Dune Trilogy Needs To End The Movies For Good

By Douglas Helm | Published

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two is already a massive hit, which means we will likely get to see Denis Villeneuve get to complete his Dune trilogy. While the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sequel novel Dune Messiah has not been greenlit, the fact that Villeneuve confirmed he is actively writing it and the fact that the new film had a huge opening weekend means that it’s all but assured. But, if this is the case, the film franchise should end after the third one and here’s why. 

Dune Goes Off The Rails

Before diving in, here’s your spoiler warning for some of the events of Dune: Part Two, Dune Messiah, and other books in the franchise. Frank Herbert wrote a total of six Dune novels before he passed away after writing Chapterhouse: Dune, but that doesn’t mean that all of those novels need to be adapted for the big screen beyond the initial trilogy. The fact is, while each of the novels are interesting and have merit, things go pretty off the rails after Messiah and Children of Dune.

Villeneuve’s Walking Away

First off, Denis Villeneuve has already expressed that he doesn’t have any interest in adapting the Dune franchise beyond the trilogy that ends with Messiah. Villeneuve’s incredible direction and vision for the films have been a vital factor in making them work so well, and it’s hard to imagine future movies doing as well without his guidance. And as difficult as it is to adapt Frank Herbert’s first and second novels, the third novel and beyond would be even more difficult to adapt.

New Setting And New Characters

For those who haven’t read Dune: Messiah, the book is the end of Paul Atreides’s story, so future films beyond the trilogy would have to pick up with all new storylines and characters. That would be hard sell for theatergoers that only watch the movies, especially with how weird things get in later books. Let’s just say that there’s a main character that is a human-hybrid sandworm in future books which would undoubtedly lead to the most hideous popcorn bucket imaginable.

Quit While Still Ahead

Dune: Messiah is the perfect bookend to the themes that Frank Herbert wanted to get across in Dune, which is undoubtedly why Villeneuve is satisfied with moving on after a trilogy. Without Villeneuve’s involvement and with the weirdness of the later novels, it’s just hard to imagine the Dune franchise maintaining the same level of big-screen success. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of franchises out there that are run into the ground after their peak, and sci-fi fans wouldn’t want to see Dune become one of those franchises.

Let Franchies Live And Die

Warner Bros has the chance to do the right thing here and let the Dune films ride off into the sunset as a perfect trilogy without marring the franchise with attempts to milk the cash cow. Of course, we know how that usually pans out, so we can at least look forward to witnessing the horror of the God Emperor popcorn buckets. In the meantime, you can check out Dune: Part Two in theaters now.