I heard the news of a “Dune” remake due out in 2020. I saw the endless comparisons to the disastrous movie that came out in 1984. Sting goes shirtless! Picard is a warrior! The ending nullifies the entire freaking point of the book by making the deliberately bred super-human and culturally manipulative character magically conjure rain.

The interesting chasm I discovered was when I said in response to this news, “Another Dune remake?” To which others said, “What other Dune movie?” I know Syfy has made a number of B-list sci-fi movies, but their Dune remakes a decade ago were works of art. It is a tragedy they aren’t better known, much less well known to Dune fans. (Note: I’ve read all of the books of the Frank Herbert series and several of Brian Herbert’s books.)

The “Dune” and “Children of Dune” movies made by Syfy were examples the 2020 Dune remake should follow. For example, it dedicates enough time to cover multiple plot lines. For example, Fenring exists, Irulan is more than a “win the princess at the end” prop, and Lady Jessica is humanized.

More important to fans, the movies are true to the source material. Aging Ghani and Leto up to teenagers works well, because proposing an arranged marriage with a 10 year old still creep out modern audiences. The character that plays Alia as an adult is amazing. You see her as a complex, not-quite-human character struggling with the role she’s been thrust into and her struggles with her own nature.

The choice by Syfy to combine “Dune” and “Children of Dune” into one miniseries serves another purpose – you move seamlessly from Paul taking the throne to his faked death, leaving everything in the hands of his sister for the sake of his pre-born children.  You see the children’s story to the point where Leto gives up his humanity to save humanity. That is a reasonable stopping place for a Dune miniseries, since the next step is to skip forward three thousand years.

The warning Frank Herbert had about prophecy, the horrible tragedy of being locked into a known course for better and worse, is encapsulated in the full series that draws from the first two books of his series.

Since “Dune” has been called the brainiest science fiction franchise, I doubt the 2020 Dune remake will be better than the Syfy series. I’m afraid they’ll mimic Brian Herbert’s lousy prequels and attempts to finish the series, dumbing it down for the sake of popular appeal, while the fan base is told you’re bad or worse for not liking it.

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