Will There Be a 'Dune' Sequel? Everything to Know About Timothée Chalamet's Hit New Sci-Fi Film

Dune, an epic movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, debuted No. 1 at the box office over the weekend

(L-r) ZENDAYA as Chani and TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary release.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Fans across the country are getting to know the world of Dune.

The highly anticipated science-fiction movie debuted in first place at the domestic box office over the weekend, exposing new audiences to the influential work of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel while treating die-hard fans to an epic new interpretation.

Moviegoers may have been left with questions by the time credits rolled (what exactly is "spice" anyways?), so read on for what to know about the future of a potential Dune franchise. Warning: There are mild spoilers ahead.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

What is Dune about?

The film is an adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name, telling (the beginning of) the story of a prince-like character named Paul Atreides who finds himself in charge of a desert planet called Arrakis. On Arrakis, native people defend themselves from outsiders who mine their land for spice, a mystical substance that's valuable enough to cause wars over.

For more on Dune and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Like most stories that follow a hero's journey (think Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.), Dune's Paul is believed to be "the one" who will help save those who are trampled by greedy outsiders like Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who would kill for monopoly on spice.

There's political intrigue at play, too, since Paul's mother taught him the way of her people, the Bene Gesserit, granting him special power that can allow them to talk people into obeying their commands.

Who is in the cast?

Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul, with his parents Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica Atreides played by Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson respectively. Additionally, Zendaya portrays Chani, the woman from Arrakis who is literally of Paul's dreams.

The star-studded cast also includes Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Dave Bautista and Charlotte Rampling.

Chalamet, 25, recently told Time about the movie's modern-day relevance, "Dune was written 60 years ago, but its themes hold up today: A warning against the exploitation of the environment, a warning against colonialism, a warning against technology."

RELATED VIDEO: Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet on Their Instant Chemistry While Making Dune: 'She Was Like a Breath of Fresh Air'

Will there be Dune sequels?

Spoiler alert: Zendaya's Chani says in the final moments of the film that this is "only the beginning." The movie essentially covers half of the book, meaning director Denis Villeuneve saved more material for a follow-up film or two — though nothing has been formally announced yet.

The director told the Los Angeles Times some of what he envisions for a potential sequel: "There are some characters that are less developed that I'm keeping for the second film — that's the way I found the equilibrium. We tried in this movie to stay as close as possible to Paul's experience. Then, in the second one, I will have time to develop some characters that were left aside a little bit. That's the theory. I hope it will work."

An executive at WarnerMedia, the studio behind the film, teased to Deadline last week, "Will we have a sequel to Dune? If you watch the movie you see how it ends. I think you pretty much know the answer to that."

A Dune: The Sisterhood television series is also reportedly in the works at HBO Max, according to Variety.

Are there other Dune iterations?

Twin Peaks filmmaker David Lynch wrote and directed a film version of Dune that was released in 1984. The adaptation starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul and Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan. In the years since, Lynch, 75, has expressed that it wasn't his proudest achievement, saying since he didn't get "final cut" on the film, it's not the final product he intended to make.

DUNE, Francesca Annis, Kyle MacLachlan, 1984
Dune (1984). Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Villeuneve told Yahoo! Entertainment back in 2017, per IndieWire, that while he respected the 1984 movie for what it is, he wanted his take on the iconic story to translate differently.

"David Lynch did an adaptation in the '80s that has some very strong qualities. I mean, David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him. But when I saw his adaptation, I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I'm trying to make the adaptation of my dreams," the Arrival auteur said at the time. "It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie. I'm going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it."

Speaking of the books, there's plenty more where this came from. Herbert wrote five Dune sequels, and his son Brian wrote several further sequels, prequels and spin-offs.

Dune is now playing in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max.

Related Articles