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After much speculation over whether Denis Villeneuve would be able to continue his Dune adaptation on the big screen, Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment have officially green-lit the sequel. To be fair, though, it'll be less of a traditional follow-up and more of a second chapter that will hack off another sizable chunk of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel.
"This is only the beginning..." wrote the Legendary Instagram account, using a direct quote spoken by Chani (a member of the native Fremen of Arrakis, the character is played by Zendaya in this movie). "Thank you to those who have experienced @dunemovie so far, and those who are going in the days and weeks ahead. We're excited to continue the journey!"
Speaking with SYFY WIRE ahead of Dune Part 1's world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, Villeneuve discussed his approach to breaking up the sandworm-sized source material.
"I was feeling that there is a limit," he told us. "Where we end right now, I thought was the perfect way to feel a completed arc in this first part, and to keep enough stuff for the second one. And the beauty of making the movie in two parts is that there are some elements that I didn't explore in this first part that I will have the chance to explore in the second part."
If all goes according to plan, Villeneuve will get to cap off a trilogy that includes the second book in Herbert's original series, 1969's Dune Messiah. "As a filmmaker and as a screenwriter, I know how to do this," he explained. "When we decided to split the first novel in two, now we are at three movies. But those movies are very long to make, so for my mental sanity, I decided to just dream about three movies. After that, because I am a big fan of all the novels, I'll see where I am."
According to Empire Magazine, Part 2 hopes to ramp up production in 2022 with a tentative release window of October 2023.
Part 1 opened in theaters and on HBO Max this past weekend after it was delayed by a year by the COVID-19 pandemic. It brought in $40.1 million domestically and $47.4 million internationally for a worldwide opening of $87.5 million.
“Dune’s ability to entice movie fans to theaters to the tune of $40 million, while also available at home, shows not only the essential nature of the movie theater experience, but also the importance of a world class filmmaker’s big screen vision as a powerful draw to drive impressive movie theater revenue," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "Art — plus a undeniable return on investment — equals a green light for a sequel. A win win for the studio, the filmmakers, and the audience."