruler of House Harkonnen — has taken his wife and he has made a bargain with the Duke’s life to retrieve his wife. Yueh replaces one of Leto’s teeth with a poison replica, citing that he must break the tooth when close enough to the Baron and release the poison. It will kill the Duke but should also kill the Baron.
During the invasion, Jessica and Paul are taken hostage by Harkonnen soldiers, who plan to eject them from the ship into the desert. In a desperate attempt to save his mother from being raped by the soldiers, Paul uses the voice of the Bene Gesserit, allowing his mother to be ungagged and command the soldiers to kill one another. Both Jessica and Paul are able to escape into the desert where they find a survival kit they have been left by Yueh. As the two sleep in the desert, it quickly becomes clear to the two that Leto is dead when they find House Atreides signet ring in the kit; as a result, Jessica welcomes Paul as the new Duke of Atreides.
Meanwhile, back at Arrakeen, Yueh, despite fulfilling his part of the bargain and delivering the Duke to the Baron, is murdered by the Baron, who remarks that he is reuniting him with his wife in death, just as he promised. Moments later, Leto comes around from the poison dart, and is told by the Baron that Jessica and Paul are now dead. Leto is able to crush the tooth and release the poison. The majority of the court is killed by the vapor but the Baron is able to evade death, having deployed his shield only moments prior. He is later turned over to a group of healers who submerge him in a vat of dark oil. He receives a report from Rabban, who tells the Baron that Paul and Jessica flew into a sandstorm of incredible power and could not have survived.
Alone in the desert after their long night, Jessica and Paul are eventually found by Duncan, who brings the two to an old research station where they meet with Kynes. Kynes explains that the research station was created to bring life and greenery to Arrakis, but after the discovery of spice, plans were cancelled in favor of the desert. Not long after their arrival, however, they are found by Sardaukar troops. Several Fremen are killed during the attack and Duncan also falls as a result, joining his master, Leto in death. Kynes, Paul and Jessica are able to escape the facility, but Kynes is soon discovered by the troops and is stabbed through the chest with a blade. In a desperate attempt to protect the future of House Atreides, Kynes thumps the ground, attracting a sandworm and allowing herself and the troops to be swallowed by the merciless creature.
Aware of the huge financial impacts that the coup has had on House Harkonnen — and the debt owed to the Emperor — Vladimir transfers control of Arrakis to his nephew, the cruel and sadistic Rabban. He orders Rabban to sell Harkonnen’s spice reserves and restart production, but not to sell too much as the price of spice would fall.
After fleeing the research facility and stealing an ornithopter, Paul and Jessica eventually crash in the desert. Fearing they will be devoured by a sandworm, they scramble to the rocks but Paul finds himself face-to-face with a sandworm. He is surprised, however, when the sandworm merely looks at him instead of attacking. The worm is distracted momentarily by someone activating a thumper nearby. Whilst Paul and Jessica are thankful, Paul uses signs to alert Jessica that they are not alone. They are surrounded seconds later by Fremen. Among them, the Fremen are lead by Stilgar, but Paul finds himself mesmerized by Chani, the woman from his dreams.
Stilgar's tribe are reluctant to allow Paul and Jessica refuge, but eventually decide to do so when Jessica shows the two are good fighters. Tensions arise, however, when Jamis, a member of the tribe, protests against their joining and challenges Jessica to a duel. Given Jessica is a woman, she is unable to fight and Paul is forced to represent her. Despite being a skilled fighter, Jamis is bested by Paul and killed shortly after the start of the duel. Jessica is reluctant in joining the Fremen, but Paul insists, and the two join the Fremen on their journey to the stronghold with the aim of bringing peace to Arrakis.
- Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides
- Rebecca Ferguson as Jessica Atreides
- Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides
- Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck
- Stellan Skarsgård as Vladimir Harkonnen
- Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen
- Stephen McKinley Henderson is Thufir Hawat
- Zendaya as Chani Kynes
- Chang Chen as Wellington Yueh
- Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes
- Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam
- Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho
- Javier Bardem as Stilgar
- David Dastmalchian as Piter de Vries
Development and production
Despite wrapping production in 2019, it was confirmed that several scenes would be reshot in Budapest ahead of the December 18th, 2020 release date. Scenes reshot are reported to include additional cinematic footage and extra photo shoots; further reshoots places Dune in post-production for over a year.
The film score for Dune was composed by Hans Zimmer. Three soundtrack albums were released throughout September and October 2021, to coincide with the release of the film: Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), The Dune Sketchbook, The Art and Soul of Dune
Dune had its world premiere on Friday, September 3, 2021 at the Venice Film Festival, where it received an eight minute standing ovation.
The film had notable release delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially scheduled for release in theaters on December 18, 2020. It was delayed to October 1, 2021, and later moved to October 22, 2021.
Behind the scenes
- Deadline: Warner Bros Shuffles Fall Release Deck With ‘Dune’, ‘Cry Macho’ & ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’ by Anthony D'Alessandro. June 25, 2021.
- VanityFair: A First Look at Timothée Chalamet in Dune. April 13, 2020,
- Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Gets November 2020 Release Date
- Press Release from Legendary Entertainment: Legendary Entertainment Acquires Rights to Frank Herbert's Classic Sci-Fi Novel Dune. November 2016.
- Press Release from Legendary Entertainment: Dune - Start of Production. March 18, 2019.
- WarnerBros: Dune
- The Hollywood Reporter: Venice: ‘Dune’ Met With 8-Minute Standing Ovation at World Premiere by Patrick Brzeski. September 3, 2021.
- DuneMovie.com: World Premieres 2021, retrieved September 14, 2021. The film is releasing on September 15, 2021 in Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
- Collider: Exclusive: Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Movie Delayed Until Late 2021 by Jeff Sneider. October 5, 2020.