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Crypto Investors Plot Animated Series Based on Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune’ Ideas — Without ‘Dune’ IP

The group of investors, known as Spice DAO, recently spent €2.66M on a book of the auteur's "Dune" concept art.

Jodorowsky's Dune

“Jodorowsky’s Dune”

David John Cavallo/Sony Pictures Classics

A collective of cryptocurrency investors recently attracted some online ridicule after spending €2.66M on one of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s story bibles detailing the director’s ambitious vision for his unmade “Dune” movie. The organization known as Spice DAO (DAO is short for “decentralized autonomous organization”) recently detailed their plans for the purchase. Now that they own a copy of the book, which Jodorowsky used to pitch his vision to studios, the group announced plans to “make the book public (to the extent permitted by law)” and “produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service.” It was the latter idea that attracted attention, with critics accusing the investors of falsely believing that they own the rights to “Dune” because they purchased the Hollywood artifact.

The actual story is more complicated. Spice DAO has acknowledged that it does not own any of the “Dune” characters, saying “while we do not own the IP to Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, we are uniquely positioned with the opportunity to create our own addition to the genre as an homage to the giants who came before us.” Instead, they appear to be planning to develop an original property based on Jodorowsky’s unique aesthetic vision for his “Dune” movie.

Much has been made of Jodorowsky’s ambitious plans for a “Dune” adaptation, which was set to star Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Orson Welles with original music by Pink Floyd. “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” a 2013 documentary directed by Frank Pavich, attracted newfound attention to what was already one of Hollywood’s legendary unmade projects. Now that Spice DAO has possession of all of his concept art, much of which was previously unseen, they could theoretically use it as a jumping off point for their own show.

A DAO is a form of company that seeks to eliminate human error by automating decision making through the use of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Its investors consist of “Dune”-loving crypto fans who believe in the group’s automated transaction processes and commit money to help finance Spice DAO’s creative goals. While they do not need to own Jodorowsky’s bible to be influenced by his vision, the flashy purchase could attract publicity and investors to help get future projects off the ground.

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