Dune’s Planned Future Is Bad News For A Rival Sci-Fi Franchise

By Tommy Lethbridge Published 8 minutes ago

Ahead of Dune: Part Two, it’s clear that Denis Villeneuve is determined to finish his epic story. This will have repercussions for another franchise.

Dune's Planned Future Is Bad News For A Rival Sci-Fi Franchise


  • Villeneuve's plans for Dune 3 signal exciting expansion, but may spell trouble for Avatar's legacy in the sci-fi genre.
  • Dune's meticulous world-building and depth outshine Avatar's superficial setting, potentially overshadowing its impact.
  • Despite Avatar's massive box office success, Dune's storytelling prowess could challenge its place in sci-fi history over time.


Denis Villeneuve's ambitious plans for the Dune franchise's future are exciting for fans but bad news for another cinematic sci-fi series. Despite the herculean task of adapting Frank Herbert's unwieldy source material, Villeneuve has impressed both fans of the original novel and new audiences with Dune's depth, story, and intricate world-building. As the story continues with Part Two and possible future installments, scrutiny of other similar sagas will only increase.

Much as he did ahead of Dune: Part One, Denis Villeneuve has already signaled his intentions to make a third film in his successful series. In an interview with Empire, the Canadian-born director declared that making a third film would be "a dream", hinting that there are already "words on paper" for the prospective three-quel. Dune 3 would use Herbert's own follow-up, Dune Messiah as its basis, continuing the story of Paul Atreides against the backdrop of an intergalactic holy war. Such an expansion would obviously be exciting. Yet, because of Dune's status, it could also be a negative for genre rivals &- including one successful series.

Dune 3 Would Be Bad News For Avatar


Dune's expansion as a franchise will inevitably draw comparisons with other properties in the science fiction genre. While the story shares similarities with legacy series like Star Wars, Dune's emergence is much more threatening to the status of contemporary series such as James Cameron's Avatar. Like Dune, Avatar is set on a distant world and features alien populations, fantastical creatures, and themes of colonialism and rebellion. However, looking beyond superficial likenesses, the depth and detail on display in Herbert's story and Villeneuve's interpretation make Avatar seem increasingly lightweight.

One of the biggest criticisms of Cameron's movies is that, beyond the visual splendor, the actual Avatar universe is poorly filled out. The motivations for the human invaders and the wider status of their civilization, for instance, are fairly insubstantial, while the story often takes a back seat to impressive effects. By contrast, Dune is notorious for the depth and detail of its world-building, establishing unique religions, cultures, and philosophies within its plot. Consequently, the longer the Dune franchise goes on, the poorer Avatar's beautiful but shallow setting will seem.

Dune Is Unlikely To Spoil Avatar's Box Office, But Might Wreck Its Legacy

Dune's Planned Future Is Bad News For A Rival Sci-Fi Franchise

While Dune's legacy among sci-fi aficionados is almost unsurpassed, the movies' financial impact is dwarfed by Avatar. Both James Cameron's 2009 original and its long-awaited follow-up rank among the highest-grossing movies of all time, making over $5 billion between them. Compared to Dune: Part One's $434 million and the 1984 film's $30.9 million, Avatar is a blockbuster behemoth.


Box Office


$237 million

$2.923 billion

Avatar: The Way Of Water

$350-460 million

$2.32 billion

Dune: Part One

$165 million

$434.8 million

Dune (1984)

$40-42 million

$30.9-37.2 million

Nevertheless, despite Avatar's outsized impact, the successful release of Dune: Part Two and a prospective Part Three could mean disaster for the franchise's legacy. Much of Avatar's success is predicated on its ground-breaking use of technology, utilizing never-before-seen techniques and effects to bring its world to life. However, in the future when these techniques are much more commonplace, the Avatar movies will have to rely on more than novelty factor. In this case, the power of the story told in Dune will only make Avatar's comparatively thin characters and narrative feel all the more flimsy.

Source: Empire

Created by Frank Herbert First Film Dune (1984)

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