'Dune 3' in the Works With Director Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve
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The celebrated filmmaker is developing a third film in the franchise with Legendary Entertainment.

In the wake of Dune: Part Two shattering box office expectations, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve may get the opportunity to further explore the rich universe of Frank Herbert's Dune series.

The celebrated director -- who helmed the first two Dune films -- is set to reteam with Legendary to develop another installment of the high-concept space opera, ET has learned. 

It's unclear exactly which of the many sequel novels -- if any -- Villeneuve might adapt for the third film, or if it will blend multiple elements from different parts of the expansive source material.

ET has reached out to Warner Bros. -- distributors of the first two Dune films -- for comment.

Villeneuve has built a rock-solid reputation as a cinematic pioneer for his work on Dune, as well as the critically beloved Blade Runner 2049 (2017), the groundbreaking sci-fi drama Arrival (2016), and the acclaimed crime dramas Sicario (2015) and Prisoners (2013), among others.

It seems that Villeneuve will also be turning his unique filmmaking vision towards adapting Annie Jacobsen's new nonfiction book Nuclear War: A Scenario, which hit shelves in March and explains in harrowing detail what could and likely would happen in the event of a modern nuclear war, and the aftermath.

Legendary optioned the feature film rights to the book, and Villeneuve is in discussions with the studio to produce the film -- alongside his producing partner, Tanya Lapointe -- as well as adapt the nonfiction tome for the big screen, and possibly direct as well.

As for Dune: Part Two, which hit theaters on Mar. 1, the star-studded epic has become the highest-grossing film of 2024 thus far, with an impressive worldwide haul of $630 million and an incredible 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Back in February, ET's Nischelle Turner spoke with stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, and the pair shared their thoughts on how the sequel explores the romance between their characters -- Paul Atreides and Chani -- and how it proved to be a little awkward at times.

The pair has now worked together on the franchise for nearly five years and are close off screen, but totally platonic. Both are currently in high-profile relationships of their own -- Zendaya with Tom Holland and Chalamet with Kylie Jenner.

"It's definitely strange," Zendaya admitted. "I think both of us are just like, 'Alright. This is our job. OK, we're going to do this.'"

"It's weird as hell, 'cause we're so close, platonically," Chalamet agreed. "In the scope of the movie, it's totally what is happening, but I also feel like we are so tight now that it really is just like another day at work."

"I don't know what that says about the nature of our jobs," he joked, "but it's just another day of work."

Meanwhile, Zendaya praised Villeneuve for his deft ability to balance the humanity of the characters with the story's epic scope and scale.

"In this specific love story, I think we're so grateful to have Denis at the helm of this very special thing," she reflected. "He always found a way to somehow -- amongst all of the epicness that is the Dune universe -- find a way to carve out a very sentimental, beautiful love story that is, I feel, in many respects, earned."