The Dune franchise began with Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, simply titled Dune. Although famously refused by several publishers, in part because of its long length and esoteric story, the novel would go on to exert a profound influence over science fiction.
Herbert followed the novel with five sequels (in 1969, 1976, 1981, 1984, and 1985) before his death on 11 February 1986. The first novel was adapted as a big-budget movie, directed by David Lynch and released in 1984. Although it flopped at the box office, it helped spur interest in the books and the rapid publication of Herbert’s final two Dune novels.
For 15 years after Herbert’s death, the franchise languished. Beginning in 1999, Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert collaborated with sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson on new Dune novels, beginning with a three-novel prequel to the original Dune. Titled “Prelude to Dune,” the three novels were released annually from 1999-2001. During this time, the Sci Fi Channel broadcast, in late 2000, a new mini-series adaptation of Dune.
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson then began an even earlier three-novel prequel, titled “Legends of Dune” and released annually (without a break from the earlier prequel trilogy) from 2002-2004. With six books in six years, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson had authored as many Dune books as Frank Herbert himself. During this time, the Sci Fi Channel produced a mini-series sequel to its 2000 production, combining material from Herbert’s second and third novels under the title Children of Dune, broadcast in early 2003.
The book series’s 2005 offering, The Road to Dune, was a companion to the series and included Spice Planet, an alternate version of the original Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson based upon Frank Herbert’s original outline for the novel. For 2006 and 2007, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson offered two novels (sometimes called “Dune 7″) that concluded, based on notes left by Frank Herbert, the storylines that Frank Herbert’s final novel had left unfinished.
In 2008, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson began a new series of four books, titled “Heroes of Dune,” focusing on particular characters and taking place between Frank Herbert’s original novels. Only the first two books were published, in 2008 and 2009, before the series went on hiatus, after 11 annual books. Although Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson planned to return to the series, they announced that they would first complete a new prequel trilogy, a sequel to “Legends of Dune.” That trilogy was published in 2012, 2014, and 2016.
While the Dune franchise is best remembered for Frank Herbert’s original six novels, especially his first three, the Dune series is largely a series of books authored by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson in the first decade of the 2000s.