According to Deadline, Paramount’s option to turn Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ into a major franchise has ended with the studio opting to not renew. After four years and numerous scripts and directors, rights holder Richard P. Rubinstein and Paramount couldn’t come to terms on the film franchise.

Rubinstein said “Paramount’s option has expired and we couldn’t reach an agreement. I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet. Right now, Dune has no commitments or attachments.” All that’s needed is the 100 million or so production budget to get things started.

Considered the biggest-selling science fiction book ever, ‘Dune’ has won science fiction’s Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary fiefdoms are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and the heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the “spice” melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe. The story explores the complex and multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the Empire confront each other for control of Arrakis and its “spice”.

In 1984, director David Lynch created an almost three-hour long film version of the book that is both hated (by the director as well) and has achieved a cult-like status. More suited to a mini-series or series of films ala ‘Harry Potter’, in 2000 and 2003 the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was then known) produced two successful mini-series.

Herbert wrote five sequels to the original ‘Dune’ novel and the late author’s son, Brian Herbert working with Kevin J. Anderson, have also written a number of prequel and sequel novels.