Pre-production on Dune: Part Two is set to begin next week, according to director Denis Villeneuve.
A sequel to the hit 2021 film was officially announced last October after the new film earned over $40million at the US box office in its opening weekend. It will land in October 2023.
Speaking to ET Canada at a pre-Oscars event celebrating Oscar nominees from Canada, Villeneuve said of the sequel: “It’s gonna be intense. I’m in prep right now. Monday morning, as soon as we leave Los Angeles, it will be to start to go on with prep.”
Of what to expect, he added: “I cannot say nothing about the movie – I don’t like to talk about projects as I am doing them – but it’s probably going to be the biggest challenge of my career, again, because it’s even more complex than part 1.”
Elsewhere, Villeneuve has teased a more significant role for Zendaya in the upcoming sequel.
In a new interview on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, director Villeneuve discussed the follow-up to the film, and that Zendaya’s small role in the first Dune would be significantly expanded upon in the sequel.
He said: “For Zendaya, I will say Part One was a promise. I know that we saw a glimpse of her in Part One, but in Part Two, she’ll have a prominent part. We will follow Timothée [Chalamet] and Zendaya on their adventures in the desert. That’s the thing that excited me most about going back to Arrakis is to spend time with those characters again.”
Villeneuve also addressed rumours that Florence Pugh is signed up for Dune: Part Two, saying that he is a “big fan of Florence” put that “things are not solidified” yet with regards to her appearance in the sequel.
Dune, which concludes at the halfway point of Frank Herbert’s novel, stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Dave Bautista and David Dastmalchian.
In NME’s four-star review, Dune is described as lacking in closure but “the sheer ambition on display here means you get plenty of bang for your buck”.
The review added: “After two hours and 35 minutes, Dune’s lack of closure feels irksome to say the least. The average cinemagoer might not have realised they need to come back for another round – and there’s little about Dune‘s marketing to help them twig.”
Dune is nominated for a host of awards at tomorrow night’s (March 27) Oscars, including Best Picture. See the full list of nominations here.