The other day it was revealed that Dune screenwriter Jon Spaihts had exited the HBO Max/Legendary Television series Dune: The Sisterhood (seemingly based on the novel Sisterhood of Dune by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert) to instead pursue a sequel to the feature film reboot directed by Denis Villeneuve for Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros. Studios.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had sequel talk about Legendary’s plans for Dune.
Back In April, Legendary CEO Joshua Grode told TheHollywoodReporter they were indeed planning on making sequels.
GRODE: “That’s the plan. There’s a backstory that was hinted at in some of the books [that we expanded]. Also, when you read the book there’s a logical place to stop the movie before the book is over.”
An unconfirmed rumbling that Denis’ movie would have been filmed as a two-parter (both films shot at once), but that doesn’t seem to be what has actually happened as they’ve only given us a single release date.
There is a chance because of the time-jump in the first book that they’ve adapted for this upcoming movie that they could turn that book into two feature films as it would make some sense to leave it on a cliffhanger as David Lynch film from 1984 tried to cram too much stuff into the single running time of one installment.
I think the first movie should simply focus on the world-building because there is a lot of stuff to cover for the general audience to soak-in.
Here is a rundown of the other books in the series written by Frank Herbert (mostly for the benefit of those unfamiliar of the source material) that could be adapted for future Dune sequels, and there is a good shot that Timothee Chamalet’s Paul Atreides will be at the center of most of them as his character could be the Luke Skywalker for a trilogy or quadrilogy of movies.
DUNE MESSIAH (BOOK 2): Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known–and feared–as the man christened Muad’Dib. As Emperor of the known universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne–and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence. And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family’s dynasty.
CHILDREN OF DUNE (BOOK 3): The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities–making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of House Atreides. Facing treason and rebellion on two fronts, Alia’s rule is not absolute. The displaced House Corrino is plotting to regain the throne while the fanatical Fremen are being provoked into open revolt by the enigmatic figure known only as The Preacher. Alia believes that by obtaining the secrets of the twins’ prophetic visions, she can maintain control over her dynasty. But Leto and Ghanima have their own plans for their visions–and their destinies.
GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE (BOOK 4): Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity’s future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near-immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years. Leto’s rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman. A rebellion, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family, has risen to oppose the despot’s rule. But Siona is unaware that Leto’s vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted–or could possibly conceive.
HERETICS OF DUNE (BOOK 5): Leto Atreides, the God Emperor of Dune, is dead. In the fifteen hundred years since his passing, the Empire has fallen into ruin. The great Scattering saw millions abandon the crumbling civilization and spread out beyond the reaches of known space. The planet Arrakis–now called Rakis–has reverted to its desert climate, and its great sandworms are dying. Now the Lost Ones are returning home in pursuit of power. And as these factions vie for control over the remnants of the Empire, a girl named Sheeana rises to prominence in the wastelands of Rakis, sending religious fervor throughout the galaxy. For she possesses the abilities of the Fremen sandriders–fulfilling a prophecy foretold by the late God Emperor.
However, I do think stuff could be reworked by screenwriters from their original state to allow Timothee to stick around as long as they need him to if they’re going have him their franchise lead alongside Zendaya’s Chani.
We also don’t know for sure if director Denis Villeneuve would be coming back to make multiple films or if they’d rotate other directors in like the original Star Wars trilogy.
The first movie would still need to make a lot of money at the box office before we see any sort of large commitment from Legendary/Warner Bros. given the budgets involved.
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
I’m sure Legendary/WB is banking a lot on Dune’s impressive cast which includes Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Doctor Sleep), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of The Galaxy), Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem (, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, and David Dastmalchian.
Dune got a prime release date of December 18th, 2020 and could make a big splash.