Dune: Part 2 – release date rumours, cast and latest news on sci-fi sequel

Dune: Part 2 – release date rumours, cast and latest news on sci-fi sequel

The first Dune trailer amassed almost 40 million views when it dropped last year, making it instantly clear that this adaptation had the potential to be a major new franchise for Warner Bros.

Writer-director Denis Villeneuve is among the most vocal supporters for Dune: Part Two, expressing in several interviews that he’s keen to reunite with his all-star cast and complete his version of Frank Herbert’s legendary novel.

Indeed, his first Dune movie covers a lot of ground, introducing the members of House Atreides as well as other key figures in this complex, futuristic world – but ultimately, it only gets through the first two-thirds of Herbert’s original book.

It is understood that a sequel would conclude this first chapter of the saga, while also setting the stage for a potential third movie based on the sequel novel Dune: Messiah.

However, it’s important to note that there’s no guarantee of either project going ahead just yet, as that will depend on whether the film turns a healthy profit at the global box office – no easy feat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, read on for everything we know so far about Dune: Part 2, including release date rumours, returning cast members and plot details.

Dune: Part 2 release date rumours

If Dune proves to be the commercial success that the studio is hoping for, it appears that director Denis Villeneuve won’t waste any time getting the ball rolling on a follow-up.

In fact, he told IGN that he “would be very ready to go quite quickly” after getting the thumbs up from Warner Bros, having already put a considerable amount of work into the script for the sequel.

He continued: “To go quickly into a movie of that size, you still need to make sets, costumes, so we are talking about months. But if ever there’s enthusiasm and the movie is greenlit sooner than later, I will say that I will be ready to shoot in 2022 for sure.”

The first Dune movie commenced principal photography in mid-March 2019 and had wrapped by late July that same year, encompassing approximately four-and-a-half months in total.

If the sequel gets prompt confirmation and sticks to a similar timeline, there’s every chance production could be wrapped by the end of next year, which would put it on track for a 2023 release date.

While Dune: Part Two is set to complete Villeneuve’s adaptation of the original book, that doesn’t necessarily mean the film franchise will end there, as the director has also taken interest in tackling the sequel novel.

“There is Dune’s second book, The Messiah of Dune [aka Dune: Messiah], which could make an extraordinary film,” he told CBC Radio Canada. “I always saw that there could be a trilogy; after that, we’ll see. It’s years of work; I can’t think of going further than that.”

Dune: Part 2 cast

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021)

Warner Bros

If Dune: Part Two were to go ahead, it’s all but guaranteed that Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson would return as Paul Atreides and his mother, Lady Jessica, who narrowly escaped execution in the first film.

They found refuge in a Fremen tribe that counts Stilgar (Skyfall’s Javier Bardem) and Chani (Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Zendaya) among its number, so expect both characters to reappear in the sequel.

The brutal destruction of House Atreides left the fate of some of its closest allies up in the air, but if Villeneuve stays loyal to the book then we’ll likely see more from Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck) and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Thufir Hawat) too.

On the other hand, there were some major deaths that will take several big characters out of the running for now, most notably Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto, Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho and Sharon Duncan-Brewster’s Dr Liet-Kynes.

In the supporting cast, neither the traitorous Dr Wellington Yueh (Chang Chen) nor Piter De Vries (The Suicide Squad‘s David Dastmalchian) made it out alive, creating two more vacant positions in the large Dune ensemble cast.

It’s a good thing too, because Villeneuve has some important characters to introduce in Dune: Part Two, including Baron Harkonnen’s nephew Feyd-Rautha and the sinister Emperor.

Dune: Part 2 plot spoilers

Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021)

Warner Bros

*Warning: potential spoilers for Dune: Part Two*

The first Dune novel is split up into three parts – titled Dune, Mua’dib, and The Prophet respectively – with this film adaptation being an abridged version of the first two, meaning the story is far from complete.

The final section of Dune is in many ways the most action-packed, as with all his complex world-building out of the way, Herbert is able to put more emphasis on driving his story forward.

It seems like the same would be true of Villeneuve’s adaptation, as the filmmaker alluded to hitting the ground running in a second movie and promising even more spectacle than the first.

“If such a thing as Dune: Part Two happens, I will say that it’s going to be an insane playground for me because I had the task to explain this world to the audience,” he told Variety. “Now it is explained, it means I can just have fun with cinema.”

