'Dune' sequel finally confirmed, set for cinema-only release in 2023

Director Denis Villeneuve lobbied hard for a sequel for his film that has so far grossed $225 million worldwide

Zendaya in a scene from 'Dune', which was also shot in the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi. YouTube
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Dune isn't done.

Legendary Entertainment announced on Tuesday that Denis Villeneuve's Dune, which adapts the first half of Frank Herbert's 1965 science-fiction epic, will get a sequel. Whether that would be the case had been an unanswered question throughout the film's release, which was delayed a year by the pandemic, and debuted both in cinemas and on HBO Max.

Warner Bros chairman Toby Emmerich said the studio will release Dune: Part II in October 2023. This time, the release is expected to be exclusively in cinemas. Arguing that Dune belonged to the big screen, Villeneuve had protested passionately when Warner Bros turned to hybrid releases for all of its 2021 films owing to the pandemic.

But Villeneuve had lobbied hard for a sequel to Dune, which he has said is easily the best movie he's made. It stars Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa and Zendaya. Some actors, like Zendaya, would potentially have a larger role in part two.

"This is only the beginning," said Villeneuve.

Over the weekend, Dune launched with a solid $40.1 million in ticket sales in US and Canadian cinemas. The 155-minute film that introduces itself as "Part 1" has thus far grossed $225 million worldwide.

The $165m production was shot in Hungary, Norway, Jordan and Abu Dhabi.

Much of the film is set in the dangerous planet Arrakis, known for its exclusive supply of Spice, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.

“When the producers were looking to the UAE, the brief wasn’t about a big desert landscape,” producer Robbie McAree of Epic Films, which provided production services for Dune, said in September.

In a behind-the-scenes video released by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Villeneuve revealed what drew him to Liwa as a central location for the film.

"What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There’s a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerising," he said.

"There’s also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city, it's like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see pictures from Dune's London premiere:

- Additional reporting by Associated Press

Updated: October 27, 2021, 8:28 AM