Dune 2 sees the rise of Emperor Paul Atreides. However, Dune 3 is where the repercussions of Paul’s messianic destiny are truly revealed.
Warning: the following contains SPOILERS for Dune.
Dune: Part Three is even more important to the seminal sci-fi saga than the upcoming Dune: Part Two. The initial release date for the much-anticipated action sequel Dune 2 is October 20, 2023. As an adaptation of the second half of Frank Herbert’s social sci-fi masterpiece from 1965, Dune 2 concludes the story of Paul Atreides’ rise to become the emperor of the Known Universe.
However, this point in the Dune saga only sets up the events of Dune: Messiah, in which the true message of Paul’s ascent to power is revealed. Fortunately, Villeneuve has announced plans of making a third movie, which the director says will be the final one in his franchise reboot. This could be because Dune 3, which will be based on 1969’s Dune: Messiah, drives home the key message that Herbert wants readers to take away from his work.
It’s always a bit of a gamble for directors to rely on hypothetical sequels to drive home the effect of an original film, but given the enormous success of Dune thanks to Villeneuve’s auteurship, huge names like Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and Zendaya, and the inevitable allure of a new epic franchise, it seems that Dune 2 and even Dune 3 have a good chance of making it to the big screen and doing quite well. This will be good news for eager audiences who want to see Dune‘s story through, but it will also be essential for the books’, and therefore the films’, message to get across. In this regard, Dune 3 will be even more important than Dune 2.
Why Dune 3 Is More Important Than Dune 2
Dune: Messiah is where the repercussions of Emperor Paul Atreides’ actions are truly explored. While Dune 2 makes the original movie much better, Dune 3 will reveal that Paul’s vision of a galactic holy war has come to fruition. In the books, this is the point wherein Paul gets disillusioned by power. Despite achieving perfect prescience, Paul is powerless to stop the Fremen from killing billions in his name. Frank Herbert wrote Dune in 1965, only several decades after World War II. And in the author’s own words, Dune is meant as a warning against following charismatic leaders and messianic figures. Even the most well-meaning, capable, and selfless messiahs can easily make decisions that lead to death and destruction, which is the main point of the Dune saga. And this point is only truly hammered out in Herbert’s second book, Dune: Messiah, which Villeneuve will adapt for Dune 3 – if it gets greenlit.
Although Dune 2 is crucial to showing Paul’s rise, Dune 3 can not only conclude this journey but also expose its true meaning. Indeed, if Villeneuve stays faithful to Dune: Messiah, the third movie will resolve all debates and criticisms about the first movie playing to the classic white savior narrative. It will also be interesting to see how Villeneuve adapts the trials, awakening, and eventual death of Emperor Paul Atreides. For Dune star Timothée Chalamet, this point in the Dune saga could be a defining moment in his acting career.
Villeneuve’s Dune was always intended to be a trilogy. Considering the success of the first Dune movie and the building anticipation for the sequel, Villeneuve’s chances of making Dune 3 movie seem positive. For now, Dune 2 is slated for release in theaters on October 20, 2023.
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