Why Denis Villeneuve Is Glad His Original Plan For Dune Fell Through

Denis Villeneuve has worked some cinematic magic by making not one but two successful "Dune" movies, especially since for years people considered Frank Herbert's sci-fi tome to be unadaptable (just ask David Lynch, who notoriously doesn't care for his film adaptation of "Dune," even though I personally think it's pretty good). Villeneuve broke Herbert's book in half, starting off with "Dune" released in 2021, and then continuing things with this year's "Dune: Part Two" (you can read our review right here). While Villeneuve always intended to make two films (the first movie's title card proclaimed it to be "Dune: Part One" before a second film was even officially given the green light in the public), he didn't shoot the movies back to back — there was a bit of a gap between productions.

But as it turns out, that wasn't the original plan. According to Villeneuve himself, his initial goal was to shoot "Dune" and "Dune: Part Two" back-to-back, similar to what Peter Jackson did with his glorious "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But that's not how things worked out. And as Villeneuve sees it, that's probably a good thing. 

Denis Villeneuve is glad he didn't shoot both Dune films back-to-back

As mentioned above, Peter Jackson famously shot the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy back to back. The Wachowskis used a similar approach with the first two "Matrix" sequels. And at one point, Denis Villeneuve was going to do the same thing with "Dune" and "Dune: Part Two." But as he told Screen Rant, it didn't work out that way — and that was for the best. "Maybe I would be dead?" he laughed, before continuing: "[I]t would have been absolutely exhausting physically, because both movies required a very long shoot in very difficult conditions. Even more for Part Two, which we spent much more time in the desert."

Villeneuve added that he's "grateful" they didn't shoot the films back-to-back, saying: "I think that I was protected by the gods of cinema, because it allowed me to recover and to learn from everything I learned technically on Part One, which gave me clues how to improve and make a better movie with Part Two. And that was possible because of the way we did it." 

While shooting both films back-to-back could've worked, Villeneuve is probably correct that it was wise to take a breather. The results speak for themselves: "Dune: Part Two" is a big hit, and folks seem to like it even more than the first film. Maybe that wouldn't have happened if things had worked out differently for the production.