Dune is one of the frontrunners in this year's Oscar race with an impressive 10 nominations to its name. Denis Villeneuve's sweeping adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel has been justly acclaimed for its visual grandeur and thematic complexity, and we'll be getting the next instalment in the saga in the not-too-distant future.
Villeneuve, who has been shockingly cut out of the Oscar nominations, confirms that Dune: Part Two will begin filming "by the end of the summer". He acknowledges that the first movie, for all its commercial and artistic success, had to lay out the table, so to speak, and the sequel will allow him to go more in-depth with the characters. This includes the vengeful Harkonnen clan who barely got a look-in during the events of Dune: Part One.
“When you adapt, you have to make bold choices in order for the things to come to life,” Villeneuve tells Variety. “In the second one, I want to have more flexibility, and it will be possible to go a little bit deeper into some of these details. It’s like a chess game. Some new characters will be introduced in the second part and a decision I made very early on was that this first part would be more about Paul Atreides and the Bene Gesserit, and his experience of being in contact for the first time with a different culture. Second part, there will be much more Harkonnen stuff.”
Once again, messiah-in-the-making Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet) will take centre stage as he adapts to his destiny with the indigenous Arrakis Fremen. Adopted as the Fremen 'Mahdi' (chosen one), Paul must also grapple with the knowledge that he is the prophesised 'kwisatz haderach', the first-ever male-born member of the secretive Bene Gesserit sect. Said sect is primarily represented by Paul's mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), who undergoes more than a few revelations of her own as the story progresses.
The aforementioned Harkonnens are embodied in the form of the gluttonous and sinister Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgard), whose internecine machinations will take greater precedence in Dune: Part Two. As per Herbert's novel, the evil Baron relishes in playing off his two power-hungry nephews against one another: the brutish Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista), and the as-yet-unseen (not to mention uncast) Feyd Rautha, who emerges as a dangerous antagonist for Paul.
“I will say [Dune: Part Two] is mostly designed," Villeneuve explains. "The thing that helps us right now is that it’s the first time I’ve revisited a universe. So I’m working with the same crew, everybody knows what to do, we know what it will look like. The movie will be more challenging, but we know where we are stepping. And the screenplay is written. So I feel confident. Frankly, the only big unknown for me right now is the pandemic.”
The prospect of returning to the world of Arrakis is enormously exciting, especially now that we've had a taste of Villeneuve's all-encompassing vision. Many key cast members are set to return for Dune: Part Two including Zendaya, Javier Bardem and more. The movie is scheduled for release on 20th October 2023, and beyond that, Villeneuve has expressed interest in adapting Herbert's Dune: Messiah.
In the meantime, the 2022 Oscars get underway on 27th March, so tweet us @Cineworld if you think Dune: Part One will emerge victoriously.