Denis Villenueve got what he wished for when Legendary Pictures confirmed that Dune: Part Two had not just been given the green light, but awarded an October 2023 release date.
On paper, two years sounds like it would be plenty of time, but in this instance we’re talking about the sequel to a star-studded sci-fi epic that ran up a $165 million budget for Part One and spent four months in front of cameras during principal photography, never mind the extensive visual effects work required to bring Arrakis to life once Villenueve called it a wrap.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Villenueve admitted that while pre-production is well underway, he won’t be calling action on Dune: Part Two until the tail end of next year.
“It’s 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. 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. 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.We still have a lot of work to do. It’d probably be more towards fall, and even that would be fast.”
That’s quite a rapid turnaround for such a massive film, especially when you consider the scheduling conflicts that could arise given how busy the majority of the cast tend to be at all times. Of course, this would have no doubt all been worked out behind the scenes before the announcement was made, but roughly twelve months between the first day on set and Dune: Part Two arriving in theaters will require a monumental effort, albeit one that Villenueve is more than capable of pulling off.