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Dune: Release date, cast, trailer and latest news

Fear is the mind-killer. Dune hype must flow.

Dune poster
Warner Bros
Published: Thursday, 21st October 2021 at 11:27 am

It's time! People all over the world can make the treacherous journey to Arrakis as Denis Villeneuve's Dune finally lands in cinemas.

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To say that the film has been hotly anticipated would be something of an understatement, bursting onto the scene late last year with a trailer that racked up almost 40 million views.

Now that the sci-fi epic has finally arrived in the UK, we're relieved to report that it is indeed worth your time (for more on that, check out our Dune review), although it isn't the flawless slam dunk that many had been hoping for.

In addition, those familiar with Frank Herbert's original novel might get slightly distracted by the Dune book to movie differences, with several major scenes from the source material left out of this ambitious adaptation.

While there had been some concern about Dune's box office prospects amid the pandemic economy, the film is shaping up to be a major hit for Warner Bros, attracting interest from movie-goers of all ages.

However, some parents are understandably concerned about whether the film is suitable for their child, with the Dune age rating shedding some light on what they can expect to see the blockbuster.

Fans already have one eye locked on the future of Dune, as writer-director Villeneuve has made it quite clear that he would be keen to return for a potential sequel (see our complete briefing on all things Dune: Part Two).

If you rushed out to see the film as soon as it was released, you might enjoy reading our piece on the Dune ending explained. If not, read on for spoiler-free details on the movie, including release date, cast and trailers.

Dune movie UK release date

Dune is in UK cinemas now, having been released on Thursday 21st October 2021. In the US, the movie has been released simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max.

Dune had originally been scheduled for release in 2020, but it was pushed back by Warner Bros when the studio moved around their slate due to the pandemic.

Some super-fans are already wondering when the unconfirmed Dune: Part Two could arrive in cinemas, with director Denis Villeneuve telling IGN that he "would be very ready to go quite quickly".

He clarified: "To go quickly in a movie of that size, you still need to make sets, costumes, so we are talking about months. But if ever there's enthusiasm and the movie is greenlit sooner than later, I will say that I will be ready to shoot in 2022 for sure."

The box office gross will be the deciding factor in whether Dune: Part Two goes ahead, so watch this space for details in the coming weeks as the film rolls out in the United States and other territories.

Dune online: When can I watch Dune on HBO Max?

Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021)
Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021) Warner Bros

In the United States, Dune was released simultaneously in cinemas and on streaming service HBO Max, giving viewers the option to watch at home if they so desire – although director Villeneuve has encouraged seeing it on the biggest screen possible.

"Frankly, to watch Dune on a television, the best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub. For me, it’s ridiculous. It’s a movie that has been made as a tribute to the big-screen experience," he told Total Film.

Dune is available on HBO Max for 31 days, at which point it will be removed from the service and subscribers will have to pay a premium either in cinemas or on an alternate online platform to watch it again.

HBO Max is not available in the UK and as a result Dune is exclusive to cinemas over here, with a release on DVD, Blu-ray and rental services likely to be held until next year.

Dune cast

Josh Brolin and Oscar Isaac in Dune (2021)
Josh Brolin and Oscar Isaac in Dune (2021) Warner Bros

If it wasn't enough to have one of the most influential sci-fi books ever written as source material, Dune also boasts an incredible all-star cast that has film fans very excited.

Timothee Chalamet takes the lead role as Paul Atreides, the heir to the noble house who has been groomed in the ways of the Bene Gesserit from a young age by his mother.

At just 25 years old, Chalamet already has an Academy Award nomination to his name, following critically acclaimed turns in Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird and Little Women.

Mission: Impossible star Rebecca Ferguson plays his on-screen mother Lady Jessica, a member of the Bene Gesserit order of women wielding great influence across the universe, as well as certain abilities that outsiders consider superhuman.

One of the most commonly used is "The Voice", a distinctive tone that compels people to carry out whatever command the speaker has said, even if it goes against their best interest.

Fresh off his brief run in the Star Wars universe, Oscar Isaac is now diving into another sci-fi epic as Paul's father and leader of House Atreides, Duke Leto, who accepts the calling to take responsibility for Arrakis.

Josh Brolin (Avengers), Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Devs) play his trusted aides Gurney Halleck, Duncan Idaho and Thufir Hawat respectively.

