Spicy: ‘Dune’ sequel officially happening

Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” opens and closes with promises for more. Hidden from viewers throughout the film’s marketing campaign was its actual title, “Dune: Part One,” and the movie ultimately concludes with a forceful vow: “This is only the beginning,” says Zendaya’s Chani before the credits begin to roll. 

On Tuesday, finally, Villeneuve and the film’s fans received word that the remainder of Frank Herbert’s story will be told on the big screen: Warner Bros. and Legendary have officially given a green light to “Dune: Part Two,” which will reunite Villeneuve with Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, and the other members of the cast who survived the first installment. The new film will arrive in theaters in October 2023.

 

“Dune” has received largely strong reviews, stands as one of the year’s most high-profile awards contenders, and earned a robust $40 million at the box office last weekend despite its availability on HBO Max. It’s those factors that likely played a key role in giving Warner Bros. confidence in its future prospects — but it seems like the studio had made this decision even before the film’s official opening sales were counted. “Will we have a sequel to ‘Dune’? If you watch the movie you see how it ends. I think you pretty much know the answer to that,” WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff told Deadline last week.

But despite that pre-release confidence, Villeneuve remained coy about the sequel’s potential. “I cannot talk about the current status. But I’m very optimistic,” he told Vulture before release. “It’s getting great reviews, and Warner Bros. and Legendary love the movie. Everybody is wishing to make a second one. If there’s enough enthusiasm at the box office, it will happen.”

Villeneuve initially pitched “Dune” to Warner Bros. executives as two films, and he told Christopher Nolan in an interview this month that the studio was excited about the concept. But despite the interest, executives didn’t push Villeneuve to shoot the two films at the same time. “I should say that you’re always as good as your last movie, and you bring that reputation to table,” he said. “And I think that ‘Blade Runner 2049’ just wasn’t a major blockbuster success, so they were a bit cold at the idea of investing in two movies right away.”

Still, although shooting just the first part of the movie left the prospect of the second film in limbo, Villeneuve said he was pleased with how it turned out. “I would have died,” he told Nolan. “I’m so happy that we didn’t. I would not have had the stamina to do that. Frankly, the truth is that I’m grateful that it happened this way.”

“Dune” is in theaters now and available on HBO Max.

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