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Denis Villeneuve Reveals How Far Along He Is With Dune Part 2

Now that Denis Villeneuve's much-anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic 1965 novel "Dune" has finally premiered, we can say that it's a hit. Although some critics complained about the film's slow pacing — it only gets partway through Herbert's first "Dune" novel — overall it enjoys a Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 84% Fresh among critics and 91% among the fans. It's also a box office hit, grossing $41 million over its opening weekend domestically, which is the best opening of Villeneuve's career (via The Hollywood Reporter). And that's even more impressive considering the pandemic drove Warner Bros. to release "Dune" on HBO Max the same day it premiered in theaters.

Given that reception, it was only a matter of time until Warner Bros. greenlit the sequel, which it did just four days after the premiere. That's great news for fans, especially considering that "Dune: Part One" ends on a cliffhanger. Now that the sequel is officially a go, fans are naturally wondering how the production is going. Thankfully, Villeneuve has been transparent about how far along "Dune: Part Two" is, and there's good news on that front: There (hopefully) won't be as many delays as "Dune: Part One" endured.

Dune: Part Two might begin shooting as early as next year

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Villeneuve talked about the status of the next chapter in the "Dune" saga. "[The greenlight is] fantastic news, but it's also kind of a burden. The good news is that a lot of the work has been done already regarding design, casting, locations and writing. So we're not starting from scratch," Villenueve explained.

The casting, design, and locations were already kind of a given, since "Dune: Part Two" will be a continuation of the story of "Dune: Part One." And the fact that the script is far along is also a good sign for the progress on "Part Two." But even though Villeneuve and company have a head start on the sequel, the pressure is on to deliver a second time.

"It's not a long period of time, but I will try to face that challenge because it's important for me that the audience sees 'Part Two' as soon as possible," Villeneuve said. "It's not a sequel where it's another episode or another story with the same characters. It actually has direct continuity to the first movie. It's the second part of the big huge movie that I'm trying to do. So the sooner the better."

When The Hollywood Reporter asked if filming could begin in spring 2022, Villeneuve said that was too early. More likely it will be fall 2022, although for Villeneuve that would still be an accelerated timetable. Overall, it sounds like "Dune: Part Two" is very much on track for its release date of October 20, 2023. The "Dune" must flow, after all.