Investors Who Bought a “Dune” Design Book Still Plan to Create Something Based On It

Their plans are especially odd if you watched "Jodorowsky's Dune"

"Dune" concept book
One of the ten Alejandro Jodorowsky's epic 1970 Dune storyboard copies is displayed to the public three days before an auction at Christie's Paris gallery, on November 19, 2021.
ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

The saga of the crypto investors who bought a rare book full of designs for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s planned and unmade adaptation of Dune has taken yet another turn. When last we left the members of Spice DAO, who had paid significantly more than the estimated price for the book at auction, they were writing about their intention to “[p]roduce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service.”

As was pointed out shortly thereafter, that would be easier said than done, as owning a copy of a book does not automatically give you the rights to turn its contents into a movie or television show. Do the members of Spice DAO now have a proper collector’s item on their hands? They do — but that doesn’t mean that they can create their own version of Dune.

Now, however, the group has clarified their plans a bit more. As reported by IndieWire’s Christian Zilko, Spice DAO noted that “while we do not own the IP to Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, we are uniquely positioned with the opportunity to create our own addition to the genre as an homage to the giants who came before us.”

In the article, Zilko speculated that “they appear to be planning to develop an original property based on Jodorowsky’s unique aesthetic vision for his ‘Dune’ movie.”

If this is what Spice DAO is up to, it’s an understandable maneuver. But in light of the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, it also seems like a deeply flawed approach. One of the takeaways of that film was that Jodorowsky and his collaborators on the film used plenty of the ideas they had planned to use for their Dune adaptation on a host of subsequent projects. The Jodorowsky-penned science fiction epic The Metabarons is one example of this, but it’s far from alone.

All of which is to say that Spice DAO wouldn’t be the first to repurpose concepts from a certain unmade Dune adaptation. And it certainly seems like there are easier ways to create an homage to that same unmade project that don’t involve buying rare books.

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