Dune: Part Two Director Denis Villeneuve Explains Key Ways The Sequel Differs From The First Film

 Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya starring in Dune: Part 2
Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya starring in Dune: Part 2

When Dune was released in 2021, the sci-fi masterpiece captivated audiences worldwide and left many waiting to see what would happen next in the embattled sands of Arrakis. While Dune: Part Two is still months away from its release, momentum is already building for what could be one of the most successful sequels in recent memory. But fans of the first film shouldn’t hold their breath if they’re expecting a repeat. According to director Denis Villenueve, we can expect to see some huge changes when it comes to how the story for this second chapter plays out.

The cast and crew of Dune: Part Two remained mostly tight-lipped about details during filming. But in the intervening months since production wrapped, they’ve given fans some clues about what’s to come. Most recently, Denis Villeneuve hinted to Empire Magazine that thematically and tonally, the highly anticipated will differ from the first film significantly. Here’s what he had to say about the sequel:

The first movie was more contemplative – a young man discovering a world. Here, it’s a war movie. … At the very core is a love story between Paul and Chani. How Paul will gain her trust, how she will open her heart to him, and how they will find a way to free Chani’s world from the Harkonnen grip. It’s a much more emotional movie.

The Blade Runner 2049 helmer's insights are far from the first that we’ve been given. However, this take does very much closely align with what we’ve seen of both the action and the budding romance in the recently released trailer for Dune: Part Two. Also, this matches up nicely with what we’ve seen and heard from the film’s cast, too. Earlier this year, Zendaya also hinted at the challenges she faced in perfecting Chani and Paul’s chemistry alongside Timothée Chalamet. And in February, Dave Bautista raved about the sequel during a chat with CinemaBlend, hyping up the intensity of the story.

Unfortunately, fans who are eager to see how everything comes together in Part Two will have to wait a bit longer than originally planned. While the follow-up was first set to hit theaters in November 2023, Warner Bros. has chosen to delay it to its roster of 2024 movie releases amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. This is likely because the film’s stars will be barred from actively promoting the film until the studios and union reach an agreement. This news has left Dune fans feeling frustrated but, by now, they’re seasoned pros at the waiting game since the first movie was also delayed several times during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, this latest tease from Denis Villeneuve has me thinking that the movie will indeed be worth the wait. I, like so many others, am excited to see how the Arrival director expands upon the world created by Frank Herbert and closes out this leg of the story.

As fans mull over the small bits of information that the filmmaker and the cast have offered about what to expect in Dune: Part Two, those with HBO Max subscriptions can also tide themselves over by watching (and re-watching) the franchise’s first installment. You'll have plenty of time to do so, as the new movie doesn't open in theaters until March 15, 2024.