The new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune is sure to become a towering achievement in the genre. Given how expensive it was to make and how much is riding on its success at the box office, it’s not surprising that the studio has released a number of movie posters for both the domestic and international markets, all of which focus on particular aspects of the movie that will appeal to different audiences.

While some focus on characters, others show the broader picture, emphasizing their relationships to one another and to the spectacle the film contains.

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Full Cast Poster (United States)

The full-cast poster is one of the more traditional models, but for that reason it’s often very effective at showing potential audiences the full star power that a particular movie has at its disposal. That is certainly the case with this poster, which shows the viewer the various heroes that will be involved in the drama between House Atreides and House Harkonnen.

Even more notably, it also features Paul not once but twice, showing him as both a central dramatic character among others and also as the lonely hero forced to walk his path alone.

Baron Harkonnen Poster (United States)

Baron Harkonnen is one of the most sinister and evil villains in science fiction, capable of actions that others find reprehensible but which he views as necessary to ascend to the power he feels he deserves. This poster does an excellent job of focusing on those aspects of his personality that make him so frightening. His pale, ghostly flesh is juxtaposed to his glimmering eyes, and the metal sheathing on his fingers suggests a certain iron coldness to his personality, one that allows him to be cruel with impunity.

It Begins Poster (Australia)

By this point, it’s no secret that Dune is but the first half of a planned two-movie production, and so it makes sense that some of the posters would emphasize that this is but the beginning of something grand. This Australian poster also works because it shows the heroes of the story – including Paul and Chani, who will go on to become lovers – gazing off into the distance, almost as if they are looking into a future that is both uncertain and yet full of unrealized potential.

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Giant Sandworm Poster (China)

The giant sandworms of Dune are one of its most remarkable features, and they pose a grave danger to anyone foolish enough to wander out onto the sands. This poster brings out the threat that they pose, with an enormous sandworm looming up out of the dunes, ready to devour the figures that are desperately trying to flee from its gaping maw.

This suggests that, aside from its epic pretensions, the movie will also be full of excitement and thrills as various characters encounter these giant monsters.

Giant Dune Poster (United States)

Though the planet’s name is technically Arrakis, it is commonly known as Dune because it is almost entirely desert. It makes sense, then, that most of the posters would try to convey something of the planet’s nature, and that is amply on display with this poster, which evokes some of the most beautiful scenes in the Dune movie. With its golden and orange hues, it ably captures the bleak surface of Arrakis and, just as importantly, it also shows a figure perched high on the sand dune (presumably Paul) poised to take on the future destiny that is his alone.

Cast and Explosions and Sandworms Poster (China)

A very expensive blockbuster like Dune is going to rely not just on the United States for its profit, but China as well. In order to convey to viewers just what they are going to get out of this movie, this poster emphasizes not just the key characters – Paul, Chani, Duncan Idaho, even Beast Rabban – but also the sandworms and explosions that will be a key part of its story.

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In doing so, it sends the clear message that this is going to be a blockbuster science fiction story that also emphasizes its human characters.

Duke Leto Poster (United States)

Duke Leto is sure to go down in movie history as one of Oscar Isaac’s best roles, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s a noble and likable man, someone who is willing to put his duty – to his family and to the empire – in front of even his own safety. This poster ably captures so much of what makes Leto a great hero in the annals of science fiction, with his shock of graying hair and his strong features, even as his downcast eyes suggest that he knows the dreadful future that awaits him.

Lady Jessica Poster (United States)

Lady Jessica is also one of the most important characters in the movie, since she is Paul’s mother and one of his most capable and loyal counselors and protectors. As this picture shows, she is also a member of the Bene Gesserit, meaning that some of her motivations may be a little opaque. Here, she is also gazing off into the distance, with a determined look in her eyes, and the fact that she is lifting her veil contrasts her to the more dogmatic and ruthless Gaius Helen Mohiam.

Gaius Helen Mohiam Poster (United States)

Like Jessica, Gaius Helen Mohiam is a member of the Bene Gesserit, but her motives are far more mysterious, and she is far more ruthless. In this great poster, she gazes off into the distance, but the veil she wears keeps much of her face shrouded in secrecy (her costume is one of the best in the Dune movie). As a result, it’s hard to say exactly what she’s thinking or planning on doing, which is very much in keeping with her actions in the movie itself. Like the Baron, she is a figure of menace and deceit.

Eclipse (US)

A key plot point in Dune is that there is a crisis coming to the universe, and that this movie audiences will get to see how it all began. Thus, the eclipse that appears on this poster is quite evocative. It suggests that this will be a key event that will reshape the order of events for years to come, just as an eclipse was once believed to herald a time of great change. Its relative simplicity and elegance heighten its dramatic impact.

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