The highly anticipated release of Denis Villeneuve’s movie Dune is nearly here. Sci-fi fans everywhere are itching for the new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 masterpiece.
David Lynch’s 1984 version of Dune was fairly underrated–many fans of the novel enjoyed the attempt to bring it to the big screen, but others felt the film was cheesy.
It’s definitely tough to bring such a complex universe to the big screen, and in 1984, there were limitations to what filmmakers could do. Villeneuve really wanted to wow audiences with his version of the sandworms–a very important creature in the story.
According to Polygon, Frank Herbert spent a lot of time when he originally created the critters when writing his novel. Villeneuve did his research as well. In fact, he spent a year developing the perfect way to bring those worms to life.
Making giant sandworms isn’t easy
Villeneuve went to great lengths to ensure that the entire Dune film is full of sweeping visuals, and there was one aspect that he had to get just right.
The giant sandworms–or Shai-Hulud–that inhabit the planet of Arrakis are central to the Dune story.
The natives of Arrakis–Fremen–view the sandworms as a symbol of their faith.
For others, the sandworms represent a much more tangible asset.
The sandworms are the source of a substance known as “spice melange”, which is one of the rarest commodities in the Dune universe.
Consumption of this spice has impressive benefits, such as an increased lifespan and the ability to see into the past and future.
The substance is highly addictive, and a symbol of wealth on Arrakis. So what does that have to do with the sandworms? A lot, actually.
The spice is found in the sandworms’ excrement. It’s formed far beneath the surface where it mixes with water and then rises due to the extreme heat.
The collection process is difficult and requires the use of special machines. It’s also incredibly dangerous because the machinery (and the people in it) can be swallowed whole by the sandworms.
According to Slashfilm, Villeneuve spent an entire year creating these critters. He pored over every aspect of the creature;
“We talked about every little detail that would make such a beast possible, from the texture of the skin, to the way the mouth opens, to the system to eat its food in the sand. It was a year of work to design and to… Brinkwire Entertainment short news.