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The unprecedented Rotten Tomatoes score achieved by Dune 2 presents an incredibly daunting task for the upcoming Dune 3

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The unprecedented critical acclaim for Denis Villenueve’s Dune: Part Two has set an almost insurmountable challenge for Dune 3, especially given the complexity of its source material. Dune: Part Two continues the story from where the 2021 film left off, adapting the second half of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 novel. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%, Dune: Part Two has already cemented its place among the greatest films of all time, alongside classics like Apocalypse Now and The Godfather.

Scheduled for release in theaters on March 1, 2023, with select preview screenings available on February 29, Dune 2 is poised to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2024, dominating the box office throughout the Spring months. The film boasts an all-star cast, including returning favorites and new additions like Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, and Anya Taylor-Joy, creating an iconic ensemble. Dune 2 is expected to be the first major cultural event since 2023’s “Barbenheimer,” just one week before the 96th Academy Awards.

Dune 3 is facing a significant challenge in trying to match the Rotten Tomatoes score achieved by Dune 2

The impressive 97% Rotten Tomatoes score for Dune: Part Two bodes well for its box office success and potential awards season recognition next year. However, the high critical acclaim also presents a challenge for the upcoming Dune 3, as it will inevitably be compared to its predecessor and face the daunting task of matching its near-perfect score. With critics already hailing Dune: Part Two as Denis Villeneuve’s greatest cinematic achievement, the franchise may follow in the footsteps of iconic sequels like The Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Knight.

Dune: Part Two will bring the events of the first book to a close, setting the stage for the third film to adapt the second book, Dune: Messiah. Published in 1969, Dune: Messiah takes the story to even stranger places and presents a potentially difficult adaptation challenge. Villeneuve, who will write and direct Dune 3, has nearly completed the screenplay but plans to take a break to explore other projects before diving into production, according to Variety.

The third installment of Dune is expected to be vastly distinct from its preceding parts 1 and 2

Similarly, Dune 3 will likely diverge from the previous two films in terms of tone and themes. With the groundwork already laid, the filmmakers can delve deeper into the complex political and philosophical themes that make the Dune universe so rich and fascinating. Additionally, the events of Dune 2 will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the characters and their motivations in the third installment, leading to new conflicts and challenges. Overall, fans can expect a more mature and nuanced exploration of the Dune universe in the upcoming film.

The prolonged development of Dune 3 will ultimately benefit from the Rotten Tomatoes score of Dune 2

With the immense anticipation surrounding Dune: Part Two and the shift in storyline from Dune to Dune: Messiah, it would be wise for Villeneuve and Warner Bros. to allow some breathing room between the release of Dune 2 and Dune 3. Originally scheduled for release in October 2023, Dune: Part Two was delayed due to the WGA and SAG strikes of 2023. Even Villeneuve has expressed a desire to give the franchise some space. As a result, Dune: Messiah may not hit theaters until 2026 or 2027 at the earliest.

A delayed release for Dune 3 would be beneficial for the franchise, allowing the impact of Dune: Part Two to resonate and giving Dune 3 a fair chance to succeed. It would be challenging for Dune 3 to follow Dune 2 quickly, even if it is financially advantageous for Warner Bros. to capitalize on the success of the previous film. A longer gap, as Villeneuve has planned, would align with the time jump between books and help Dune 3 establish its own identity without being directly compared to Dune: Part Two.

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