This article was updated on October 26.
The spice was flowing throughout the opening weekend for “Dune: Part One,” and it will keep flowing into 2023, as Legendary and Warner Bros. announced “Part Two” is officially a go. Following the success of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic in theaters and on HBO Max, its second installment will bow in theaters in October 20, 2023.
Considering “Part One’s” reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and the film grossed a Villeneuve-record $40.1 million in its domestic debut, Tuesday’s announcement of the sequel shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.
“I just received news from Legendary that we are officially moving forward with ‘Dune: Part Two,’” Villeneuve said in a statement. “It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ and I have the fans, the cast, and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning.”
While “Dune” hasn’t been advertised as “Part One” on posters or in TV commercials, its marketing has relied on slogans like “This is only the beginning,” or “It begins.” Those following the film have long known that this installment would be splitting Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel into two parts, but for newcomers who haven’t been following as closely, seeing “Dune: Part One” appear on the title screen may have come as a bit of a surprise – along with that cliffhanger ending.
Spoilers for “Dune: Part One”
So, what comes next?
“Part One” leaves us with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) in the deserts of Arrakis, now fully embedded with the Fremen people. Paul has proven himself in combat and has further cemented the belief that he is, in fact, the chosen one, aka the Fremen prophet Lisan al Gaib. Now, this is not to be confused with another chosen one – the Kwisatz Haderach of the Bene Gesserit religion – which Paul also has a possibility to fulfill.
If you walked out of the theater feeling as if you were left hanging, don’t worry. That’s how you’re supposed to feel. To relate the cliffhanger to the book, the film’s ending occurs right around page 400 of a nearly 700-page book. Plus, if everything goes according to plan, Villeneuve is also planning on adapting Herbert’s sequel novel, “Dune Messiah,” so there’s plenty of story left to tell.
Any uncertainty surrounding “Part Two” was put to bed on October 26, when the studios officially greenlit the sequel, which will hit theaters in October of 2023.
“Legendary is pleased to officially move forward with ‘Dune: Part Two’…once again based on the amazing books written by Frank Herbert,” Legendary said in a statement. “We would not have gotten to this point without the extraordinary vision of Denis and the amazing work of his talented crew, the writers, our stellar cast, our partners at Warner Bros., and of course the fans! Here’s to more ‘Dune.’”
On top of this news, back in 2019 HBO Max ordered “Dune: The Sisterhood” straight to series. This prequel series will be based around the Bene Gesserit witches, like Lady Jessica, and with 22 novels in the “Dune” series, there’s plenty of material to pull from – particularly 2012’s “Sisterhood of Dune.”
What about Zendaya?
The Zendaya stans may have felt misled by her prominence in the film after the role she played in its marketing and press, but book readers know her character, Chani, will be integral in what is to come.
While her role in “Part One” was mainly relegated to Paul’s dream sequences, Chani did see a bit of action in real life towards the film’s conclusion. Knowing the talent he had on hand with Zendaya, Villeneuve opted to change the beginning of the film to revolve around Chani – so it’s clear he’s trying his best to get her more involved without diverting from the source material too much.
With Paul and Lady Jessica learning to adapt to the Fremen lifestyle, Zendaya fans can rest easy knowing Chani’s role in “Part Two” and beyond will grow exponentially as she helps show them the way.
Who is this Emperor?
No, you’re not missing anything. The Galactic Padishah Emperor was often referenced but never seen in “Part One.” The massive blob of a man portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, head of the evil Harkonnen house, but Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV has yet to be cast.
What is clear, though, is that the emperor and House Harkonnen are no fans of Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and House Atreides. That’s why the emperor’s elite Sardaukar army clad in their white armor teamed up with the Baron’s soldiers to decimate the Atreides on Dune.
Like Chani, the emperor will be a major player in “Part Two,” and his motives to move against the Atreides will be further explored.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.