Picking up where the first film left off, Part Two would likely begin with Paul and Jessica settling into their new life among the Fremen tribe Sietch Tabr.

After experiencing vivid visions of Chani for some time before arriving on Arrakis, the connection between herself and Paul only grows deeper, as they become a couple and have a child together.

Meanwhile, Jessica takes on the respected Bene Gesserit role of Reverend Mother for the Fremen she lives among, but doing so will require her to undergo a painful trial that threatens the life of her unborn child.

As Paul quickly rises through the ranks of the Fremen to become their leader, the stage is set for an epic confrontation between his forces and those of the Harkonnens who so brutally ousted them.

If you’re wondering whether the film is a family watch, here is more information on Dune’s age rating.

How many Dune films will there be?

As explained above, Villeneuve does not necessarily see his Dune film series ending with Part Two, having expressed interest in a trilogy incorporating Frank Herbert’s second novel.

Though, at the time of writing, no sequel to Dune has been green-lit and the planned franchise could span just a single movie, if Villeneuve gets his way we might see at least three films.

How many Dune books are there?

Frank Herbert wrote six Dune novels over a 20-year period. They are as follows:

  • Dune (1965)
  • Dune Messiah (1969)
  • Children of Dune (1976)
  • God Emperor of Dune (1981)
  • Heretics of Dune (1984)
  • Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)

Herbert’s son Brian Herbet and author Kevin J. Anderson later collaborated on a further series of novels, with the latest set for release in 2022. They are as follows:

Prelude to Dune series:

  • House Atreides (1999)
  • House Harkonnen (2000)
  • House Corrino (2001)

Legends of Dune series:

  • The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
  • The Machine Crusade (2003)
  • The Battle of Corrin (2004)
  • Hunters of Dune (2006)
  • Sandworms of Dune (2007)

Heroes of Dune series:

  • Paul of Dune (2008)
  • The Winds of Dune (2009)

Great Schools of Dune series:

  • Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
  • Mentats of Dune (2014)
  • Navigators of Dune (2016)

The Caladan Trilogy series:

  • Dune: The Duke of Caladan (2020)
  • Dune: The Lady of Caladan (2021)
  • Dune: The Heir of Caladan (2022)

See below for more on what happens in Frank Herbert’s original Dune book sequels.

What happens in Dune: Messiah?

*Warning: Spoilers for Dune: Part Two**

Timothee Chalamet plays Paul Atreides in Dune

Warner Bros

Released in 1969, Dune: Messiah takes place 12 years after the events of Dune, where Paul Atreides – now known largely by his Fremen name Muad’Dib – has taken over as Emperor after tearing down the old regime.

However, his worst fears have come true, as by deliberately shaping himself as a messiah figure to the Fremen people, he has driven them to embark on a bloody religious war across the known universe, in which 61 billion people have lost their lives.

Now, the political houses and organisations that he displaced during his ascent conspire together to bring him down, identifying his lover Chani as a weak spot ready to be exploited.

What happens in Children of Dune?

*Warning: Spoilers for Children of Dune*

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Dune

Warner Bros

Children of Dune is the third novel in Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi series, which Villeneuve is yet to express an interest in adapting to film.

However, if there’s an appetite for more Dune stories after the completion of his proposed trilogy, it’s not hard to imagine Warner Bros pushing ahead with adaptations of the later books in the series.

Children of Dune sees another time-jump, this time moving on nine years from the events of Dune: Messiah, which saw Paul wander into the desert blind, leaving his two children in the care of the Fremen.

However, they are not safe, as Paul’s sister Alia is envious of the twins’ for they have inherited their father’s prescient visions of the future, while the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild are scheming to take the children for their own purposes.

This third entry in the Dune series sees a reduced role for Paul, as focus shifts to his children, Leto and Ghanima, while it also features a wildly different version of Arrakis, which has bloomed into a much more hospitable place.

However, this has come at the expense of the sandworms that inhabit it, putting the planet’s spice production in peril.

Children of Dune was previously adapted into a three-part miniseries by the Syfy Channel, featuring James McAvoy and Susan Sarandon in the cast.

Is there a Dune: Part 2 trailer?

Not just yet – in fact, the film is not even guaranteed to move forward right now. If it does get the green light and production starts at pace, we could potentially get a first look in late 2022 or early 2023.

Dune is released in UK cinemas on Thursday 21st October. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight. 

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