Dune Sequel 'Ready To Go' For 2022 If Greenlit, Says Director Denis Villeneuve

"Dune" won't open in theaters and stream on HBO Max until October, but director Denis Villeneuve is ready to make the sequel, which will cover the other half of Frank Herbert's seminal science fiction novel. In an roundtable interview with Villeneuve attended by /Film, the "Arrival" and "Blade Runner: 2049" filmmaker shared that he's more than ready to get to work on "Dune: Part Two," assuming Warner Bros. signs off on it.

"When you make a movie in two parts, necessarily, when you do the first part you have to know what you're going to do in the second part," Villeneuve explained. "So I will say that I will be very ready to go quite quickly."

How quickly, you ask? Villeneuve acknowledged that a movie as large in scale as "Dune" would require a lot of work:

"To go quickly in a movie of that size you still need to make sets, costumes, so we are talking about months. But if ever there's enthusiasm and the movie is green lit sooner than later, I will say that I will be ready to shoot in 2022, for sure. 2022, for sure. I would love to because I am ready to go, and I will say that I would love to bring it to the screen as soon as possible."

More Movies Beyond Dune: Part Two?

Villeneuve has already done the hard work of deciding what to have in "Part One" and what to keep for "Part Two." Some of the concepts and characters he held back, such as Feyd-Rautha, may surprise "Dune" fans. His decision to hold certain things for the sequel, however, was driven by balancing the first movie's length with making sure key parts of the book got their due on screen. 

"I didn't want to sacrifice elements," he said when asked why certain parts were saved for "Part Two." "Where we end right now, I thought was the perfect way to feel ... we feel that Paul [the character played by Timothée Chalamet] has a completed arc, as a character for the first part. His relationship with his mother, we feel that there's something that is not a closure but something relevant there, and to keep enough stuff for the second one."

Villeneuve also unsurprisingly emphasized that "quality will be the priority," for "Part Two." Given that the first movie took up all of his time for over two years, we'll still likely have to wait a few years for the sequel, even if "Part Two" gets greenlit tomorrow.

While Villeneuve's focus is on launching "Dune: Part One" and hoping "Part Two" gets off the ground, his grand vision for adapting the "Dune" universe to the screen encompasses three films and two of Herbert's books:

"I envision the adaptation of two books, 'Dune' and 'Dune Messiah.' I said, 'Okay. As a filmmaker, as a screenwriter, I know how to do this.' So we decided to split the first novel in two. So now we have to have three movies. Those movies are very long to make. So for my mental sanity I decided to just dream about three movies, because I'm a big fan of all the novels. After that, I'll see where I am. But I will say that I want to focus on the aspect of these three movies right now.

The Freedom to "Go Beserk"

Villeneuve's excitement for delving deeper into the world of "Dune" is palpable, especially since he wouldn't have to spend time laying the groundwork for the "Dune" universe in subsequent films:

"The tough task [in 'Part One'] was to introduce you guys to this world, to the ideas, to the codes, to the cultures, the different families, the different planets. Once this is done it becomes an insane playground. So it will allow me to go berserk and really create ... I should not say this but I will say that for me 'Dune: Part One' is like an appetizer. 'Dune: Part Two' is the main meal where we can add much more. That's what I can say. As much as "Dune: Part One" was by far my most exciting project ever, 'Dune: Part Two' is already getting me even more excited."

"Dune" premieres in theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021.