Zendaya as Chani in 'Dune'
(Warner Bros.)

How ‘Dune: Part Two’ Sets the Stage for Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune: Part Three’

Now that the highly anticipated Dune: Part Two has arrived in theaters, viewers are curious about what else is in store for the franchise’s future.

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Denis Villeneuve’s Dune films mark the third adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic space opera of the same name. The director chose to tackle the first novel in two parts to fully capture the scope of the story. However, Warner Bros. waited to greenlight the sequel until it was sure that the first Dune film would be successful. Fortunately, Dune was both a major commercial and critical success that quickly received a sequel and a prequel TV series.

Now, Dune: Part Two is here and every bit as epic as the original and then some. As grand in scale as Dune was, it largely served as a set-up for Dune: Part Two, where the real action takes off. The sequel sees the return of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, and Josh Brolin. It also added a few more A-list actors, including Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, and Christopher Walken.

Dune: Part Two starts where Dune ended, ensuring that viewers will get the complete story from the first Dune novel. The sequel sees Paul Atreides (Chalamet) become a messianic figure leading the Fremen in a quest for rebellion and vengeance. It’s no secret that Atreides’ story doesn’t end with Dune. He is also a main character in Herbert’s sequel, Dune Messiah. So, will Villeneuve seek to bring this story full circle with a Dune: Part Three?

Will there be another Dune film?

Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) in 'Dune: Part Two'
(Warner Bros.)

As anticipated, Dune: Part Two ends without a clear conclusion. Although there are several notable changes from the ending of Dune: Part Two and Herbert’s Dune novel, the movie still adequately sets the stage for the events of Dune Messiah. It ends with Atreides fully embracing the Fremen’s view that he is a Messianic figure and it is his duty to lead the Empire and usher in the Fremen jihad.

As a result, Dune: Part Two‘s ending leads directly into the plot of Dune Messiah, which takes place 12 years after the events of Dune and explores the direction that the known universe has taken with Atreides in the role of Emperor. Dune: Part Two also introduces additional plot points to tease at the conflict between Atreides and Chani (Zendaya), as well as between Atreides and the Great Houses.

While Villeneuve’s movie forms a clear route to Dune: Part Three, the film is still not officially confirmed. However, even before the sequel premiered, the director had already hinted at there being more to the story. When speaking to Geek Tyrant, he confirmed he was planning for a “three-film saga.” Hence, the third movie may already be in the earliest stages of planning as Villeneuve awaits the official greenlight. Fortunately, the prospects of Dune: Part Three being greenlit are looking good.

So far, Dune: Part Two boasts a solid Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% and has already grossed over $370 million at the box office globally. It is estimated the film needs to earn $500 million to break even, but it is making good progress toward its goal of $700 million. If Dune: Part Two‘s reviews and box office demonstrate the potential for Dune: Part Three to be profitable, it shouldn’t be difficult for Villeneuve to get Warner Bros.’ approval.

However, even if the third movie is officially allowed to begin production, it may be some time before filming begins. Villeneuve told Vanity Fair that there would likely be a gap between the second and third films to allow Chalamet to age enough to play an older Atreides in the final film.

Fans can rest assured that Villeneuve at least intends to carry on the Dune franchise and wrap up Atreides’ story with an adaptation of Dune: Messiah. It’s unclear, though, if Warner Bros. will officially greenlight the film and whether it’s something that will happen soon or further down the line.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.