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DUNE’s First Trailer Shows an Epic Story and World

Paul Atreides isn’t your average teenager. The first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune establishes that from the outset. Even if you haven’t read the classic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert, you can tell Paul’s importance immediately. This glimpse into part one of Villeneuve’s Dune duology is, in a word, epic. It introduces the many important characters in this complex story and shows the world of Arrakis, also known as Dune—including one of its many dangers: the sandworm. Watch:

Before we go any further, let me just say that I’m sorry I ever felt skepticism about Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho. He’s clearly at home in the role of the talented fighter. And Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, a.k.a. the Beast? Come on.

In fact, the casting impresses across the board. We’ve seen several character photos from Dune in recent weeks, but we haven’t seen everyone in action. Timothée Chalamet leads the film as Paul, and it looks like he’s more than capable of handling the role’s gravitas. Zendaya’s Chani appears frequently throughout the trailer, starting in the opening moments. Paul’s been dreaming of her. I don’t want to spoil the book (even though it’s from 1965), but as the trailer implies, their destinies are entangled.

Chani and Paul Atreides in Fremen stillsuits

Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures

The Dune footage plays over Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse,” and the song underscores the danger running throughout the trailer. The woman who puts Paul through the gom jabbar test is the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit. She tells Paul his father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), will lose Arrakis. Ominous images from Arrakis support her statement: lines and lines of armored troops, Duncan Idaho leading Atreides fighters, urgent escapes, fire, a looming sandworm, the Harkonnens (a rival House), and the brightly harsh desert. It’s a lot. And all of it says the Atreides made a bad choice in coming to Arrakis… or did they?

The trailer doesn’t hide the fact that the Atreides have enemies. These foes are threatening the noble house and everything they hold dear. Note that Duncan Idaho calls Paul “my lord Duke.” That tells you everything you need to know.

Dune will arrive in theaters on December 18, 2020. Be sure to check out all our Dune content from glossaries, to explainers, to character breakdowns, and more.

Featured Image: Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of The Jedi Mind, available for pre-order now. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.