For a somewhat risky project that isn’t guaranteed a sequel by any means, Denis Villenueve’s Dune has been generating plenty of sequel chatter. The director may have blasted Warner Bros. for killing the franchise before it had even started when the studio announced the sci-fi epic for a day-and-date HBO Max debut, but as we draw closer to release the filmmaker has sounded increasingly optimistic about a second installment.
Admittedly, the Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 architect concedes that Dune has to make decent money at the box office before the money men will even consider handing him another budget in the region of the first installment’s $165 million, even if he already knows that Zendaya’s Chani will be taking center stage next time out.
Villenueve also compared the idea of watching Dune at home to riding a speedboat in the bathtub, so what we really need is for the reviews to match the promise of the trailers and ensure that one way or another, the sprawling cosmic saga finds the biggest possible audience.
Not to be deterred, in a new interview Villenueve revealed that he’s already toying with the idea of adapting Frank Herbert’s sequel novel into a standalone blockbuster, turning Dune into a trilogy of epic proportions.
“There is Dune’s second book, The Messiah of Dune, which could make an extraordinary film. I always saw that there could be a trilogy; after that, we’ll see. It’s years of work; I can’t think of going further than that.”
One crew member described the project as having the potential to be this generation’s The Lord of the Rings, and while those are lofty aspirations, if Dune even comes anywhere close to finding the same levels of success as Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring did 20 years ago, then we might just get another two movies out of the deal.