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Dune: First Look At Giant Sandworms From 2020 Remake

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Fans get their first look at the giant sandworms from 2020's Dune. Published in 1965, Frank Herbert’s Dune became a classic of visionary science fiction literature, and was adapted into a film by legendary director David Lynch in 1984.

A notorious flop at the box office, Lynch’s version of Dune is widely considered to have failed at capturing the spirit of Herbert’s novel. In 2020, Denis Villeneuve takes his own crack at adapting Dune, and unlike Lynch he has the advantage of state-of-the-art computer effects to help him realize Herbert’s exotic sci-fi universe. Indeed, perhaps the toughest part of adapting Herbert is visualizing his most iconic monsters, the giant sandworms that populate the dunes of the spice planet Arrakis, where most of the story’s action takes place.

In fact, if there’s one thing Dune fans are filled with anticipation about regarding Villeneuve’s adaptation, it’s how the director and his effects team will handle the sandworms. Now, thanks to Empire magazine’s special Dune covers series, those fans have gotten their first tantalizing look at the pivotal sandworms from Villeneuve’s film. See the image in the space below:

In Herbert’s novel, sandworms menace the remote areas of Arrakis, terrorizing spice mining operations. Later in the book, Paul Atreides proves his skills to the mysterious Fremen tribe by not only calling forth a sandworm but also mounting and riding it. After Paul drinks the power-enhancing Water of Life, he can actually control the sandworms, and uses them to go into battle against his family’s enemies the Harkonnens.

Steeped in grandeur and mysticism, the sandworm passages are a huge part of the impact of Herbert’s novel, and proved impossible to capture in the 1984 film with its relatively crude and limited special effects. Indeed, Herbert fans may have been more let down by the sandworms in Lynch’s Dune than any other element of the movie (though there were many other things about the film that fell short of capturing Herbert’s vision).

At least going by the Empire magazine cover (which appears to be concept art), it seems Villeneuve has gone in a different direction than Lynch, giving his sandworms an iris-like structure in their mouths rather than the tooth-lined maw envisioned by Lynch and his creature creator Carlo Rambaldi. Indeed, Villeneuve previously revealed that a year was spent on his sandworm design in order to make it just right. Of course, fans won’t know if these sandworms truly deliver the awe-inspiring experience they’re hoping for until they see them in action on the big screen. For now though, it’s encouraging to see that Villeneuve seems to have gone off in a new direction with his sandworms after seeing certain other design elements of his Dune, the Fremen stillsuits for instance, that look very close to the designs in the 1984 movie. Getting the sandworms right is obviously a big deal for Villeneuve and, frankly, failing at making them as majestic and strange as they need to be could sink the entire movie.

Dune (2020)
Release Date: Dec 18, 2020


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