A strange coincidence when you are writing about someone, up against a deadline, and they die. No time to go back and make it a memorial, no point in going forward with what would now be an obsolete piece. A stranger coincidence in that the now never-completed post was to be about a never-completed project of Jean "Moebius" Giraud, the legendarily failed film collaboration with Alejandro Jodorowsky: Dune.
What follows is a free-imagining of a re-imaginging of the negated future of that impossible past:
For those unaware, in 1975, Jodorowsky, with intention of making the ultimate psychedelic science fiction film of all time, assembled dream team of conceptual artists and locked them together in a grand and extravagant Paris hotel suite for eighteen months to complete pre-production, at least until the film's financiers went mysteriously missing.
Moebius, "fastest draw in the West," created 5,000 obsessively detailed storyboards for the projected twelve-hour Dune narrative:
H. R. Giger, future goth icon and designer of Alien, was responsible for conceiveing the Planet of Death:
Chris Foss, would design the space ships, between full-body dips in liquid LSD and trips to the modular synth banks:
Dan O'Bannon was drafted in to coach the actors, consult on special effects, and also to compose the poetic song cycle of the Desert People:
Pink Floyd were hired to perform the music (though parts of the aborted soundtrack would end up on studio albums The Wall and Final Cut:
Mick Jagger was to play the youthful space prophet, Paul:
David Carradine would lead the nomadic, freedom-fighting Dune Warriors:
Orson Welles took on the role of Arch-Baron of the water planet Arkadin:
Salvador Dail, with a contractual fee of $100,000 an hour, was to play the flickering hologram, God Emperor of The Universe:
Gloria Swanson was to be the Galactic Witch Queen of the Kwizactz Haderach:
But it was never to be. In this short documentary, Jodorowsky explains the deterioration of affairs in the creative team leading to the project's demise:
The crew would disperse and regroup later to produce such sci-fi classics as Blade Runner, Krull and The Dark Crystal, while Star Wars refusenik David Lynch would eventually ressurect the project in 1983, however on his own terms. Lynch's version had its own troubled production history, with his original, completely dialogue-free cut rejected by the Di Laurentis organization. Lynch had intended for his Dune to be the world's first completely telepathic motion picture. The only surviving excerpt of this "director's cut" can be seen here.
Television also had its way with the Dune franchise, producing twelve seasons of the extended series, though these too would come to failure, with the final season The Excommunicated Sandworms of Dune reduced to cheap "webisodes", cancelled short of completion, due to not recieving enough "hits":
Now, in 2012, efforts are underway to finally complete Moebius and Jodorowsky's original version of Dune. Witch House pioneers Mater Suspiria Vision, under tutelage of occult film archivist Cosmotropia de Xam, have painstaking been restoring, frame-by-frame, the exceedingly rare surviving footage of the 1975 version, found in a storage shed outside the O'Bannon compound in Portsmouth:
Though production is unlikley to cease before 2013, the inevitable "teaser trailer" is already making the rounds virally: