I am a huge fan of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction epic Dune. It is easily one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I have a soft spot for David Lnych’s film adaptation, mostly from an ambition and production design perspective. I am not really a fan of the SyFy channels version, It is the opposite of Lynch’s version, while it is more faithful to the book it lacks the grandeur and design of its big screen counterpart. For years the property has languished in development limbo bouncing around and occasionally having some progress, as with Peter Berg being attached for a while, but never moving forward. We briefly got to see what Alejandro Jodorowsky’s version could have been in the amazing documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. But now the film seems to be picking up steam under the direction of one of my favorite directors working today, Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve has made Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049. I could not pick a better director who has the limitless visual potential and the directing chops to handle the massive story and also deliver great characters.
Sometime around 2004 I created a line of 20 classic Dune custom action figures. The set was an attempt by me to disregard any visual influence from any movie, video game, or other source and solely use what I envisioned as I read Herbert’s literary descriptions on the page. The entire set was purchased for display in a Dune collection in Europe years ago. Sometime around 2010 I began to do a 2nd attempt at redesigning Dune. The figures have been done for quite some time even though I have never posted them. I was content to just admire them on my shelf. My excitement for the new Villeneuve Dune has encouraged me to share the figures.
With this version I tried to ignore as many influences from previous Dune works and approach it as if I was a production designer on my own version of Dune. I tried to create 4 distinct worlds with cohesive aesthetics and color schemes.
First up is House Atreides. I took an influence from the Greek sounding aspect and history of the house name. I tried to incorporated classic Greek elements and thought it would subconsciously add elements of antiquity and democracy. I also used the house symbol of the hawk to add bird elements to each character. Finally I used the classic green and red color scheme to set their look apart.
Lady Jessica has the classic Greek toga, with the imperial epaulets of bird feathers.
Gurney Halleck has a kind of Roman/medieval armor look on the frame of a older soldier.
Duncan Idaho is a character that has never really fully been captured by his literary description and the title of “Swordmaster” I went for a kind of space, swashbuckling, hoplite.
Alia is in the vestments of the Bene Gesserit. I wanted all my vestments to have similar look and have a very ceremonial aspect to them.
Stay tuned for more of the houses to come…