Denis Villeneuve knows his limits. The director will not go beyond three Dune films, he told Time this week, despite there being six books in Frank Herbert’s famed sci-fi series.
“Dune Messiah should be the last Dune movie for me,” Villeneuve said. The director, currently on the cusp of the release of Dune: Part Two, said his adaptation of the Herbert novels are born out of a lifetime of fandom.
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“I was trying to be, as a filmmaker, as invisible as possible,” he said of the first Dune film, released 2021. “I tried my best to keep the poetry of the book, the atmosphere, the colors, the smell, everything that I felt when I read the book. I tried.”
Dune: Part Two picks up where the first one left off — Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) finally reaches Chani (Zendaya) and joins forces with the Fremen to bring down the evil Harkonnens. Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard and Dave Bautista also return for the sequel. Originally scheduled to release in 2023, the film was pushed to March amid the actors strike.
In the meantime, Villeneuve says he has worked on the script for Dune Messiah, which will adapt the second of Herbert’s six Dune novels (but has not yet been officially greenlit).
“If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream,” Villeneuve told Empire Magazine in August. “Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero, which is not what [Herbert] wanted to do. My adaptation [of Dune] is closer to his idea that it’s actually a warning.”
After that, he’d like to say goodbye to the franchise, a choice motivated by his avoidance of a Hollywood overly guided by money.
“Cinema, since its beginning, has had multiple crises,” he told Time. “There’s always an adjustment, but the river still keeps flowing. The theatrical experience is here for good. It will prevail, it will transform.”
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