Warner Bros. dropped the first action packed full trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, on Wednesday.
Timothee Chalamet, 24, features heavily in the nearly three minute long preview, giving fans their first real look at his take on the story’s hero, Paul Atreides, as well as a terrifying glimpse of the new and digitally improved sandworms.
Dune follows Paul Atreides, the son of a noble family entrusted with protecting the most valuable element in the galaxy, as they battle against their own ‘extermination’.
‘There’s something happening to me. There’s something awakening in my mind and I can’t control it,’ Chalamet begins via voice over as the trailer opens.
Set to the score of ominous music, disjointed scenes are cobbled quickly together in Paul’s [Chalamet] mind – including a brief kiss with actress Zendaya.
‘Paul,’ she whispers just as he is awoken from a dream in a panic.
His dreams serve as prophecies of sorts, as viewers learn in the trailer that they accurately predict the future and play out in his waking hours just as they do in his sleep.
Dune follows Chalamet’s Atreides and his family as they embark on a trip to desert mining planet Arrakis to oversee the extraction of melange, the most valuable substance in the universe.
A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides and ousts his bitter enemies, the Harkonnens.
However, when the Harkonnens violently seize back their freedom, it is up to Paul, Leto’s son, to lead the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis, in a battle for control of the planet and its spice.
We see Paul begin to train for his battle in the trailer when he is put to a terrifying test by a veiled teacher, Gaius Helen Mohiam, played by Charlotte Rampling.
‘The test is simple,’ she says revealing a small dark box. ‘Remove your hand from the box and you die.’
A razor sharp needle is held to his throat by the woman as he slides his hand into the contraption.
‘What’s in the box?’ he calmly asks despite the risk of death. The answer: ‘Pain.’
While fans don’t see the evils inside of the small device, it’s evident that something horrifying is happening as Paul lets out a blood curdling scream.
Gaius Helen Mohiam is the ‘leader of the powerful all-female secret society known as the Bene Gesserit, has come to the planet Caladan to test young Paul Atreides,’ according to EW.
The outlet spoke with director Denis Villeneuve about the action packed trailer and he explained that her grotesque challenge with the needle and box is one of the most important turning points for the story.
‘Is the mental part of him stronger than the animal part? That was very important for [Dune author] Frank Herbert,’ Villeneuve explained.
‘At some point in the Dune history, the human brain will reach a level of control where there’s no more computers in that universe, so the brain is trained to be able to make insane calculations and have control over your body.’
The director added: ‘Paul, having some Bene Gesserit training, needed to be tested to see if he can use this power for the good of humanity.’
Throughout the trailer, viewers learn that Chalamet’s character is incredibly powerful – physically battling with Josh Brolin in training.
He is also tapped to lead his people but is warned that none of his ancestors were truly capable of ruling.
‘My father rules an entire planet,’ Paul counters when he is told his ancestry is full of bad leaders. ‘He’s losing it,’ his teacher responds and warns that they are set to lose the ‘richer’ one as well.
‘Arrakis is a death trap,’ Gaius Helen Mohiam says.
A burning battle breaks out between the enemies as Paul comes to the realization that ‘this is an extermination.’
‘They’re picking my family off one by one,’ he continues. Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho responds, itching to get his hands dirty: ‘Let’s fight like demons.’
Zendaya later appears, like in the earlier dream and Chalamet’s character realizes he knows her from his prophecy. Her character, Chani, is a Fremen – a native of Arrakis.
‘One day, the legend will be born,’ Gaius Helen Mohiam says. ‘All of civilization depends on it.’
Dry, sandy, fiery shots of the film’s big war scene flash in quick succession – as does a horrifying look at the sandworms rising from the ground like a giant succubus.
‘I must not fear, fear is the mind killer,’ Paul says at the end of the trailer.
The look of the sandworms have been digitally upgraded from the 1980’s film and are just sucking, holes with stringy rows of teeth destroying things in its path.
While speaking with EW, the director called the sandworm: ‘a fantastic central figure of Dune’s story that massive creature that lives in the deep desert, so when we were creating the worm I tried to create a lifeform that you will totally believe can go and survive in this land.’
‘So of course it has to have some prehistoric quality to it, because it’s living in the most rough environment. It was a lot of dreaming. We took our time with it,’ he explained.
‘I deeply love the worm we came up with. It was important for me to understand that this huge creature has a soul, to understand that it is revered as a god-like figure.’
On Tuesday, the film’s cast of characters were introduced via a 45 second teaser and include Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck, Zendaya’s Chani, Javier Bardem’s Stiglar, Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto Atreides, Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho and Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica.
But fans had already gotten a glimpse of these characters last month, when Empire unveiled the first-look photos of several of the main characters.
Dune was written by Frank Herbert in 1965 and was named in 2003 as the best-selling science-fiction novel of all time.
It was previously adapted into the 1984 feature film of the same name by writer-director David Lynch, starring Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides.
There was also a 2000 mini-series adaptation that starred William Hurt.
This new Dune adaptation is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival), from a script he co-wrote with Eric Roth (Munich) and Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange).
The cast also includes Stellan Skarsgard, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Chen Chang.
Warner Bros. has set a December 18 release date for Dune, though it’s possible that may change amid the COVID-19 pandemic.