Why Dune 3 Really Needs To Happen, According To Denis Villeneuve

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Written By Maya Cantina

Dune: Part Two, one of the most anticipated movies of 2024, isn’t even out yet, but director Denis Villeneuve already has his eyes set on the potential third chapter of the sci-fi epic.

Villeneuve’s 2021 film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s original 1965 tome features Timothée Chalamet as Prince Paul Atreides, the man who unites with the Fremen people in battle against the evil Harkonnen empire He’s leading a star-studded Dune cast that includes Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Dave Bautista, among others. The first movie was met with great success, and now fans can’t wait for Part 2…and I guess Part 3 too.

And while Denis’ Dune films were initially conceived as a two-part movie experience, there is the possibility of even more Dune movies, as the French-Canadian filmmaker recently revealed in a discussion with South Korean director Kim Han-min:

I’m working on four different screenplays — I know that Dune: Messiah will be one of them, I don’t know if it will be the next or the second next. My job was to try to keep the spirit of Frank Herbert alive as much as possible — the whole meaning of Dune becomes clear with Dune: Messiah.

Villeneuve is referencing Herbert’s 1969 sequel to Dune, which is the second in the series of six Dune novels. The upcoming film sequel (which will add the likes of Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Léa Seydoux and Christopher Walken to the ensemble cast), will still be following the on-page plot points of the first Dune book, so any big-screen treatment of Dune: Messiah will have to wait until a potential third movie. 

When prompted for details on the third movie, the filmmaker said: 

I’m writing the third movie so I cannot comment…me, when I’m writing something, I become very protective. The movie is not born yet, it’s like still in the womb. I’m trying to protect, it’s still in formation. I think it would be pretentious for me to start to talk [about it]…it’s a very good question but I’m shy to talk about it because I’m writing it.

The director did previously reveal to Empire magazine in August 2023 that making a Dune trilogy would be “the dream.” However, he said he likely wouldn’t continue with the Arrakis-set epic past Dune: Messiah, as he felt that Herbert’s books became too “esoteric” as the series went on. 

A third film, though, hinges on the theatrical success of the second one. Although, given how much the first Dune remake brought in at the box office — it earned $402 million against a budget of $165 million — we’d put money down that results for the much-anticipated threequel will be similarly lofty. 

If Dune: Part Three does officially get picked up, don’t expect as quick of a sequel release this time. Though the director noted that there was a tight turnaround between the first and second films, for his “mental sanity,” he wants to do another project before taking on more of Paul Atreides’ story. As he told South Korean press, per Variety

I don’t know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis. 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.

CinemaBlend will obviously keep you posted on any and all Dune: Part Three updates. In the meantime, you can count the days down to the release of Dune: Part Two, which is marked on the 2024 movie schedule for Friday, March 1. 

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