Denis Villeneuve Says ‘Dune Part 2’ Shooting by End of Summer, Teases ‘More Harkonnen Stuff’

Villeneuve likened plotting the upcoming installment of "Dune" to a "chess game," with new characters being introduced.
DUNE, from left: director Denis Villeneuve, Javier Bardem, on-set, 2020. ph: Chiabella James / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection
Denis Villeneuve directing Javier Bardem on the "Dune" set
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Onto the next sandworm!

Denis Villeneuve revealed where things stand with “Dune: Part Two” and teased plot details for the sequel, which is slated to start production “by the end of the summer” in 2022.

“I will say it is mostly designed,” Villeneuve said to Empire of the next installment starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, and Stellan Skarsgård. “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.”

Villeneuve added, “Frankly, the only big unknown for me right now is the pandemic.”

Adapting the “Dune” novels was a massive feat for the “Blade Runner 2049” director, as Villeneuve said he had to make “bolder choices” for plot points to pop onscreen.

“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,” Villeneuve said.

Some of those details include expanding on the Harkonnen clan, namely villain Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, played by Skarsgård, and his nephew, Glossu Rabban, portrayed by Bautista.

“It’s like a chess game,” Villeneuve continued. “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.”

Villeneuve added of production, “I just want to experience it, be present with it, every single moment of it. When I shoot a film, I shoot it like all my movies, as if it’s the last one. I will do the same with ‘Part Two.'”

“Dune” received 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

“Frankly, if you had told me a few months ago that we’d be in the Oscar race, that we’d have that kind of recognition, I would have not believed you. It’s really moving,” Villeneuve recently said. “If you’re nominated, it’s a beautiful thing… I don’t take things for granted, and I was deeply pleased with what we got.”

“Dune: Part Two” will premiere in theaters October 20, 2023. This time, unlike “Part One,” the film is getting an exclusive theatrical release as opposed to going day and date on HBO Max. While typically Warner Bros.’ films now hit streaming after a 45-day window, a plan for “Dune: Part Two” has yet to be announced.

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