Dune: Prophecy Could End up Ruining Denis Villeneuve’s Legacy if it Repeats One Mistake that Tanked Marvel’s Reputation

The Bene Gesserit have finally found their Voice in Maxʼs series adaptation in the prequel to Denis Villeneuveʼs Dune franchise.

dune prophecy, denis villeneuve

SUMMARY

  • Denis Villeneuveʼs Dune gets the prequel treatment as Max transports the IP 10,000 years into the past.
  • Dune: Prophecy is set to explore the origins of the Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit 10,000 years before the rein of Paul Atreides.
  • Warner Bros. risks ruining the legacy of Denis Villeneuve by indulging in too many spin-offs from the directorʼs blockbuster IP.
Show More
Featured Video

For a universe that lies thousands of years in the future, it becomes important to honor the past and learn the history of oneʼs lineage and inheritance. This is where Dune: Prophecy comes in to teach us the lores and mythologies that build the exceptionally vast universe of Frank Herbertʼs Dune. The 1965 novel that set a precedent for science fiction and dystopia has now been adapted by Warner Bros. for a television adaptation following the massive success of Denis Villeneuveʼs epic franchise.

Advertisement

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides in Dune [Credit Warner Bros. Pictures]
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides in Dune [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
However, the prequel that sows the seeds of the Dune lore further into our pop culture narrative is not just a study of the past and all its crucial, historically defining moments. Instead, Dune: Prophecy studies the faction of the Bene Gesserit and traces their origin back to the past, 10,000 years before the birth of Paul Atreides. But the prequel, just like the Sisterhoodʼs methods, is dangerous for one reason that could ruin everything that Denis Villeneuve and Timothée Chalamet worked to establish.

Dune: Prophecy Sets the Audienceʼs Mind in a State of Panic

The legacy of Frank Herbertʼs Dune is untouchable at its core. However, the same cannot be said for Denis Villeneuveʼs adaptation of the same. Constructed from the lores established in Herbertʼs novel, as a filmmaker, Villeneuve has to bear in mind that the audience needs him to adapt and stay true to the source text while delivering an entertaining and enriching version of the universe on film.

Advertisement

Dune: Prophecy [Credit: Max]
A still from Dune: Prophecy [Credit: Max]
Maxʼs television adaptation, without Villeneuveʼs writing and directorial prowess, may not be capable of delivering the same balance that makes the films such a massive success. Divvying up the lore into seasons and episodes not only gives more control over fleshing out the heavily worded narrative, but also makes the studio susceptible to repeating a mistake similar to what Netflix did with The Witcher.

Moreover, the timing of Dune: Prophecy is not doing Max (and in turn, Warner Bros.) any favors due to the formulaic and predictable act of green-lighting spin-offs, prequels, and series adaptations so soon after the critical and commercial success of Villeneuveʼs films.

The motive behind the making of Dune: Prophecy gets called into question – is it truly necessary to learn the Bene Gesseritʼs past 10,000 years before Paulʼs existence or is Prophecy just another cash grab quickie that serves to benefit the studio more than it does the audience? The dubious, suspicious, and sudden arrival of the prequel thus justifiably sparks widespread panic among fans who have grown to love and treasure the latest cinematic adaptations of Frank Herbertʼs novels.

Advertisement

Dune: Prophecy Must Learn From the Errors of Marvelʼs Past

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two (2023) [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two (2023) [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
The success of Denis Villeneuveʼs adaptation surely makes it painstakingly difficult for Warner Bros. to sit on such a valuable property for the sake of rarity, especially when the century-old studio barely survived the threat of bankruptcy and dissolution in the recent past. As such, calling for a prequel on their companion streaming platform is a logical call from the business perspective, but not so much in favor of the artistic one.

Marvel Studios, in the years following Avengers: Endgame committed a similarly atrocious act of setting itself loose on the Disney+ platform, releasing properties faster than the fans could consume and in quantities that made the audience feel like they were chores instead of entertainment. The studioʼs policy of quantity over quality led to the downfall of a once-great industry after “Superhero fatigue” began to set in universally across every demography.

Warner Bros.ʼ call to expand Frank Herbertʼs Dune universe will work only if the studio bears in mind that quality always takes precedence over quantity. As such, the series could serve to laterally explore the Bene Tleilax (or, the Tleilaxu) who are known for their power-hungry and enriching history, technological evolution in cloning, espionage, and ultimate goal of universal domination.

Advertisement

Rebecca Ferguson as Reverend Mother in Dune Part Two [Credit Warner Bros. Pictures]
Rebecca Ferguson as Reverend Mother in Dune: Part Two [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
In case Dune: Prophecy restricts itself to only the Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit, the narrative could delve further into the powers and abilities of the clan – mind control, the Voice, chemical alteration at a cellular level, truth-telling, combative skills, and their puppetry and political manipulations that lend to the rise and fall of great houses.

However, if the studio indeed falls prey to the greed of revenue and profits over creative and artistic satisfaction, Warner Bros. risks endangering Denis Villeneuveʼs legacy with their corporate methods that have turned so many Hollywood auteurs against the modern studio system and streaming platforms.

Dune: Prophecy premieres on Max this fall. Watch the trailer here.

Advertisement
Avatar

Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1553

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has above 1500 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh. Other skills include being the proud owner of an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists.