Denis Villeneuve Might Need a “Break” Before Dune 3

The director is passionate about making the Dune franchise a trilogy — it’s just a matter of when we can expect to see Dune: Part Three.

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Timothée Chalamet and Josh Brolin in Dune: Part Two
Warner Bros. Pictures

With Dune: Part Two at long last within reach, all eyes are turning to the possibility of a Part Three. Director Denis Villeneuve has already expressed a keen interest in adapting the second book in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga, Dune Messiah, and has been hard at work on a screenplay — but a third film is not yet a guarantee. Producers at Warner Bros. would have to greenlight another sequel (which, admittedly, does feel inevitable), and Villeneuve would also have to finish the script. And enthusiasm aside, Villeneuve might to take a break before completing his trilogy.

“I have other stories I want to tell,” Villeneuve recently admitted in an interview with The Playlist. “Once [Dune: Part Two] is out, I intend to go back into the snow and dream a little bit to see if I’m going back to Arrakis right away or if I’m taking a detour just for mental sanity.”

Getting some distance from the franchise wouldn’t be the worst idea, and Villeneuve does already have a few options in that regard. The director has been circling two other potential projects of late: a film about Cleopatra, currently being written by 1917 scribe Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel Rendezvous With Rama. Villeneuve seems spoiled for choice — but his decision will ultimately boil down to “the first script that’s ready to go in front of cameras.”

Dune: Part Three is almost certainly a possibility, but Villeneuve may need a break from the world of Arrakis.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Where does Dune: Part Three fall on the roster? Villeneuve and his collaborators have been working on a script for what feels like ages, and the director has apparently been careful about adapting the material right. He’s keeping his plans for the film very close to his chest, telling Inverse’s own Hoai-Tran Bui that it’s “too much a work in progress” to discuss at the moment.

“It’s a movie that is still in the writing process,” Villeneuve tells Inverse. He expanded to The Playlist: “I want to make sure that we find the best way to tell that story. We are close, and we are working on it, but it’s not finished.”

That said, a finished script might be closer than we think. In 2023, Dune: Part One screenwriter Eric Roth teased the completion of a new screenplay. “I just wrote a film for Denis Villeneuve,” Roth told the Script Apart Podcast. “We’ll see what ends up happening with that, but it’s about space and time, and it’s very long.”

Could this be the screenplay for Dune: Part Three? The Dune saga is pretty much about space and time (among other things), so it’s not totally improbable. If so, Roth and Villeneuve might be in the midst of rewrites now. If not, it may be a different story entirely — maybe Rendezvous With Rama — and that means we could be waiting a bit longer than expected for the third film in the Dune franchise.

Dune: Part Two premieres in theaters March 1.

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