The director tells EW that he'd like to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah after wrapping up the original book.

Following a chart-topping opening weekend for director Denis Villeneuve's new Dune film (the highest-grossing yet for any movie that simultaneously premiered in theaters and on HBO Max), Legendary and Warner Bros. announced this week that Dune: Part Two is officially in development. But hey, why stop at just two?

After all, Frank Herbert wrote six Dune novels in total: Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. His son Brian Herbert has since teamed up with co-writer Kevin J. Anderson for a series of even more prequels, sequels, and spin-offs set in the universe of Dune. Not all of that material is crying out for adaptation, but Villeneuve told EW earlier this year that he would like to make "at least three" Dune films.

The new Dune film covers the first half of Herbert's original novel, and Dune: Part Two will tackle the rest. But Villeneuve believes that adapting Dune Messiah on top of that is important to conveying the full saga of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet).

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothée Chalamet in 'Dune'
| Credit: Chia Bella James/Warner Bros.

"I always envisioned three movies," Villeneuve says. "It's not that I want to do a franchise, but this is Dune, and Dune is a huge story. In order to honor it, I think you would need at least three movies. That would be the dream. To follow Paul Atreides and his full arc would be nice."

As Herbert readers know, the world of Dune gets stranger with every book. By the end of Children of Dune, one character has begun to transform themself into a human-sandworm hybrid that becomes the title character of God Emperor of Dune. Adapting that transformation might be too much even for Villeneuve, but he's definitely interested in Dune Messiah.

"Herbert wrote six books, and the more he was writing, the more it was getting psychedelic," Villeneuve says. "So I don't know how some of them could be adapted. One thing at a time. If I ever have the chance to do Dune: Part Two and Dune Messiah, I'm blessed."

Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve on the set of 'Dune'
| Credit: Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

In the meantime, Dune: Part Two is set to hit theaters Oct. 20, 2023.

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Dune (2021 movie)

A new adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel about the son of a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable but crucially important planet.

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