Denis Villeneuve’s Next Mystery Movie Will Compete With Star Wars

Denis Villeneuve’s Next Mystery Movie Will Compete With Star Wars

After spending several years on Arrakis, director Denis Villeneuve said he wanted to go somewhere else for his next project. And while we don’t know “where” that is, we do know “when.” Warner Bros. just set a December 18, 2026 release date for Villenuve’s next movie, which is described as an “event film.” It better be too, because, as it stands now, the other movie set to release on that date is a new Star Wars film.

In the aftermath of Dune: Part Two’s release earlier this year, Villeneuve not only spoke about making a third Dune, Dune Messiah, but was attached to at least one other project. That’s Nuclear War, based on a non-fiction book by Annie Jacobsen that attempts to paint a realistic picture of what an actual nuclear war, and its fallout, would look like. This 2026 film could be that or, in a huge twist, it might actually be Dune Messiah. Deadline seems to think it’s Dune and the Hollywood Reporter teases the same. It’s unclear for certain though.

What is clear however is Warner Bros. isn’t messing around with whatever the title is. As of now, the untitled Star Wars film (presumably the Rey movie) is the only film to have a release date in December 2026. The whole rest of the month is empty. If it is Dune Messiah, why would the studio pick that specific date to go up against Star Wars? It could pick literally any other date. But no, it specifically picked December 18 which could mean it’s counter-programming to Star Wars—like some kind of big Oscar-bait thing–or the studio doesn’t believe Star Wars will happen. There’s no way it would release Dune Messiah the same day as a Star Wars movie, right?

Either way, if anyone could release a film to compete with Star Wars, it’s Denis Villeneuve. And Dune would be just the thing too.

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