Many consider Frank Herbert's series of Dune stories to be seminal works in the realm of science fiction, though most live-action adaptations of the mythology focus on the events of the original novel, while the upcoming reboot's supervising art director Tom Brown thinks the effectiveness of this first film could see the franchise becoming as compelling the Lord of the Rings series. Herbert himself wrote the original novel and five sequels, while his son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson penned more than a dozen additional entries into the franchise, crafting expansive lore that future films and TV series could draw inspiration from.
"I think what [director] Denis Villeneuve is doing is what's called a seminal version of this story. I don't think it will be topped, to be perfectly honest," Brown shared with KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. "The sheer scale of it is going to be daunting. But I do think it's going to be extremely special. I heard in the paper the other day that they're looking at the new Lord of the Rings, and I firmly believe that. I think it's going to be up there with those kinds of films, really."
While Herbert's novels and subsequent adaptations have been ambitious endeavors, Brown also noted that, rather than embellishing the series' more fantastical elements, part of what makes the new film so compelling is how it is kept grounded in reality.
"The great thing about this is that it's so realistic. It's not like anything they've seen before," Brown detailed of designing the film's many ships. "The attitude that Denis and [production designer] Patrice [Vermette took] was, what would happen if these things could actually fly? Unlike a lot of spaceships that just sort of lift off and fly, these have an incredible realism to them. Even though some of the spaceships are the size of skyscrapers, others are two-seater vehicles."
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.
Dune is currently slated to hit theaters on December 18th. Additionally, the TV series Dune: The Sisterhood is currently being developed.
Do you think the new film could launch a franchise as big as The Lord of the Rings? Let us know in the comments below!