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Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Dune
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

Denis Villeneuve teases plans for a third Dune film based on Dune Messiah

The filmmaker has also set the record straight on Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet’s roles in part two, which could begin shooting as early as next year

Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated Dune adaptation is yet to arrive in cinemas, but the director recently revealed that he’s already working on the script for part two, which could “realistically” begin shooting in autumn 2022. Now, the filmmaker has also suggested that he’s looking even further ahead, sharing his vision for a complete Dune trilogy.

Speaking to CBC’s Radio Canada this week (August 20), Villeneuve spoke about wanting to create a third film based on Frank Herbert’s 1969 Dune sequel. “There is Dune’s second book, Dune Messiah,” he says. “Which could make an extraordinary film.”

“I always saw that there could be a trilogy; after that, we’ll see,” he adds. “It’s years of work. I can’t think of going further than that."

The second instalment of Dune (which hasn’t yet been officially announced) would complete the story told in Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel of the same name, with Villeneuve and Dune co-writer Jon Spaihts already working on a script. Zendaya’s character, Chani, is set to play an important role, though she won’t take over Timothée Chalamet’s role as the protagonist, as previously hinted.

“I mumbled something about the character of Chani that suggested that the second film would be focused on her,” Villeneuve clarifies in a recent interview with the French Canadian news outlet La Presse. “She remains one of the main characters and the role is important, but Dune nevertheless remains the story of Paul Atreides first and foremost. Having said that, Zendaya is an incredible actress who inspires me deeply.”

Both Paul Atreides and Chani, the characters portrayed by Chalamet and Zendaya, make important appearances in Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah, meaning the actors could also return to the roles if a third film is confirmed.

Villeneuve’s first Dune film, set to arrive in cinemas on October 1, also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and more.

Watch the recently-revealed second trailer below.