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While they aren’t dots that you may absent-mindedly connect, there are some interesting connections between the big screen histories of Andy Muschietti’s IT and Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune. Both are based on beloved novels, took years of development before making it into production, and perhaps most significantly of all, made the creative choice to bisect the source material in adaptation. What we don’t know right now is if the latter will ultimately have the same kind of blockbuster success as the former, but we have high expectations – particularly if one took away some particular lessons from the other.
With Dune now a little over half a year away from release, the vast majority of the big creative decisions behind the film have already been made, so this is admittedly more of a fingers-crossed situation – but looking at IT and IT: Chapter Two together as a whole, there are certain decisions that it would be smart to see Dune either emulate or avoid. In exploration of that idea, here are four things we hope that the sci-fi epic learns from the adventures of the Losers Club in Derry, Maine.
Find The Right Split Point
Let’s start with the most logical and obvious lesson, shall we? One of the most interesting things that Andy Muschietti’s IT did in its approach to Stephen King’s novel was to untangle the timeline. Chapter-to-chapter, the book jumps back and forth between time periods to create a kind of parallel between the two halves of the story, but Muschietti separated the material in a natural way for his two movies in the aim of letting the two narratives exist independently in addition to collectively. Unfortunately, Frank Herbert’s Dune doesn’t have that kind of obvious line of demarcation, but choosing the right split point is crucial in this exercise, and IT demonstrates that.
The name of the game is balance, and ensuring that you’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul – which is to say hurting the potential of one movie to try and benefit the other. While it’s true that we’re not going to get a Dune: Chapter 2 unless Dune is successful, the sequel is going to suffer if the decision is made to jam the first film with as much of the good stuff as you possibly can, in turn taking away elements from which the second “half” would benefit. As of right now Denis Villeneuve and the other filmmakers behind the upcoming film are staying mum on the subject of the split point, be it the fall of House Atreides, or Paul’s rebirth as Muad'Dib, but we’re anticipating that the choice came with a larger plan. On that note…
Plan The Sequel Simultaneously With Part One
In theory, IT should have been all about the Losers Club as kids, and IT: Chapter Two should have been all about the Losers Club as adults, but things didn’t shake out that way. The second film required certain information that the first movie didn’t provide, and so the sequel not only tells the story of the adults, but is filled with numerous flashbacks as well. It’s something that is ultimately a detriment to the follow-up, as it feels like it’s spending too much time backtracking and not enough time telling its own story. This is hopefully something taken into consideration as Dune was being made.
With a sequel that would cover the second “half” of Dune not being given the green light yet, it’s unrealistic to think that a full script for Dune 2 was written side-by-side with the film that is currently in post-production – but it’s hopefully not too much to consider that the way a sequel will operate was at least being kept in mind throughout its development. There is an incredible opportunity that exists here for us to see the best ever adaptation of Frank Herbert’s brilliant work, but it’s a little hard to fully see that happening if early thoughts about the second feature were just “we’ll figure it out later.”
The Source Material Is Your Friend
There are certain parts of Stephen King’s IT that would have been impossible or at least sincerely hard to translate directly to the big screen, including the notorious sex scene and the metaphysical history between the titular villain and Maturin The Turtle, but Andy Muschietti’s adaptation is above all a faithful and loving adaptation. Details are changed – both big and small – but a significant part of what makes it such a stellar take on the work is that it trusts its source material. This is an approach we have little doubt that Denis Villeneuve will take with Dune, particularly given his expressed love of the material, but we’re taking the opportunity to highlight it anyway.
The reason it’s so exciting that Dune is being adapted across two blockbusters is because Denis Villeneuve will have the real estate necessary to really dig into the nitty-gritty of the book, and there’s hope that’s exactly what he will do (David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 didn’t have that same luxury, and it suffers because of it). While it will certainly be excusable if certain changes are made to benefit story flow, or to avoid comparison to other projects, the core of everything that the production needs is found in the pages of Frank Herbert’s book.
Plan For The Super Cut
Given where we currently stand – which is not knowing if Dune will be a hit, or successful enough to earn a sequel – this one is a bit of a moonshot, but we’re going to put it out on the table anyway. Looking ahead, if Dune and Dune: Chapter 2 are as successful as we hope they are, there are going to be legions of fans who will happy to dedicate many, many hours to watching both films back-to-back – absorbing the whole Arrakis experience in one epic go. To facilitate this idea, it would be truly amazing if Denis Villeneuve & Co. plan for this kind of viewing and work to create a supercut that dovetails both movies together as one big blockbuster.
Doing this would be taking a page directly out of Andy Muschietti’s playbook, as he pulled that exact same move for IT (more specifically, IT: Chapter Two). Prior to the release of the second film the director revealed that he purposefully shot extra footage during production with his goal being to eventually stitch all of his work together and create one epic adaptation of Stephen King’s book. Creating something like this may not be of any interest to Denis Villeneuve, and if that’s the case it can be left to the fans to create their own double-features/special edits, but it would be amazing to see something like this come together for Dune.
Until we have any kind of confirmations or announcements, all of the above is just theoretical – but hopefully at least one of them will turn out to be the case. We’ll discover more when Dune finally arrives in theaters, which is currently scheduled for December 18th.