Why Dune Being Split Into Two Movies Isn't A Problem, According To Key Collaborator

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune

Rather than try and adapt all of Frank Herbert’s Dune into one movie like David Lynch did in the ‘80s, Denis Villeneuve decided to split up the classic sci-fi novel into two parts, with the first half coming out at the end of the year. The page count on Dune alone is enough to warrant this move, but for those worried that the first Dune movie will feel incomplete, cinematographer Greig Fraser is here to assure you that will not be the case.

Here’s what Greig Fraser had to say about how the next Dune movie will feel like a “satisfying story” all on its own:

It’s a fully formed story in itself with places to go. It’s a fully standalone epic film that people will get a lot out of when they see it… It was quite an adventure visually. It was a beautiful experience making it. The people involved with it, I was overwhelmed. Some of the actors, as well as being insanely talented actors, are just lovely, lovely people who I’ve become very close to since then.

Dune is far from the first book to have its narrative spread across two or more movies. Sometimes such a creative decision isn’t received positively in the end (I’m looking at you, The Hobbit), and even if there is a book that benefits from such treatment, there’s still the risk of the first movie having a too cliffhanger-y ending. As Greig Fraser informed Collider, Dune will still be enjoyable enough by itself.

Obviously one will get the full Dune experience by watching both movies since together they chronicle Frank Herbert’s original tale. That said, it is nice to hear that from Greig Frasier that if, for whatever reason, one were to only watch the first Dune movie and either skip out on Dune 2 or not watch it for a while, that first chunk of Denis Villeneuve’s take on the material will serve as a satisfiable story.

While a Dune sequel hasn’t gotten the official green light yet, it is in the works. Jon Spaihts, who co-wrote Dune and was previously the showrunner of HBO Max’s Dune: The Sisterhood series, is working on the script. It’s possible Warner Bros will wait to see how Dune performs before making a decision on Dune 2, but one would imagine that the sequel stands a better chance of happening than not.

Denis Villeneuve had expressed interest for years in directing a new film adaptation of Dune, and in early 2017, it was confirmed that he’d been hired to helm the project. The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa and Charlotte Rampling, among many others. Filming took place from March to July of 2019 in countries like Hungary, Jordan and Norway.

Dune is expected to open in theaters on December 18, so keep checking in with CinemaBlend for more updates about it. You can also learn what other movies are slated for later this year in our 2020 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.