Planning an entire franchise for a series whose first installment hasn't even landed in theaters can be a risky endeavor, but in the case of director Denis Villeneuve's Dune, a key component of its development was breaking the narrative up into two films, with writer Eric Roth confirming that he already wrote a treatment for a follow-up film. The filmmaker detailed that part of the process of bringing the first film to life was also pitching the second half of the story, while also admitting that he wasn't entirely interested in writing a script for the sequel. Dune is currently slated to hit theaters and HBO Max on October 1st.
“I [wrote] a treatment to show the estate what we could do with the second half, but I’ve got to tell you that I think I've done as much as I can do," Roth revealed to Collider. "I also have other things I want to do. I'm 76 years old, and these things obviously take a long time to do. And so I have a few others I'm excited about. And hopefully people love Dune so much that they do want to have a second part, and I'm sure Denis would do amazing version of that.”
The Frank Herbert novel has previously been brought to life as a film and as a miniseries, with the dense nature of the source material making the condensed feature film a disappointment to fans. Due to these frustrations, Villeneuve always aimed to break up the narrative, though the series' future is now compromised.
At the start of 2020, Dune was one of the year's most anticipated releases, only for its delay to 2021 disappointing fans. Late last year, Warner Bros. announced that its entire slate of 2021 movies would debut on HBO Max the same day as in theaters, with Villeneuve previously detailing how he thought this meant the death of the franchise.
"Streaming services are a positive and powerful addition to the movie and TV ecosystems," Villeneuve shared in a letter for Variety last December. "But I want the audience to understand that streaming alone can’t sustain the film industry as we knew it before COVID. Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of Dune’s scope and scale. Warner Bros.’ decision means Dune won’t have the chance to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph. Warner Bros. might just have killed the Dune franchise."
Stay tuned for details on the future of Dune before it hits theaters and HBO Max on October 1st.
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