Frank Herbert’s Dune took a while to become a bestseller, but once it did, the book’s popularity essentially allowed Herbert to spend the rest of his life writing Dune sequels. Herbert penned six Dune novels in total, including Dune MessiahChildren of DuneGod Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune.

Denis Villeneuve’s film of Dune adapted just half of Herbert’s original book; the upcoming sequel, Dune: Part Two, finishes that first book off. And Villeneuve has made no secret of his desire to make a third Dune, based on the events of Dune Messiah, effectively turning his diptych into a trilogy.

The third film isn’t official yet, although work on the screenplay is already underway. If it happens, though, it will almost certainly be Villeneuve’s final Dune. During a wide-ranging profile with Time Magazine, he confirmed that “Dune Messiah should be the last Dune movie for me.”

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I imagine some viewers might feel a little bit frustrated to learn that this new Dune, which was initially sold as the conclusion of the story, might actually be its middle chapter. On the other hand, Villeneuve’s Dune was the rare blockbuster movie that was as smart and as thoughtful as it was beautiful and thrilling. So I’d be curious about however many Dune movies he wants to make — even if, according to their Wikipedia plot summaries, some of those later Dunes get mighty wacky. (I kind of hope we get to see the dude who becomes half-human, half-sandworm.)

Dune: Part Two is scheduled to open in theaters on March 1. One assumes that its box-office performance will determine whether Villeneuve gets to make his Dune Messiah, just as Warner Bros. didn‘t officially give him the go-ahead to make Part Two until Dune became a critical and commercial hit.

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