For anyone who doesn’t know, the new adaptation of Dune is really only half a story. It was always Denis Villeneuve’s plan to tell the epic, sprawling sci-fi tale in the fullest way, and similar to Peter Jackson’s approach to Lord of The Rings, that means multiple movies. However, in this case, only the first part has been made, and whether we get to see the rest will solely depend on how well the this movie does.
Considering the mixed reviews, there is a small shadow of doubt over whether the story will have its conclusion told on screen or not. One person who has no doubt that Part Two will be greenlit is director Villeneuve, and moreover, he believes that they will be good to go next year.
“I would say that I would be fairly ready to go quite quickly now,” Denis Villeneuve told io9/Gizmodo, before elaborating. “Quickly in [terms of] a movie of that size. You still need to make sets and costumes, we are talking about months….But if there’s enthusiasm and the movie is greenlit, sooner than later I will say that I will be ready to shoot 2022 for sure…I am ready to go and I would say that I would love to bring it to the screen as soon as possible.”
Villeneuve has always had faith in his vision, and stated in a previous interview, “it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have Dune Part Two.” According to the director, Warner Bros. and Legendary were both fully behind the entire project, but with so many anomalies currently hanging around the global box office, it is unclear just who well the movie will need to do to get that go ahead. Also to be factored into the already tricky calculation is the Day and Date release strategy, which will see the movie arriving on HBO Max at the same time.
Speaking in a previous issue of Total Film, Villeneuve said, “I’m writing [Part Two] now, and I feel like I’m eight years old again. That’s very uncommon for me. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it where I’m watching one of my movies, and I have a moment of deep gratitude, of deep joy, and I say, ‘Thank you, life, for having allowed me to bring that to the screen.’ [laughs] I don’t know how other people will feel about it. But me? Denis Villeneuve when he was 14 years old? Thank you.”
It is clear that what constituted as a hit prior to the pandemic and now are two different things. Godzilla vs Kong ended up taking over $465 million globally and instantly stirred talk of the next installment, while The Suicide Squad has so far picked up around $150 and is also being heralded as a hit. Based on these figures, it seems that even with a few dubious reviews, Dune would have to do pretty dismally for Villeneuve’s work on the Part Two to have been a waste of time.
Dune had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week, and goes on general cinema release/HBO Max streaming on October 22.