Dune: Part Two isn’t even out yet—in fact, it was just delayed until next year—but that hasn’t stopped director Denis Villeneuve from discussing his plans for Dune 3. According to Deadline, Villeneuve’s dream is to turn his Dune duology into a trilogy, with an adaptation of Dune Messiah serving as the final chapter in his version of the saga. Provided the director sticks close to the source material, that means we could see Timothee Chalamet’s Paul Atreides become the series’ biggest villain.
Dune: Part Two director Denis Villeneuve says he hopes to adapt a third Dune film which would see Timothee Chalamet’s character become a villain.
“Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero,” Villeneuve said when describing the book that would serve as the basis for his Dune 3. The director went on to explain how that’s not the case and that his adaptation would be closer to author Frank Herbert’s idea of Dune Messiah as a warning against blindly following heroes and how pride and narcissism can corrupt even the most well-intentioned leader.
Villeneuve didn’t divulge many details about the project except to say that “there are words on paper.” The director is most likely remaining tight-lipped about Dune 3 for a couple of reasons, the most obvious of which is the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which prevent many writers and actors from discussing upcoming projects.
Dune 2‘s postponement from October to March 15 of next year is also a factor in Villenueve’s reluctance to say too much about Dune 3, as Warner Bros. will most likely hold off on greenlighting a third film until they see how the second one performs.
“Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero. Which is not what [Frank Herbert] wanted to do. My adaptation is closer to his idea that it’s actually a warning.”-Denis Villenueve
As fun as it would be to keep the series going long enough to see Timothee Chalamet’s onscreen child turn into a human/sandworm hybrid, Villeneuve stressed that he only wants to make one more film, the adaptation of Dune Messiah.
The director was diplomatic when he stated that after the second Dune novel, the series “becomes more… esoteric.” Things like “chairdogs”—living chairs that are actually bioengineered dogs—and the “Honored Matres,” a sect of Bene Gesserit that use sex as a drug to enslave men, are so out there that even hardcore Dune fans have a hard time defending the novels that come after Messiah.
Of course, if Dune 2 and 3 turn out to be big successes, there’s a good chance that Warner Bros. Discovery would continue with the adaptations even without Villeneuve’s involvement. Unfortunately, with Dune: Part Two being moved to March, it’s looking less likely that the movie will be a box-office smash.
Dune: Part Two
While March isn’t as bad as January or February for movies, it’s still not the prime summer or winter holiday spot that most studios covet for their tentpole releases. Not to mention, the sequel was fighting a losing battle even before it was postponed.
The first Dune made $402 million on a $165 million budget, meaning, with advertising and other expenses factored in, it only made a modest profit if that. Given that Dune: Part Two is more of a continuation than a sequel, it stands to reason that it will most likely perform comparably to the first movie, making a Dune 3 starring a more sinister Timothee Chalamet less than a sure thing.
Denis Villeneuve’s vision for Dune 3 sounds intriguing, but unfortunately, to get it off the ground, the cash, like the spice, “must flow.”