When Denis Villeneuve’s stab at Frank Herbert’s famously dense sci-fi classic Dune was greenlit, it was with a major caveat: They were only paying for the first half of the book. If it was a success, they’d finally let him shoot the second (and after that the five other books Herbert wrote in the series). Well, Dune was a success, though it left everyone on a helluva cliffhanger that wasn’t going to be resolved any time soon. But now we have some idea of when to expect from part two.
In a new interview with Empire (as caught by IndieWire), the acclaimed director — whose lack of a Best Director nomination enraged cast member Josh Brolin — revealed that the shoot is set to re-commence “by the end of summer.” Is it a little tricky to return to a project he started shooting about three years ago? You betcha. But he’s confident they can get back in the groove.
“I will say it is mostly designed,” Villeneuve said. “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 also suggested, as he’s done before, that he’s not going to be as religiously faithful to the source as he once was. “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,” he said. He compared it to a “chess game,” and teased at other things that will be in the second part.
“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,” he said. He added that “there will be much more Harkonnen stuff,” referring to the baddies who took down goodly House Atreides in part one.
So if you left wanting more about Stelan Skarsgard’s sometimes nude, sometimes floating Baron or Dave Bautista’s glowering Raban — much less the psychotic son Feyd, who wasn’t even present, much less cast — then you’re in luck. But if you want more of Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, you’ll have to wait for Villeneuve to get around to Dune Messiah.