WARNING: Dune spoilers incoming in this discussion of the new/re-awakened Dune fandom. Be warned.
Look, I’m going to admit something upfront: I only watched Dune because I saw those gifs of Oscar Isaac (playing Duke Leto Atreides) by the Dune fandom, which, bless y’all for that. You know the gifs. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be in this article, but, admittedly, I saw the gifs before I actually saw the damn movie. A tad hypocritical of me, I suppose. Still, it got my butt in front of the TV for a split viewing session: one half one night, the second half another night.
I was not, in fact, drawn in by Timothée Chalamet (playing Paul Atreides), or as I call him, “Timmy”. He’s kind of like early Johnny Depp, although I certainly hope with a better future: he’s a little skinny kid who’s borderline emo. Not my type, but certainly a lot of other people’s. As part of the new Dune fandom craze, we discovered this week that Chalamet made Xbox 360 controller modding videos years ago? Bless the Internet in this case for digging up the most random obscurities. He admitted to it in a Dune promo video, too, so it’s not just Vice doing a borderline insane deep dive.
There’s also the Zendaya (playing Chani) screentime controversy, where diehard fans of the Spider-Man and Euphoria star are angered over the fact that she’s barely in the movie, despite being a major part of the press for the film. As pointed out by many fans, she’ll have a much bigger role in Dune Part Two, hopefully coming in 2023. Zendaya even mentioned in an interview with Empire that she was only on set for a few days and had a tiny role, so I’m not sure what these diehards were expecting.
Still, most seem to agree that Dune is a good time, with a lot of discourse comparing it to the MCU, and its tendency to put wisecracks into nearly everything, which is starting to drive people who just want one serious genre movie, please, a little crazy. I should note I am not one of those people—wisecrack away—but I do get it. Right now, for context, the Dune fandom is flooding Tumblr with pretty, beautiful gifs, and Archive of Our Own has 104 fics for Dune (2020) and counting. Ah, remember when we all thought Dune was coming out last year?
The Dune fandom is really a perfect storm of anti-MCU backlash; pretty people as its stars, as well as two Internet darlings as its stars; a really epic story and beautiful visuals; and well…it’s a science fiction film which, while it is one in a sea of many adaptations, feels original and unique in its own way. Maybe it’s because I’ve never read the books, but Dune felt both baffling and surprising, and I did enjoy it. Will it become my favorite sci-fi franchise of all time? Well, we’ll see with Dune Part Two…sequels are often tricky territory for general audiences and diehards alike.
We’ll see if the Dune fandom will continue its momentum all the way to 2023, but hopefully, it will! I mistakenly left it out of my 2021 hopeful fandom run down at the top of this year, but to be fair, were we entirely sure it would actually come out this year, after being pushed back three times? I’m glad it did, and I hope Dune Part Two actually comes out in 2023. Time will tell, and I suppose fear is the mind-killer, in that regard.