Dune 2 director Denis Villeneuve got Lego ornithopter early

Just like us, Dune Part Two director Denis Villeneuve says he's a huge Lego fan - and loves the new Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter.

Denis Villeneuve Dune 2 Lego Ornithopter - Wikimedia Commons image showing director Denis Villeneuve answering panel questions at a Comic Con, overlaid with official Lego images of the Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter set, and the included minifigures of Dune characters

With the Dune Part Two release date of March 1 fast approaching, the movie’s director Denis Villeneuve has told pop culture site Gizmodo io9 his movie-making career has its roots in creative Lego building – and revealed that he got to build a prototype of the new Lego Dune Ornithopter two months early, the lucky devil.

We’ve made our feelings about the new Lego Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter perfectly clear – it’s our number one favorite upcoming Lego sets of 2024, and seemingly on a path to join the ranks of the all-time best Lego sets for adults.

And it’s good to hear we’re not alone: Denis Villeneuve, the director behind the new Dune movie trilogy (as well as 2015 cult classic Sicario, and sci-fi hits like 2016’s Arrival and 2017’s Blade Runner 2049) is reportedly right there with us.

In an interview with Gizmodo io9’s Germain Lussier, published on Tuesday, Villeneuve said he suspected he’d only got into the movie business because of his childhood Lego-building hobby – and that he’d become very excited when he learned about the upcoming, $165, 1,369-piece Dune Ornithopter Lego set.

Villeneuve tells io9 he saw the set’s announcement in October 2023, but was initially disappointed to hear that even he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on the iconic, bug-winged aircraft model before its planned release in early 2024.

But the director says got a festive surprise when a prototype version of the set was delivered to him early, in time for Christmas 2023. He gladly confirms in the io9 interview that building the ornithopter was the excellent experience we knew it would be.

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Blessedly, the set is now available to all of us, as it was released for sale on February 1. As Wargamer gleefully reported on October 25, the set comes complete with eight brand new Lego minifigures:  Paul Atreides, Chani, Lady Jessica Atreides, Duke Leto Atreides, Gurney Halleck, Dr. Liet Kynes, Duncan Idaho – and the pièce de résistance: a big tall wobbly Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, representing the grotesque villain held aloft on gravitic suspensors, his long black robe drifting eerily beneath him.

Denis Villeneuve Dune 2 Lego Ornithopter - Lego store image showing the eight Dune minifigures included with the set, overlaid on a blue hex pattern background

Well, thanks to io9’s illustrious reporting, we now know Stellan Skarsgård – the actor who plays Harkonnen in the new movies – is just as taken with his character’s unique new Lego minifigure. io9’s Lussier reports Skarsgård belly-laughed when shown an image of the minifig, before confirming he liked it very much. That makes two of us, Stellan.

If you’re hungry for more Dune to tide you over in the weeks ’til the new movie comes out, Wargamer can help out – try our guide to the best Dune board games, or our interview with Francesco Nepitello, the designer of Dune: War for Arrakis – the forthcoming Dune war board game from CMON.

Alternatively, if flying barons and ornithopters aren’t your bag but you still love a brick, check out our lists of the biggest Lego sets and the most expensive Lego sets ever made.