Rare Book Featuring the Concept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune Goes Up for Auction (1975)

Denis Vil­leneu­ve’s new adap­ta­tion of Frank Her­bert’s Dune has made a decent­ly promis­ing start to what looks set to shape up into an epic series of films. But how­ev­er many install­ments it final­ly com­pris­es, it’s unlike­ly to run any­where near as long as Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky’s ver­sion — had Jodor­owsky actu­al­ly made his ver­sion, that is. Pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture, that project promised to unite the tal­ents of not just the cre­ator of the Dune uni­verse and the direc­tor of The Holy Moun­tain, but those of Mœbius, H.R. Giger, Sal­vador Dalí, Pink Floyd, Orson Welles, and Mick Jag­ger. Even David Lynch’s Dune, for all its large-scale weird­ness, would sure­ly play like My Din­ner with Andre by com­par­i­son.

Alas, none of us will ever get to see Jodor­owsky’s Dune, now one of the most sto­ried of all unmade films. But one of us — one of the deep-pock­et­ed among us, at least — now has a chance to own the book. Not Her­bert’s nov­el: the book assem­bled cir­ca 1985 as a pitch­ing aid, meant to show stu­dios the exten­sive pre-pro­duc­tion work Jodor­owsky, pro­duc­er Michel Sey­doux, and their col­lab­o­ra­tors had done.

“Filled with the script, sto­ry­boards, con­cept art, and more, the book is basi­cal­ly as close as any­one can get to see­ing Jodorowsky’s ver­sion of Dune,” writes io9’s Ger­main Lussier.But, of course, the direc­tor and his team only cre­at­ed a hand­ful of copies and this was decades ago. This isn’t a book you can just get on Ama­zon.”

But you can get it at Christie’s, on whose auc­tion block it’s expect­ed to go for between €25,000 and €35,000 (around USD $30,000–40,000). Reck­on­ing that only ten to twen­ty copies were ever print­ed, the house­’s list­ing describes the book as “an extra­or­di­nary arti­fact” from “a doomed project which inspired legions of film-mak­ers and movie­go­ers alike.” Despite all of Hol­ly­wood ulti­mate­ly pass­ing on this enor­mous­ly ambi­tious adap­ta­tion, “all of this was not in vain.” Jodor­owsky him­self claims that, though unre­al­ized, his Dune set a prece­dent for “a larg­er-than-life sci­ence fic­tion movie, out­side of the sci­en­tif­ic rig­or of 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Its influ­ence, accord­ing to Christie’s, is present in 1970s films like Star Wars and Alien. Would it be too much to sense a trace of the Jodor­owskyan in Vil­leneu­ve’s Dune as well?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The 14-Hour Epic Film, Dune, That Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky, Pink Floyd, Sal­vador Dalí, Moe­bius, Orson Welles & Mick Jag­ger Nev­er Made

Mœbius’ Sto­ry­boards & Con­cept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

Mœbius & Jodorowsky’s Sci-Fi Mas­ter­piece, The Incal, Brought to Life in a Tan­ta­liz­ing Ani­ma­tion

The Dune Graph­ic Nov­el: Expe­ri­ence Frank Herbert’s Epic Sci-Fi Saga as You’ve Nev­er Seen It Before

Ale­jan­dro Jodorowsky’s 82 Com­mand­ments For Liv­ing

Watch the First Trail­er for Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s Adap­ta­tion of Frank Herbert’s Clas­sic Sci-Fi Nov­el

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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