Jodorowsky’s Dune: Why The “Greatest Film Never Made” Still Can’t Be
Although TheSpiceDAO recently acquired the production ” Bible” to allow Alejandro Jodorowsky to interpret Dune has made headlines. However, the film that has always fascinated sci-fi and movie fans is unlikely to ever be made. Jodorowsky, a Chilean experimental director and surrealist, attempted to make a Duneadaptation back in 1970s. His mind-boggling ambitions are still a source of fascination for many. A cryptocurrency-based company called TheSpiceDAO bought a rare pitchbook at an auction for $3million dollars. They stated that they intend to create a Dune version in line with Jodorowsky’s vision. This is not how movie rights work.
Jodorowsky’s Dunewas a magnificent design that would have produced a ten-hour feature movie. Brontis was to play the role of Paul Atreides in the 2021 Duke . Other cast members included Salvador Dali as Shaddam IV and Orson Welles, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, and Duke Leto. Pink Floyd, futuristic designer H. R. Giger, and visionary French science fiction artist Moebius were also included. The project’s scope was so large that backers pulled out. Dino De Laurentis bought the rights to the project. He then directed the 1984 Dunefilm. It is an indication of the surreal vision Jodorowsky had that Lynch was chosen because it was safer. Jodorowsky’s Dune has been a subject of much interest to critics and fans ever since.
SpiceDAO purchased the pitchbook but not the adaptation rights Frank Herbert’s Dunebooks. The legal rights to adapt the pitchbook are not granted by simply owning a physical copy. SpiceDAO acquired the pitchbook and stated that they plan to make it public, create an animated series from it, and support community projects. However, any kind of adaptation, particularly one that is commercially streamable, will face legal hurdles that are likely to prove insurmountable.
Warner Bros. holds the adaptation rights for Dune and is unlikely to give them up. Denis Villeneuve directed the 2021 Dune version. It was a critical and commercial success. A sequel is in the works. Although big media companies can sometimes ignore fan films that are not commercial, a production like SpiceDAO’s, which they plan to sell to a streaming platform, would be a serious legal threat. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation differs from Jodorowsky’s, and Warner Brothers would not want a comparable version.
Jodorowsky is also a question. The director, now 91 years old, appears to have moved on from his original ideas 45 years ago and instead has been trying to raise funding for a follow up to his films El Topoand The Dance of Reality for almost a decade. He also retains the rights to certain visual concepts in the book. Many of the actors he had planned to cast in his Dune series have since died. Without Jodorowsky on board, it would be difficult to create a series that was true to his vision.
There have been many sci-fi media that has been inspired by Dunes. This includes Star Wars. SpiceDAO could create a new story loosely inspired from Jodorowsky. They could have done it before purchasing the pitchbook and the purchase does not contribute to an adaptation of Jodorowsky’s ideas. The Dune ” bible” acquisition is a publicity stunt for a crypto company trying to gain public attention. Jodorowksy’s Dunes will forever remain a fantasy.