Denis Villeneuve: Dune Messiah screenplay is “almost finished” (Dune: Part Three)

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, Chiabella James
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, Chiabella James /

Dune: Part Two is shaping up to be one of 2024’s first big moviegoing events. Originally the follow-up to Denis Villeneuve’s hit Dune movie was scheduled for release this fall, but was pushed back into the new year so that stars like Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and the rest of the cast could help promote it once the Hollywood actors strike ended. Few movies these days have a cast as star-studded as Dune, so it’d be madness not to take advantage of that to build hype.

Everyone wants this film to be a worthy follow-up to the first, and none moreso than director Denis Villeneuve. Dune: Part One only adapted the first half of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 science fiction novel, ending with young Paul Atriedes (Chalamet) and his mother Lady Jessica (Ferguson) going into hiding among the native Fremen people of Arrakis following a coup which unseated their family from power. Part Two is set to cover the rest of the book, with Paul rising up to become a prophesied leader to the Fremen and lead them to war.

But that isn’t the end of the story; Villeneuve has made no secret about the fact that he wants to cap things off with a third movie adapted from Herbert’s second Dune book, Dune Messiah. That one is a more introspective story which explores the toll that being dubbed a living messiah takes on Paul. That movie hasn’t been greenlit yet, but Villeneuve confirmed at a South Korean press conference that the screenplay for Dune Messiah is “almost finished.”

Work is already being done on Dune: Part Three

“There’s the dream of making the addition of Dune Messiah, the third movie, that will be the end of the journey of Paul Atriedes,” Villeneuve said. “It would make absolute sense for me to do this movie. That movie is being written right now. The screenplay is almost finished, but it’s not finished. It will take a little time.”

Just for clarity, a screenplay is essentially one step above a script; in addition to dialogue, it often also includes important production information related to the scenes. I doubt Villeneuve is using this word on accident. That means we’re likely past the initial story drafting phase for Dune Messiah and that Villeneuve is already hammering out the details.

That bit of extra time that Villeneuve said it will take to finish off the Dune Messiah screenplay might be a welcome break for him. According to the director “there was no gap” between working on the first and second film. He doesn’t want to rush right into the third. “I don’t know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis,” he said. “I might make a detour before just to go away from the sun. For my mental sanity I might do something in between, but my dream would be to go a last time on this planet that I love.”

Of course, whether we ultimately get to see Dune Messiah in theaters probably depends on how Dune: Part Two does at the box office. Villeneuve promises that Dune: Part Two is “much better” than the first film.

“For me, this film is much better than Part One,” Villeneuve said. “There’s something more alive in it. There’s a relationship to the characters. I was trying to reach for an intensity and a quality of emotions that I didn’t reach with Part One and that I did reach with Part Two. I’m not saying the film is perfect, but I’m much more happy with Part Two than I was with Part One. I can not wait to share it with the fans and the moviegoers.”

Dune: Part Two has shifted release dates multiple times; the latest move was just announced last month, when the date was bumped up by two weeks, from March 15, 2024 to March 1, 2024. As slippery as a sandworm are Dune release dates. Let’s hope this one sticks, because I need this movie as soon as possible.

dark. Next. George R.R. Martin: House of the Dragon season 2 is “powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching”

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h/t Yahoo! Movies