'Dune' Cinematographer Had To "Forget" 'Star Wars', Says Part One Is "A Fully Standalone Epic"

Greig Fraser, the cinematographer behind movies like Let Me In, Killing Them Softly, Foxcatcher, and Zero Dark Thirty, is heading from one space epic to another: he's the man behind the camera for director Denis Villeneuve's highly-anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi story Dune. Fraser was the director of photography for both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Mandalorian, but in a new interview, he spoke about having to "forget a lot of Star Wars" when embarking on the Dune experience, and he promises that the first movie in Villeneuve's two-movie vision for Dune is "a fully standalone epic". Read some of his quotes below.

Fraser spoke with our pals at Collider as part of their Collider Connected series, and while he didn't divulge too much about the specifics of Villeneuve's upcoming movie, he did talk about jumping on board in the wake of spending so much time in the Star Wars galaxy.

"It was quite fun because I had to forget a lot of Star Wars when I was making Dune," he said. "It wasn't hard, though. Denis and I spoke clearly about how the film should look and should feel, and the formats and this and that, so it was not hard to swerve and change lanes. There were some similarities like the deserts. I mean listen, ultimately I'm positive George Lucas was inspired by Dune when he made Star Wars. I don't know if that's sacrilegious to talk about, but there are a lot of similarities in some areas, so you could tell he was definitely influenced by that. So I had to be careful doing both [Dune and The Mandalorian] and not to repeat myself."

Sounds like Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides character won't be wistfully gazing at twin suns setting over the Arrakis horizon. (Arrakis is the sand planet he finds himself on early in the story.) But perhaps even more interestingly, Fraser chimed in with an answer to a question some have had about Dune: will this movie feel like part one of a two-part story? According to him, the answer is no.

"It's a fully formed story in itself with places to go. It's a fully standalone epic film that people will get a lot out of when they see it...it was quite an adventure visually."

As someone who's read Herbert's novel, it seems like there's a natural point to split this story in two where the hero's journey might feel kinda-sorta complete...but I guess I can't really get into that without spoiling what happens, so I'll leave book readers with one word to speculate about the point I'm referencing: ornithopter.

Dune (part one) is currently slated to hit theaters on December 18, 2020.