Everything We Know About Dune 2 and Denis Villeneuve’s Plan’s for the Dune Sequel

Everything We Know About <em>Dune 2</em> and Denis Villeneuve’s Plan’s for the <em>Dune</em> Sequel

Warning: the following contains spoilers for the first Dune film.

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which premiered early and, for the director, a bit bitterly on HBO Max this week alongside its theatrical release, is not the first attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s novel to life. After a failed attempt in 1973, director Alejandro Jodorowsky tried his hand at an adaptation, which resulted in a phonebook-sized script, a potential 14-hour long runtime, and, ultimately, another failure to launch. It then went to Ridley Scott. And then to David Lynch, where it was finally adapted, uninspiringly, in 1984.

Scott had abandoned the project reportedly after finding the storyline to be too large for a single film. This insight would prove portentous for Lynch’s attempt at a single movie. The only decent adaptation before Villeneuve’s attempt remains a three-part miniseries in 2000. The lesson learned is clear: to adapt Dune, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Villeneuve, well aware of this fact, has long spoken of his recent Dune adaptation as only part 1 of a larger project. Initially, the filmmaker wanted to shoot the entire story at once, editing into two installments only after filming. In an interview with Variety, he discussed the intention: “I wanted at the beginning to do the two parts simultaneously. For several reasons, it didn’t happen, and I agreed to the challenge of making part one and then wait to see if the movie rings enough enthusiasm.”

Instead of shooting double the material, Villeneuve had to film one movie and then await approval for the next. Because the follow-up was never guaranteed, Villeneuve inherited the added pressure of making Dune complete in itself—in case Dune 2, like so many other Dune projects, failed to take off.

“As I was doing the first part, I really put all my passion into it, in case it would be the only one,” he said. “But I’m optimistic.”

Warner Brothers CEO Ann Sarnoff’s recent interviews are also encouraging. In an interview with Deadline, Sarnoff coyly responded to questions about Dune 2. “Will we have a sequel to ‘Dune?’ If you watch the movie you see how it ends,” Sarnoff said. “I think you pretty much know the answer to that.”

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Warner Bros.

When is Dune 2 coming out?

Villeneuve is currently awaiting official approval from Warner Bros. He says, however, he’s ready to go.

“If ever there’s enthusiasm and the movie is green lit sooner than later, I will say that I will be ready to shoot in 2022, for sure. 2022, for sure. I would love to, because I am ready to go, and I will say that I would love to bring it to the screen as soon as possible.”

The budget for the first film was $165 million, which seems astronomical but is, in fact, far less than most recent Marvel and Disney films. (The budget for Avengers: Infinity War was over $300 million.)

All will likely depend on box office and streaming numbers. However, some sources say Warner Bros. has already approved the project. We should know more in the coming weeks.

What will Dune 2 be about?

Dune leaves us on Arrakis, just over halfway through the events depicted in Herbert’s first novel. There are still plenty of new characters to meet, battles to be fought, and crysknives to spill precious liquid.

What About that Dune TV Show?

Even before Dun finished filming, WarnerMedia ordered Dune: The Sisterhood, a television series focusing on the Bene Gesserit, an order of women who possess telekinetic-like power and act as puppeteers and kingmakers in the universe’s political orders.

Villeneuve will reportedly direct the first episode.

“The Bene Gesserit have always been fascinating to me,” he said in an interview with Variety. “Focusing a series around that powerful order of women seemed not only relevant and inspiring but a dynamic setting for the television series.”

The series isn’t expected until 2022 or later. It will premiere on HBO Max.

Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine. 

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