By George Donovan
The wait is over; the biggest movie trailer of our time is finally here!
(Courtesy of Warner Bros) https://www.dunemovie.com/assets/img/gallery/07.jpg
In December of 1984, Dune would see its first ever movie adaptation reach theaters, with a movie directed by David Lynch. Although it was released without Lynch’s say on the final cut to great derision and confusion (to help audiences, the movie came with glossaries printed out on paper to review before the trailers finished and the film began), a number of fans, including those who grew up with the movie or have an eye for the production design, can make room in their heart for this project and the ways it differs from Lynch’s other films.
Another take on Dune, a miniseries from 2000, took advantage of its TV medium to firmly follow the novel’s story, but, with a miniseries budget, couldn’t match a constantly growing Hollywood standard of special effects. Denis’ new version of Dune is looking to combine both the rich imagery of the Lynch movie and the fulfilling story of the miniseries into an incredible blockbuster journey for this age.
At that time in November, your best bet for finding leaked set photos came from diving through old Instagram stories of the stars, where a brief glimpse of the Jordan deserts or special Dune crew shirts and jackets was just about the extent of things. As incredible as it would have been to see any Dune footage before the end of 2019, all that had been announced in those first months of 2020 was a few minutes of preview footage, which would be shown by Warner Bros. to guests at CinemaCon (and hopefully made public) on March 31st.
However, COVID-19 put an end to this event, and the idea of any footage coming to light was locked away. At least the unique title treatment of the movie had been revealed by the end of January. Simple and yet more clever than at first glance, that would make two movie logos with the same idea: Warner Bros.’ other major 2020 blockbuster, Tenet by Christopher Nolan, had its own logo flipped half upside down as well for a while! Would these two movies each take turns throwing the blockbuster world for a loop on their original release dates? This wouldn’t be the case, as the pandemic tore up movie schedules left and right.
Finally, our very first look at Dune arrived on April 13th, with a photo of Paul on his home planet of Caladan. It was fantastic seeing this first photo, and not only was it a very distinctly Denis shot, but it was definitely the style of Greig Fraser, the cinematographer behind “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, who had been hired to shoot Dune. The next day, a full article was published on Vanity Fair featuring a number of new photos introducing the characters and atmosphere.
With concept art being kept under wraps, I scoured every new story and tidbit I could find, such as the claims that Stellan Skarsgård’s take on the morbid Baron Harkonnen was utterly disgusting yet couldn’t be ignored, or the news of Denis spending an entire year designing the sandworm monsters to perfection. Most amazing to me was the news of Hans Zimmer turning down Nolan, his biggest collaborator, to score Dune, one of his favorite books from his teenage years!
As August began and Zendaya appeared in the new edition of InStyle, she mentioned that she had seen the Dune trailer, and, combined with a confirmation by Timothee that the trailer would arrive before September, the new trailer date was pinned down to August 12th. Dunemovie.com even appeared online in its premature form as an Amazon Linux AMI Test Page.
One day, the switch would be flipped, the site would be up and running, and we would all celebrate the trailer that changed everything… but August 12th wouldn’t be that day; it came and went without any trailer. But with Tenet finally coming to reopened movie theaters in different corners of the world, an incredible preview appeared before IMAX showings: a minute-and-a-half teaser trailer, our first footage, confirming a September 9th release date! An extra teaser was posted the morning before, confirming the trailer’s premiere on Twitter Movies at 9AM PST. Together, millions watched as a special behind-the-scenes interview with Stephen Colbert, a lifelong Dune fan, introduced all the main characters and their experiences making the film, before premiering the trailer live.
Though some people may have expected a trailer score revolving around Hans Zimmer’s new work, the three minute trailer’s cover of Eclipse by Pink Floyd was a smart tribute to Jodorowsky’s shot at Dune, while also bringing in a spirit audiences may have gotten used to over the past few years. And with plenty of hints at legendary sequences and rewarding shots for avid readers building towards the reveal of the sandworm, the trailer was a great success, reaching 20 million views on Youtube by Sunday night. Even if Dune is delayed to 2021, the roller coaster of a story behind this trailer will always be remembered by movie fans everywhere. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Melanie Moyer '22,