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Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE to Be Released in 2 Parts

Frank Herbert’s Dune is a sprawling, epic story. It’s the kind of science fiction you don’t want to rush. You need to sink your teeth in to understand the characters, the politics at play, and the stakes. In other words, it’s a lot for a single film to cover. Happily, Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune from Warner Bros. and Legendary will be split into two films. That news makes this fan sigh with relief.

Speaking with Vanity Fair about the duology approach, Villeneuve said, “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie. The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

Yes. So much yes. And with Villeneuve’s eye for details, I expect to see the environs and players under a close-up lens. The story, which begins as a rivalry between House Atreides and House Harkonnen, is really more of a chosen one tale centered on Paul Atreides. The youth, played by Timothée Chalamet, has a lot of emotional and physical ground to cover.

Previous adaptations have approached the 1965 novel differently. David Lynch’s 1984 Dune clocked in at 136 minutes. The (then named) Sci-Fi network’s Frank Herbert’s Dune unfolded as a three part miniseries with over four hours of story in 2000. We don’t know what kind of runtime Villeneuve’s two films will have, but this is one case where I hope for three-hour films.

Dune book cover

New Dune edition cover – Penguin Random House

The book Dune is split into three parts followed by appendices. A couple of points in the novel provide natural splitting points. Without getting too deep into spoilers, they could divide the movies as Paul Atreides’ life before the Fremen and then after. Maybe we meet the Fremen at the end of this first film and launch into the rest of the thrilling story with the second film. However it plays out, I can’t wait to see. The first Dune film arrives December 18, 2020.

Featured Image: Warner Bros./Legendary

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.