Director Denis Villeneuve has started writing Dune: Part Three despite Dune: Part Two getting pushed back to March 15, 2024.
In a new interview with Empire, Villeneuve gives some promising updates about a possible third Dune movie. “I will say, there are words on paper,” says Villeneuve. “If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream.” The planned third movie is based on 1969’s Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert’s second Dune book. “Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero,” says Villeneuve. “Which is not what he wanted to do. My adaptation [of Dune] is closer to his idea that it’s actually a warning.”
Other Possible Reasons Why Dune: Part Two Is Delayed
Dune: Part Two had a release date set for November 3, 2023 before being bumped to 2024. The primary reason for the date change is the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, which prevents any of the film’s stars from doing press to promote the sequel, but there may be other motivating factors. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Dune: Part One for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. The movie won six: Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects. With many of the same filmmakers and production crew on board for Part Two, there is every reason to expect it to be a major player at the next Academy Awards.
Given the record-breaking success of Barbie and how well it resonated with critics, it’s almost a given that Warner Bros. has the confidence to run an Oscar campaign for the movie for Best Picture and other categories. Wealth of Geeks Managing Editor, Entertainment/Lead Critic David Reddish postulates that instead of having two acclaimed movies competing with each other during the Academy Awards, perhaps Warner Bros. bumped Dune: Part Two to 2024 to give Barbie a better chance. Regardless, the studio appears to have enough faith in the movie to begin work on Dune: Part Three.
Another possible reason for the date change is that Dune: Part One was released on October 21, 2021 during the COVID pandemic. That release strategy seemed like the best move at the time to give skittish moviegoers alternatives to seeing the movie in a theater while wearing masks, but the concurrent HBO Max release surely cut into the movie’s final domestic box office tally of $108.3 million. Since Dune: Part Two has a reported budget of $122 million, Warner Bros. can’t risk losing potential box office dollars due to writers and actors being unable to do press due to the Hollywood strikes. A potential Dune: Part Three would reunite several major actors from the first two films, including Timothee Chalemet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, and Rebecca Furgeson.