It’s only been a couple of months since Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune dropped its first, mind-blowing trailer, but fans are still ready to watch Timothée Chalamet launch into the modern adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi odyssey. Of course, with the door-stopping length of that first book, there has always been a plan to split the story in two, with the idea being that a sequel would adapt the rest. While we don’t know where that exact border lies, Dune writer Eric Roth has revealed that at the very least, this film does cover the first half rather nicely.
Speaking with Collider on behalf of the awards run for Netflix’s Mank, the conversation with Roth turned to the subject of Dune. Poised to be one of Warner Bros’ 2021 blockbusters, even after a delay of almost one whole calendar year, the way the story is being divided is something that devotees to the 1965 novel are mentally pacing over. Assuring the public of Dune’s content, Eric Roth said,
It’s completely the first half. Yeah. I didn't know when we started, so I think I adapted a little more than the first half and started going into the second half of the book. But I've seen the film, it's pretty much the first half.
It may feel a bit unconventional to have something as large as Dune only half adapted for now, even while noting that writer Jon Spaihts has already worked on a draft of the second half to Dune without an official greenlight. But it’s not like the stakes of the scenario have escaped those that are in the know about this gigantic gamble of a production.
Director Denis Villeneuve has always been particular about his relationship with the story of Dune, so clearly whatever decisions have been made are ones he’s co-signed (though that doesn’t count the time that Warner Bros announced the movie would simultaneously premiere on HBO Max, without considering the thoughts of production company Legendary or even Villeneuve himself). Barring that special case, the train seems to have run rather smoothly, and in the most extreme case blowing the minds of stars like Jason Momoa in its wake.
But there’s still the ever present threat that Dune’s second half will not come to pass, which means that while this initial adventure will surely cover a lot of ground but also may need a way to tie up loose ends. If cinematographer Greig Fraser is to be believed, the movie that we're getting will definitely stand alone as an awe-inspiring experience. October 1 will be the day of judgement, as Dune makes itself known to spice jockeys, veteran and novice, everywhere.