A website called Pajiba (beats me) is reporting that Peter Berg has left the new adaptation of Dune, and my sources confirm that he is in fact gone from the project. Berg, whose plate is extraordinarily full, has an opportunity to do some dream projects at Universal and something had to be sacrificed. That something was Muad’dib.

So who is on board? Pajiba says that Neil Marshall and Neill Blomkamp have both been contacted; I guess they’re working through the ‘Neil’ section of their Rolodex. If I were a betting man I would put money on this project now beginning to die a slow death unless someone with a bit of juice and a lot of passion came aboard. Dune is guaranteed to be pricey and it is not guaranteed to be a hit, a double whammy that studios shy away from in these recessionary days. It’s the Universal Slate of 2009 lesson.

Next up for Berg is Battleship and after that… there are a lot of possibilities, but Arrakis won’t be one of them.