Dune’s Denis Villeneuve Thought Blade Runner 2049 Would End His Filmmaking Career

Dune’s Denis Villeneuve Thought Blade Runner 2049 Would End His Filmmaking Career
Villeneuve's road to Dune was an unsteady one. (Image: Warner Bros.)

In a few weeks, Dune will finally hit theatres in North America. Director-writer Denis Villeneuve knows how lucky he is to adapt Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic, mostly because he didn’t think he’d still be directing at all after Blade Runner 2049.

During an episode of MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast earlier this week, Villeneuve talked about how the 2017 film affected his outlook on his career. “I knew when I did this movie I flirted with disaster,” he admitted. Acclaimed critically though it was, it was financially a non-starter, making $355 million (AUD) globally, and was basically a dud in the United States. To him, making the Ryan Gosling-starring film put him into “artistic danger,” and he was worried that he wouldn’t be making movies again after that. “At least I wasn’t banned from the filmmaker community,” he quipped. “I’m still making movies, and you’re still talking to me.”

Still, whatever lack of financial success Blade Runner 2049 had, it doesn’t seem to have mattered in the long run. In the four years since its release, the Blade Runner franchise has seen multiple comic releases that have expanded its world, not to mention Adult Swim and Crunchyroll’s Black Lotus anime arriving next month. The franchise seems to be doing fine now, as most franchises do after a few years on ice, and it’s likely that we’ll see another film eventually… just maybe not with another 40-year gap.

Given how beloved properties like Dune and Blade Runner are in pop culture, it’s understandable how much pressure that would put on the Canadian director. While it helps provide some context to his clear desire to make that second Dune film and get involved with its spinoff series, it doesn’t fully let him off the hook for being so insistent on seeing the movie in theatres. Even if the movie bombs and he leaves filmmaking altogether, all his work will eventually hit the boob tube.

Dune will arrive in Australian cinemas on December 2.