Denis Villeneuve Calls Dune 2 A ‘Chess Game,’ Reveals New Details About Characters And More

Dave Bautista in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Unlike David Lynch did with 1984’s Dune, Denis Villeneuve only adapted the first half of the Frank Herbert-penned sci-fi novel for his film adaptation. So, in the months leading up to the new Dune movie’s release last year, there was concern over whether the second half would get to be chronicled. Fortunately for Villeneuve, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures greenlit Dune 2, but don’t think that he’s taking the prospect of putting the sequel together lightly.

During the making of Dune, Denis Villeneuve was strategic with which elements he’d use in the first movie and which he’d save for the officially-titled Dune: Part Two. With the first Dune movie behind him, Villeneuve is finally free to expand the focus of the sequel beyond Paul Atreides and those in his close circle, which is especially good news for fans interested in House Harkonnen. In the filmmaker’s words:

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.

Now obviously anyone who’s watched Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, if not read the original book, knows that Timothée Chalamet’s version of Paul Atreides will continue to be important in Dune: Part Two. But Denis Villeneuve has previously said that Zendaya’s Chani will have a bigger role in the sequel, and now he’s also made it clear that the Harkonnen’s will get more screen time. This will include the introduction of Feyd-Rautha, the younger nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen who Sting played in the 1984 movie. It hasn’t been announced yet who will play Feyd-Rautha opposite Stellan Skarsgård’s character and Dave Bautista’s Glossu Raban, but fans didn’t wast any time pitching candidates after Dune came out.

As far as Dune: Part Two’s development as a whole goes, Denis Villeneuve also said during his interview with Empire that because Dune laid the groundwork for this sprawling universe, the sequel allows him to explore certain aspects more closely. As he put it:

​​When you adapt, you have to make bold choices in order for the things to come to life. And I think that was the best way to introduce this world to a wide audience. Now 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.

Dune: Part Two was officially announced on October 26, 2021 -- just a few days after Dune premiered in theaters and on HBO Max. Villeneuve has also expressed interest in rounding out his Dune work with an adaptation of Dune Messiah, but for now, such a threequel is only a hypothetical prospect. Denis Villeneuve is currently in “soft prep” on Part Two, i.e. he’s finishing the screenplay and his team will soon star storyboarding. The plan is to begin filming this July, and the sequel is slated for October 20, 2023.

CinemaBlend will keep you posted on all significant news about Dune: Part Two’s development. In the meantime, look through the 2022 movie releases to see what catches your eye, and Dune will be available to people with an HBO Max subscription again starting March 10.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.