Everyone in the universe wants a piece of that spice.

Some science-fiction tales imagine the future as a place of promise, where humans would have to reckon with other forms of life (whether alien or artificial). But when Dune looks at the future, it sees first and foremost a brutal battle over resources.

The upcoming trailer for director Denis Villeneuve's upcoming film adaptation of Frank Herbert's legendary sci-fi classic sets the stage cleanly. Chani (Zendaya), a member of the indigenous Fremen people who populate the desert planet of Arrakis, begins the trailer by telling us "the outsiders ravage our lands in front of our eyes." Despite its inhospitable climate, Arrakis (also called "Dune" for its sandy landscapes) is the universe's only source of a special spice called melange, which can grant users psychedelic visions and makes interplanetary travel possible. The noble houses that rule the galaxy in the quasi-medieval political structure of Dune are all very eager to control the supply of melange, and they don't put a lot of effort into asking the Fremen what they think.

Zendaya in new 'Dune' trailer; credit: Warner Bros.
Credit: Warner Bros.

At the beginning of the film, Arrakis is the fiefdom of House Harkonnen, a brutal family led by their terrifying Baron (Stellan Skarsgard) and his cruel nephew Rabban (Dave Bautista). But as you can see in the trailer, as Dune proceeds the Emperor orders that Arrakis be given over to House Atreides, led by the noble Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and his promising son Paul (Timothée Chalamet). That's easier said than done, though. House Atreides can take Arrakis, but can they hold it? Why is Paul haunted by visions of Chani and a war-torn future?

You'll have to see the film for the answers. Dune comes to theaters and HBO Max Oct. 22. Watch the trailer above.

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