Denis Villeneuve Hints at Dune: Part Three, Cites Dune Messiah as Source Material

Dune Part Three rumors Denis Villeneuve
Dune, Denis Villeneuve

Despite Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two being delayed to 2024 this week, the acclaimed director is already teasing the possibility of a Dune: Part Three movie sourced from Frank Herbert’s 1969 novel Dune Messiah.

Villeneuve spoke about the possibilities of closing the franchise with a third movie, speaking with Empire Magazine and noting that “there are words on paper” in regard to a script. This is the first sign of a potential trilogy for the Dune films, as the first two installments were derived from the original Herbert novel from 1965.

Denis Villeneuve went on to mention that “Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero. Which is not what he wanted to do. My adaptation is closer to his idea that it’s actually a warning.”

Dune Messiah is often thought of as the closing mark for this story, as the future books, as Villeneuve puts it, are too “esoteric” to reasonably be adapted for the big screen. It’s unclear if Villeneuve would immediately start work on the third movie or take a break to work on other projects.

Empire writes that the prospects of Dune: Part Three rely heavily on the financial success of Dune: Part Two, but I can’t see a scenario that Villeneuve doesn’t get to complete his trilogy unless the sequel bombs at the box office badly. The auteur has built enough equity over the years to get projects funded, and it’s hard to imagine that he would struggle to get the next movie off the ground.

There is certainly a fraction of his fanbase that would like to see him work on more original ideas than using 6ish years of his career working with one franchise. I’ve been a fan of most of his work, but some of the science fiction elements in his movies have fallen to the wayside for me. Blade Runner 2049 is a snooze fest, and Arrival didn’t fully click with me when I saw it years ago (although I admittedly haven’t seen it since).

I think he’s an incredibly talented filmmaker when capturing images closer to the real world, like the frantically structured Sicario, or impending sense of doom looming over Prisoners. He’s got a keen sense of portraying what drives and motivates people, which I think he occasionally struggles to do when working with big set pieces and design.

With that being said, I still love Dune and feel like it’s his first genre piece to land for me. The visual effects are otherworldly, and the cast moves flawlessly through some difficult source material to render on screen. I can’t wait to see that expanded in Dune: Part Two with the additions of Florence Pugh, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken.

Unfortunately, Dune: Part Two was delayed to 2024 this past week amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes. It’s unclear how this would effect the effect when a new Dune film would be greenlit, but expect it to be some time.

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