Everything you need to know about Dune: Messiah

With Dune: Part Two out now, we look at what the third film in the series might look like

Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in Dune
Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet are expected to return for Dune: Messiah. (Warner Bros.)

Dune: Part Two has dominated the box office since being released in March 2024 and people are now talking about the film's follow-up, Dune: Messiah, aka Dune 3.

The second book in Frank Herbert's Dune saga, released in 1969, is very different to what viewers may have come to expect from the film franchise. But director Denis Villeneuve has already started planning how he will adapt it.

Here is everything we know so far, and has been said about the adaptation.

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two
Dune: Messiah will follow Paul Atreides as he goes down a much darker path and prove he's not a hero, as Frank Herbert intended. (Warner Bros./Legendary)

While an official release date has yet to be confirmed, rumours have already started swirling that the film has secured a debut date of 18 December 2026. The fuel behind these fires comes from a release date switch-up issued by Warner Bros. after it swapped out a 'Untitled WB Family Event Film' for something they're calling an 'Untitled WB/Legendary/Denis Villeneuve Event Film in IMAX'.

Unless you have your head in the sand, that sure sounds like it could be Dune: Messiah.

Read more: Dune Part Two review: Timothée Chalamet shines in masterful sci-fi epic

Following the success of Dune: Part Two at the box office, Dune: Messiah was swiftly green-lit. Variety reported in April 2024 that Legendary is working with Villeneuve to make the third film, as well as as adaptation of Nuclear War: A Scenario.

Composer Hans Zimmer told Variety in February 2024 that he was already working on the music for the third film saying: "Guess who hasn’t stopped writing?"

Villeneuve first broached the subject of making the threequel in the summer of 2023, when he told Empire Magazine it would "be a dream" to do so, but it would be much darker when it comes to the story of Paul Atreides — as Herbert intended.

The director told the publication: "If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream. Dune Messiah was written in reaction to the fact that people perceived Paul Atreides as a hero. Which is not what he wanted to do. My adaptation is closer to his idea that it's actually a warning."

Denis Villeneuve (left) has said he is almost finished with the script for Dune: Messiah, but that he doesn't want to rush the process of making it. (Warner Bros.)
Denis Villeneuve (left) has said he is almost finished with the script for Dune: Messiah, but that he doesn't want to rush the process of making it. (Warner Bros.)

He told a press conference in December 2023 that the Dune: Messiah screenplay is "almost finished". But the director admitted he doesn't think it will be his next project because it is important for him not to rush the process.

"I don't know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis," Villeneuve said at the event. "I might make a detour before just to go away from the sun. For my mental sanity I might do something in between, but my dream would be to go a last time on this planet that I love."

The director also told The Times: "There is absolutely a desire to have a third one, but I don't want to rush it. The danger in Hollywood is that people get excited and only think about release dates, not quality."

With that in mind, perhaps it is best that Dune fans remain patient when it comes to Dune: Messiah.

Florence Pugh in a still from the trailer for Dune: Part Two
Florence Pugh's Princess Irulan, who was introduced in Dune: Part Two, will have a much bigger role in Dune: Messiah. (Warner Bros.)

Official cast details have not yet been confirmed for Dune: Messiah, but it is expected that Timothée Chalamet, Zedaya, Florence Pugh, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin will all return. Given the importance of Paul's sister Alia to the story, Anya Taylor-Joy is also expected to appear in the film following her brief cameo in Dune: Part Two.

Read more: Josh Brolin on Goonies 2, Jonah Hex and falling in love with Austin Butler on Dune

The Arrival filmmaker spoke to Radio Times about making Dune: Messiah, and said that Pugh will have a much bigger role in the next film should it come to pass. He said: "I approached [Pugh] saying to her that Irulan will have the same journey from Part Two to the next movie as Chani [had] from Part One to Part Two.

"In Part One, we barely touch Chani — she was just, like, a ghost, a dream. She was introduced at the end of Part One and then she became one of the main characters of Part Two, and it will be the same for Irulan."

Dune: Messiah is coming soon.