Denis Villeneuve wants a Dune movie trilogy that includes Dune: Messiah

Warner Bros. and Denis Villeneuve are taking a big swing with Dune, an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s hugely influential 1965 sci-fi novel. With an impressive cast, a huge budget, and Villeneuve’s steady hand at the wheel, the movie is looking good:

But there’s a catch: the movie only adapts the first half of Herbert’s book, and Warner Bros. hasn’t officially greenlit a follow-up, although Villeneuve is hopeful it’ll happen. What’s more, he sees an even bigger future for the franchise: “There is Dune’s second book, The Messiah of Dune, which could make an extraordinary film,” he explained to CBC Radio Canada. “I always saw that there could be a trilogy; after that, we’ll see. It’s years of work; I can’t think of going further than that.”

For the uninitiated, Herbert originally wrote six Dune novels:

  • Dune (1965)
  • Dune Messiah (1969)
  • Children of Dune (1976)
  • God Emperor of Dune (1981)
  • Heretics of Dune (1984)
  • Chapterhouse Dune (1985)

And then Herbert’s son Brian teamed up with author Kevin J. Anderson to write several more Dune books after his father died — they’re still going on to this day — but these are the canonical six, so to speak.

Dune and Dune Messiah do indeed make a nice matched set as they both center around the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet). Children of Dune is also set pretty close in time to the first two books; I think if Warner Bros. can reach that book at least, they’ll have a successful franchise. But will they? It depends on how well the first Dune movie does.

Why isn’t Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the new Dune movie?

Villeneuve also talked about needing to cut things from the first movie since the book is so dense; but don’t worry: characters like the conniving Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen will still show up in Part 2, should it be made. “The book is so rich,” Villeneuve said. “There are so many fantastic details about the different cultures. In order to preserve and have the time to bring that to the screen, we had to make important choices.”

Dune comes out in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22.

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h/t Indiewire