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021)
Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021) Warner Bros

Zendaya (Spider-Man: No Way Home) has been cast as Chani, a mysterious figure who Paul has visions of and eventually encounters in the Arrakeen desert.

Meanwhile, former Bond villain Javier Bardem takes on the role of Stiglar, a leader of the Fremen people, who have devised ingenious and extreme methods for surviving in desolate living conditions.

Sex Education's Sharon Duncan-Brewster plays ecologist Dr Liet-Kynes, who is a liaison of sorts between the Fremen and the ruling house of the time.

Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl) also appears as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the sworn enemy of the House Atreides, who is described in the books as being grotesque in both appearance and soul.

Guardians of the Galaxy alum Dave Bautista plays Count Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, who is dispatched to do the Baron's bidding and is lined up to rule Arrakis with an iron fist.

Last but not least, Charlotte Rampling (Broadchurch) has already made a big impression in the first Dune trailer, where she debuts as formidable Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam – who forces Paul into the deadly Gom Jabbar trial.

Dune film length: How long is Dune?

You'd best visit the facilities beforehand, because Dune spans a lengthy 2 hours and 35 minutes. Epic! (That's also 18 minutes longer than the previous film adaptation from 1984, fact fans.)

Dune plot summary

Dune is a complex sci-fi saga dreamt up by novelist Frank Herbert, which unfolds largely from the perspective of the Atreides family after they are chosen by the Emperor to take over spice production on the desolate planet Arrakis.

Spice is the most valuable substance in the universe as it is the single component required for space travel, but it also is coveted by the residents of Arrakis for its mind-altering psychoactive effects.

As they prepare to make the move from the lush planet Caladan to the desert world of Arrakis, young Paul Atreides begins having ominous visions of a terrible fate that awaits them there.

Indeed, sinister forces are conspiring against the Atreides clan, most notably their arch nemeses the Harkonnens, led by the grotesque Baron Vladimir and his brutal nephew, Rabban.

That really is just scratching the surface of what Dune is about, with Herbert's novel also dealing in a prophecy sacred to the people of Arrakis, which some believe is set in motion by the arrival of Paul and his mother.

Dune star Stellan Skarsgård attempted to summarise the behemoth story in an interview with The Independent: “It is written by a guy who smoked a lot of pot and took several LSD trips, and who also had read Machiavelli and he covers so many subjects in this novel.

“It’s not only about relations between mothers and sons, and fathers and sons… but it’s also about politics, tribalism, and the struggle between clans. It’s about colonialism; it’s about our relationship to nature, and how we are depending on nature, and how we destroy nature at the same time.”

If you're wondering whether the first film is a family watch, here is more information on Dune's age rating.

Dune budget

Dune is believed to have cost around $165 million dollars – the good news is that, within just a few days of its release, it was well within reach of recouping this spend, so expect the film to end up making a tidy profit.

How does Dune compare to the book?

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Dune
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Dune Warner Bros

So far so good! Those who have read the original Dune book will spot a number of familiar scenes and concepts in the recent trailer, with many praising the casting as absolutely spot-on.

One minor change is that the character of Dr Liet-Kynes, a planetologist on the planet Arrakis, has been changed from a man in the book to a woman in the film, portrayed by Sex Education's Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

Denis Villeneuve's Dune will adapt roughly the first half of Frank Herbert's original Dune novel, with plans for a sequel to complete the story down the line.

And according to co-writer Eric Roth, he has already written a treatment for the potential sequel – although he said that that was "as much as I can do" for now.

Speaking to Collider in April 2021, he said, "Hopefully people love Dune so much that they do want to have a second part, and I'm sure Denis would do an amazing version of that."

Dune trailer

The first epic three-minute trailer introduces you to Frank Herbert's richly detailed sci-fi universe and the characters therein, including Paul Atreides, Chani, Duke Leto and Duncan Idaho. The soundtrack is Pink Floyd's Eclipse.

A second trailer for Dune was released in July 2021, which gives more of an insight into the plot of the film and even features some comedic banter between Paul (Chalamet) and family friend Duncan Idaho (Momoa). Watch below.

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Dune is set to be released in cinemas on 22nd October 2021. You can buy the Dune novel by Frank Herbert on Amazon. If you're looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Movies hub for all the latest news.

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