Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is shaping to be one of the most exciting projects — but can the director avoid the problems of his predecessors?

Recent years have proved intriguing for science fiction fans. The Star Wars franchise exploded back into our lives in grander ways than we can imagine, in both crowd-pleasing and controversial fashion, and we are yet to see the final instalment in the third trilogy. Despite the alluring temptations of a concluding chapter to this decade’s Jedi saga, one film has single-handedly averted our attention towards another ambitious sci-fi venture: Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

To appreciate just how exciting this project is, you have to understand just who director Denis Villeneuve is. He has helmed such films as Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival and most importantly his most recent effort, Blade Runner 2049. It was considered an unimaginable and unnecessary sequel, yet it shattered all expectations when it hit cinemas in 2017, quickly being heralded as a masterpiece of provocative sci-fi cinema; more than just a sequel to Scott’s film, but a worthy elaboration on its themes.

Villeneuve is painted as one of the great twenty-first century filmmakers and he continues to grow with every release, which leads us nicely into Dune, a 1965 novel written by Frank Herbert. The narrative concerns warring families in dispute over attempts to monopolise resources. One of these is the Atreides family, who after acquiring the sandy globe are double-crossed, not only by other power-hungry families but the Emperor himself. While in hiding, the young Paul Atreides becomes a crucial component of a greater prophecy.

It’s a very ambitious story and for Villeneuve to pull it off he needs a great cast – he certainly has one. Protagonist Paul Atreides will be played by Timothée Chalamet, perhaps the most promising actor of his generation right now after turning in great work across Beautiful Boy, Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird and more. Paul’s mother will be played by Rebecca Ferguson, who is certainly no stranger to the genre after 2017’s satisfying but familiar sci-fi horror vehicle, Life.

Already confirmed to join the two stars are Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista and Charlotte Rampling, with Javier Bardem also in talks to star. If that’s not enough, Empire has just reported that Josh Brolin has signed up for it, which will see him reunite with Villeneuve after working on Sicario.

According to Empire, filming should commence this Spring in Jordan and Budapest. That means a 2020 release is well within grasp. This also means that there’s a lot of time to kick back and see the terrific casting news roll in. However, there’s also time to do some research of your own. Herbert’s source material is often spoken of as one of the great literary works of science-fiction and there’s and the novel already has a fascinating relationship with the cinematic medium.

Cult filmmaker David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive) adapted the film in 1984 but swiftly rejected the film in the assertion that his creative vision was compromised by studio authority. Other filmmakers such as Ridley Scott and Alejandro Jodorowsky have attempted to bring it to the screen, and there’s even an interesting documentary made about the latter.

With an already astounding ensemble, we can’t wait to see who else hops aboard the project. It would appear all of the performers are very confident in Villeneuve’s vision; after the body of work he’s given us, we certainly are too.

Be sure to check out more Dune news in full.