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Will Oppenheimer 2 Ever Happen? The Studio Has The Perfect 3-Word Answer

"Oppenheimer" blew away box office expectations, taking in nearly $1 billion worldwide. The fact that a three-hour dramatic biopic about the creation of the atomic bomb brought in superhero movie numbers is a testament to the fact that audiences are still willing to give more mature films a chance. Naturally, Hollywood will try to make a franchise out of just about anything, but luckily, it sounds like "Oppenheimer" will remain a one-and-done affair — unless something truly horrific happens.

Donna Langley, Chief Content Officer and Chairman for NBCUniversal Studio Group, spoke with Variety about the studio's future projects, which included a reflection on Christopher Nolan's latest film. It may have been a surprising juggernaut at the box office, but Langley stated how the film's success just shows that "there are no rules in cinema." Jokingly, the prospect of whether Universal would pursue "Oppenheimer 2" came up, with Langley succinctly stating, "Let's hope not."

At three hours in length, Nolan's historical epic does a good job of showcasing the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and his role in the development of nuclear warfare. There were a number of disturbing things that didn't make it into "Oppenheimer," but it's a fairly comprehensive story that leaves nothing else to say in a prospective sequel. The only possible follow-up would be if something new happens involving atomic bombs, and if that occurs, there will be bigger things to worry about than box office numbers.

Oppenheimer may get a different kind of follow-up

"Oppenheimer" follows the creation and aftermath of the atomic bomb's creation, ending with a chilling conversation that features Oppenheimer reflecting on how he and his team may have just doomed the world. It's a foreboding finale, indicating that sooner or later, life as we know it could come to a scorching, violent end if any global superpower decides to unleash chaos. The brilliant scientist's story may have been at the heart of Christopher Nolan's film, but the possibilities of nuclear warfare are ripe for movie storytelling, and another modern filmmaking auteur has a project in the works that could become an unofficial companion piece to Nolan's opus.

Denis Villeneuve is set to make "Dune 3," though audiences shouldn't expect it any time soon. But while the follow-up to the recent hit, which will likely draw from "Dune: Messiah," gets going, Villeneuve is working on another film project, an adaptation of the book "Nuclear War: A Scenario" by Annie Jacobson. The thriller offers a hypothetical yet realistic minute-by-minute play-through of what could occur if North Korea attacked the United States with nuclear weapons, drawing from interviews with military personnel and other experts. It's effectively a worst-case scenario of what might transpire should a nuclear war break out, bringing Oppenheimer's chilling visions of the future to fruition.

While "Oppenheimer" presents the past and present of atomic weaponry, Villeneuve's project could showcase the potential future. When considering whether the events of "Nuclear War: A Scenario" could actually transpire, it's good to keep in mind the words of Donna Langley: "Let's hope not."