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Dune sequel confirmed, set to come out in 2023

After Dune's successful opening weekend, Warner Bros. and Legendary announce the production of Dune: Part Two.

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The sequel will pick up right after Dune: Part One, closing out the events of the first novel.

Warner Bros./Legendary

There's been much anticipation for what's to come with a follow-up to director Denis Villeneuve's Dune, but we've now gotten confirmation that Dune: Part Two is moving forward. After a strong opening weekend in North America for Dune: Part One, in both theaters and on streaming via HBO Max, Warner Bros. and film production studio Legendary have announced the sequel, set for release in Oct. 2023.

The announcement came on social media, with the production companies and key actors revealing the news.

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Originally, Dune: Part One was supposed to come out in the Fall of 2020. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. shifted plans and touted the film as one of the key assets in its unorthodox strategy of offering a day-and-date release of tentpole films in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service. Though this caused concern among industry analysts and fans about finding success for the recent film, Dune's opening weekend in North America brought in more than $40 million (on top of the over $180 million haul from international markets), which was Warner Bros. highest opening for a film in theaters in 2021.

In the lead-up to Part One's North American release, there'd been some speculation about the fate of a sequel to Dune. The film's director said it would depend on the final success of the film at the box office and on streaming. But with the announcement, Villeneuve will get to continue his work on the Dune franchise.

"It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune, and I have the fans, the cast and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning," Villeneuve said after the announcement.

The sequel will pick up right after the current film, focusing on the continued struggles of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), as they join forces with the Fremen, a nomadic society led by Stilgar (Javier Bardem) and Channi (Zendaya) on the desert planet Arrakis. The second part will close out the original novel's story, which sees the different ruling houses of the universe at war.

Dune: Part One has been received favorably across the board, making for a successful adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel, which has been widely regarded as difficult to translate to film. In 1984, David Lynch directed the first major adaptation of the first Dune novel, but it appeared to unfavorable reviews and middling box office results. In 2000, there was also a Sci-Fi channel mini-series that split the first novel into three full-length episodes, and it was fairly well received by audiences.

In CNET's review of the first film, editor Richard Trenholm said that despite an abrupt ending, Dune: Part One was a worthy adaptation of Herbert's landmark sci-fi novel.

"If you loved Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, then Dune is perhaps Denis Villeneuve at his Villeneuviest," Trenholm said. "If you love sweeping military sci-fi with a dash of weirdness thrown in, Dune will be your jam. The muted palette and performances won't be to everyone's taste, but I could spend a lot more time in this world -- when the sequel finally arrives, anyway. Even if it doesn't deliver much of an ending, this new Dune is a hell of a beginning."

Along with Dune: Part Two, there's an exclusive HBO Max series in the works, called Dune: The Sisterhood, which'll focus on the Bene Gisseret sisterhood, a cabal of witches who manipulate the infrastructure of the universe in the far future. With the success of this current film, we should expect to hear more about what's to come in the Dune franchise soon.