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'Dune' movie skins land in Fortnite because the Spice must flow on the island

Just in time for the new "Dune" release in theaters, you can play protagonist Paul Atreides or his co-star, Chani, in Fortnite.

Skins portraying the two science fiction franchise stars dropped in the battle royale game's shop Tuesday (Oct. 19), Fortnite creator Epic Games said in a blog post.

"Destined to change the course of the universe, Paul Atreides weaves his own destiny and now, with Chani at his side, their travels take them to the heart of a battle they had not prepared for… a battle on the Fortnite Island," Epic Games said in the post.

It will only be a few more days — Friday (Oct. 23) — when the Denis Villeneuve-made "Dune" arrives in theaters for a widely anticipated United States release, long delayed by quarantine protocols associated with the coronavirus pandemic that erupted in 2020. The film stars Timothée Chalamet as Atreides and Zendaya as Chani.

Related: Fortnite recruits Space Chimp J.B. Chimpanski for Chapter 2, Season 8

Paul Atreides and Chani from "Dune" have landed in Fortnite. (Image credit: Epic Games)

Key elements of the Fortnite set include outfits for Paul Atreides and Chani, along with several accessories. Here's the official Epic Games description of the accessories for Fortnite fans, full of the requisite references to the "Dune" universe.

Pricing hasn't been released yet, but Epic Games notes that some of these items may be purchased in bundles. Epic has its players purchase in V-bucks, a Fortnite currency in which 1,000 V-bucks equates to roughly $9.99 USD.

For Fortnite fans, the "Dune" intersection follows numerous other space references in recent years, including things like ancient astronaut quests or a map-swallowing black hole. This summer, a UFO-themed season concluded in September with the alien ship dramatically crashing

Even the new season has several space references, including a chimp called J.B. Chimpanski. There might be an Ariana Grande-themed space skin coming soon, too, if the last few seconds of this Epic Games video is any indication.

Related: Best Nerf guns: Nerf Elite, Mega, Fortnite and Halo blasters

The sprawling "Dune" universe has inspired many artistic interpretations over the decades, stemming from the 1965 science fiction novel "Dune" and sequels by Frank Herbert. Amid comic books, board games and television mini-series, the most famous adaptation was a widely panned 1984 movie with an appearance from, of all people, the (shirtless) British singer-songwriter Sting — then fronting The Police, a 1970s and 1980s new wave rock band.

Early reviews of Villeneuve's "Dune" from critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and industry magazine Variety, however, have positive (but not glowing) prospects for the new version. And American box offices are hoping that audiences will enjoy it, given the tough times for the industry since periodic shutdowns and ongoing capacity limits began in March 2020, in most areas.

Fans of gaming will likely appreciate how far the industry has evolved since the last "Dune" of 1984, when most people were enjoying new titles through arcades or early consoles such as the Sega SG-1000 or the Nintendo Entertainment System. Dial-up Internet was not available in most American homes, handheld video game devices were in their infancy, and graphics, network speeds and processing were a fraction of the capabilities that kids enjoy today.

Incidentally, though, "Dune" has been interpreted in video games a few times over the years. There was a successful desktop version by Cryo Interactive, "Dune", in 1992. But a follow-up in 2001, "Frank Herbert's Dune", came out to poor reviews and Cryo filed for bankruptcy shortly after the latter game was released. A now defunct company called DreamCatcher Interactive Inc. purchased some of Cryo's assets.

There's no firm news yet about a new "Dune" video game, although industry publications such as GameRant have speculated on who might be best to make one and how the franchise could be best interpreted on modern devices.

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.