Before the release of Dune last year, there was concern from many quarters about how well Denis Villeneuve’s take on the Frank Herbert classic would go. The story was thought to be “unfilmable.” In the end, the movie proved many of the doubters wrong and left everyone asking one question: When’s the sequel?
Dune exceeded all expectations in terms of reception and box office takings, making $398.3 million worldwide and receiving plaudits from critics and viewers alike. The new adaptation has created a whole new sci-fi cinema franchise and finally done justice to the original work. Yet none of this was set in stone, with questions of whether there would be a sequel left hanging for months before and after the release.
Director Denis Villeneuve always intended for there to be a sequel, with Dune covering around half of the first novel. COVID-19 seemingly put that in jeopardy, and then there were the worries that a simultaneous release on HBO Max would hurt its performance.
In the end, the fears were unfounded, and the sequel, Dune: Part Two, was officially greenlit in October of last year.
Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Villeneuve revealed that work is well underway on scripting and design, with storyboarding just around the corner:
Right now, I’m in what you call ‘soft prep,’ meaning that we are finishing the screenplay. We’ll start storyboards soon. [Dune] Part 2 is being designed right now by [production designer] Patrice [Vermette]. It’s that beautiful part where it’s just dreaming, looking at the ceil. I and thinking about the movie. I love it. I mean, it’s like the moment where everything is possible before we have the shock of reality that will come.
Villeneuve has also been dropping plenty of hints about what fans can expect from Part Two, saying that the movie will be “a big spectacle.”
“Right now, the truth is that part one was there to create, to design, to build the foundation to this world. If ever such a thing as part two occurs, if I ever have the chance to do it, it’s going to be pure fun,” the director told IMDb last year. “Now the world is there; I don’t have to explain almost nothing. It’s just pure cinematic joy after this, so I hope I will have the chance to do it. In a strange way, Dune Part 1 is the appetizer, Dune Part 2 is the real meal.”
We already know that several cast members will be returning for Part Two, including Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides. Equally, after some criticism about her limited role in Part One, Zendaya will be returning as Chani and will play a much more significant part this time around.
Denis Villeneuve wants to make a Dune trilogy
Filming for Dune: Part Two is expected to begin on July 18, with Denis Villeneuve saying he hoped to be finished as soon as possible. The process is said to be a lot quicker this time given the crew’s experiences from Part One. “To go quickly in a movie of that size, you still need to make sets, costumes, so we are talking about months,” he told IGN last year.
And Villeneuve’s vision doesn’t just stop at another film, with the director already having thoughts about completing a trilogy. “I think Dune Messiah would be a beautiful film,” Villeneuve told Screen Daily. “And it would complete Paul Atreides’ journey. But I’m going one movie at a time. It’s so difficult, and I’m a bit lazy! But I think three movies is a possibility.”
Dune: Part Two will be released on October 20, 2023, and the movie will be an exclusive theatrical release.