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The craziest Dune movie was never made, but it still influenced many other sci-fi films like Alien



The second part of the new Dune films recently thrilled cinema audiences. But as early as the 1970s there was an attempt to make a film of Frank Herbert's book. Unfortunately, the film, which was supposed to be megalomaniac through and through, was never made.

Which Dune film is it about? Even before David Lynch dared to film Frank Herbert's science fiction classic in 1984, the Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky made an attempt.

The filmmaker is best known for his highly surreal works. His most famous films include “The Holy Mountain” and “El Topo”. Both impress with imaginative, colorful images and sometimes disturbing stories.

Jodorowsky saw his big opportunity in Dune. He didn't just want to adapt Herbert's book for the cinema, but rather revolutionize cinema itself. His aim was to change people's thinking, especially that of younger audiences, through film.

Watching his Dune should feel like the drug LSD – but without consuming the substance itself. Looking at the concept art and the proposed cast, it's clear that Jodorowsky's vision went far beyond what ordinary cinema audiences knew.

Here you can see the trailer for the documentary “Jodorowsky's Dune”, which takes a closer look at the project:

The trailer for the fascinating documentary “Jodorowsky's Dune”

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What was Jodorowsky up to? In order to realize his dream of making his own Dune film, the filmmaker got prominent support at his side. Above all, the French comic artist Moebius.

Jodorowsky was impressed by his drawings. Together they worked out the complete storyboard, meaning they already drew all the images of the planned film in detailed sketches on paper. Numerous spaceships were also designed with the help of artist Chris Foss.

HR Giger was also there as a concept artist. He would later make an important contribution to Ridley Scott's Alien. But first things first.

So the visual concept was clear. Jodorowsky then went looking for his actors. Jodorowsky's own son should be seen in the main role, played by Timothée Chalamet in the current film adaptation.

Apart from that, the list of actors planned is curious: the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí as the Emperor, Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones as Feyd-Rautha, David Carradine, who many know as Bill in Kill Bill, as Leto.

Plus the directing heavyweight Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen and Udo Kier as Piter DeVries. As if that wasn't enough, Jodorowsky enlisted British band Pink Floyd to provide the music.

Would you rather play Dune than watch it? On MeinMMO we have collected everything about the upcoming game Dune Awakening.

The project was doomed to failure

Why was the film never made? It wasn't the employees' fault that Jodorowsky's Dune was never filmed. They sometimes had strange requirements – Orson Welles, for example, wanted his favorite chef on set – but in the end they were all willing to take part.

In the end, as is so often the case in the film world, it failed because of the money. Although Jodorowsky had an impressive portfolio full of concept art, no Hollywood studio wanted to raise the $15 million needed to make the film.

15 million doesn't sound like a lot for a film like this by today's standards, but for the time, it seemed too risky for the studios to invest in the project. That's why Jodorowsky had to give up with a heavy heart.

Was everything in vain? However, some of the ideas collected for the film influenced later works in the sci-fi genre. HR Giger used his design of Harkonnen Palace and developed it further. This gave rise to the iconic look of the alien from the film of the same name.

Other classics like Blade Runner were also influenced by this first Dune version. So the work on it wasn't completely in vain. By the way, Jorodowsky thought David Lynch's version was terribly bad. And the current one by Denis Villeneuve “predictable and industrial” (via

If you would like to find out more details about this really crazy project, you can currently watch the relevant documentation in the Arte media library. The 2013 film is aptly titled Jorodowsky's Dune. It can be accessed free of charge until August 18, 2024.

Are you Dune fans? Have you seen the new version and what do you think of the Lynch version? Here you can find the opinion of MeinMMO editor-in-chief Leya Jankowski, who recommends Dune 2 by Denis Villeneuve to everyone – especially in the cinema.

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