Not that you need us to remind you, but Dune was one of the biggest cinematic events to happen in 2021. The sci-fi epic, adapted from the book by Frank Herbert — starring the likes of Oscar Isaac, Timothée Chalamet, and Rebecca Ferguson — made over $400 million at the global box office despite premiering in the midst of the COVID pandemic, plus a day-and-date release on HBO Max withholding some percentage of box office returns. A second part was announced soon after Dune was released, and in a recent conversation with Collider’s Steven Weintraub, director Denis Villeneuve opened up on some of his future plans for the franchise.
First of all, he doesn’t like the word “sequel” to describe Dune: Part Two, set to release in October 2023. “It’s really like a second part,” he told us, continuing:
“It’s not like if I was doing another story or another moment. It’s really the second part of a bigger story, and I’m entirely 100% focused on that second part. I’m not someone that can multitask. I love to completely focus on one project at a time.”
While he’s clearly focused on making Part Two as great as he possibly can, that isn’t to say that ideas for a prospective threequel haven’t come into mind. Fans of the original Dune book series will know the second book well — Dune Messiah — which opens the story some years after the close of the first installment, and sees Chalamet’s character, Paul Atreides, as the now-emperor who has conquered most of the known universe. “Denis has talked seriously about making that film as well, as a conclusion of the trilogy,” Dune writer Jon Spaihts told The Playlist recently, which Villeneuve concurred to us:
“Now I could envision a third movie and to make the adaptation of Dune Messiah that will complete Paul Atreides’s story that I think would make sense. But each movie, those movies are monsters, and I can only do one at a time. If I survive Dune: Part Two, then I might do the Messiah.”
It’s important to note, though, that as far as Villeneuve told us, Messiah is a long way away — it’s far from in pre-production, or even the pre-planning stages. Why? Dune: Part Two takes precedence. In his words, Villeneuve explained, “When I start to think about that, I get tired. It’s too much. I need to focus on one project at a time, to be honest. But Part Three will be… I’m making sure that Part Three will be doable.”
Everyone expects Dune: Part Two to do great business at the box office come release in 2023, but after all, there’s always the chance that it doesn’t take on with audiences as much as its predecessor — which might well impact how viable the threequel is. Either way, let’s get Part Two out of the way first.
Dune: Part Two is set to hit theaters on October 20, 2023. The cast of the original Dune is expected to return, with new inclusions being mulled over as we speak. Look for more from Steve’s exclusive interview with Villeneuve soon.
It appears the ‘Black Widow’ star has found her next big franchise.
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