Spice, Arrakis, the House of Atreides and – giant sandworms! Frank Herbert’s science fiction books about Dune describe their own fantastic universe, which you will immerse yourself in with one of the biggest blockbusters in 2021. Here is a quick guide to Dune that will introduce you to this distant world.

Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming epic Dune filmed a universe that was considered unfilmable for a long time: David Lynch had already dared to go to the desert planet in 1984, with moderate success. Then silence, apart from a three-part television series with James McAvoy and Alice Krige, which, due to its length, was more successful in conjuring up Dune on moving images. But in blockbuster format? Nobody dared to do it anymore, until now – until Villeneuves Dune, the am September 16 in cinemas worldwide should appear.

What makes Dune so unfilmable? The cyclical book series describes a completely separate universe, the characters of which wear imaginative clothes in foreign places; gigantic sandworms appear, gigantic battles, dream sequences, shining eyes and on top of that: a story that rummages through politically and philosophically complex topics, discussed between a whole group of main characters. There is also this feeling that Dune conjures up in you, this mystical quality that alone is difficult to capture in a blockbuster. In short: it takes the right technique, the right actors and half a genius to press such a complex book into a film. But director Denis Villeneuve, who already did a fantastic job on Blade Runner 2049, could make it this year. Together with lead actor Timothée Chalamet, without whom the remake of Dune might not even exist.

But good – check out the last trailer for Dune for a first taste:

What you should know about Dune (no spoilers!)

The Dune saga takes place about 20,000 years in our future; so far away that the memory of the earth has faded. Over the millennia, humans have evolved and populated numerous planets in space. Traveling at the speed of light through the universe is key to the continued existence of the human empire, but 10,000 years before the start of the Dune saga, humanity wiped out thinking machines and artificial intelligence; during the Butlerian Jihad.

A new path through space had to be found – a path that could only be found through the mysterious substance Spice Melange (kurz: Spice) has become possible. Extremely high amounts of spice enable artificially developed humans to mutate into beings that can safely navigate spaceships through space. But other people also consume spice; it lengthens life, changes the mind and gives its consumers supernatural abilities such as increased sensory perception and future visions. However, Spice is also addicting and withdrawal kills people. You can generally recognize users of Spice by the fact that you Eyes shine light blue.

Spice only exists on a single planet in the entire universe: Arrakis, or Dune, the desert planet. The breakdown of this important substance is not without it, because not only is the Arrakis desert life-threatening, it is also from gigantic sandworms roams that can devour entire cities.

The main character Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet

Paul Atreides is the 15-year-old son of the Atreides aristocratic family, and at the same time the product of a breeding program that has lasted for generations. The well Gesserit, an exclusive, mystical circle of powerful women who want to steer the fate of humanity through their influences, intrigues and forces. They also consume spice.

At the beginning of Dune, the aristocratic Atreides family is forced to Arrakis due to an intrigue; the family has enemies in very high ranks. Paul Atreides plays a key role here, because something mystical awakens in him, something that will change his life forever. This means a catastrophe for the breeding program mentioned above, because Paul’s mother (a member of the Bene Gesserit) actually has the task of not giving birth to a son for Duke Leto Atreides. However, she falls in love with him, disregards the commission and gives Paul his life. This fact alone, which degenerates into the greatest complexity, is only a fraction of the multi-faceted myth that is meticulously established in the Dune series.

Timothée Chalamet als Paul Atreides in Dune (2021)
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune (2021)

Why is Dune such an important science fiction classic? After all that has been described here, one thing is certain: you should read the Dune series to immerse yourself in the complex universe. Dune is one of the most important science fiction books ever, as it inspired epics like Star Wars or Blade Runner, to name just a few. Without Dune, the world of sci-fi would be different today – and Dune isn’t just an entertaining epic. Throughout the ingenious saga, important questions in life are asked and answered, one way or another: Reading Dune can only be to your advantage.