Christopher Nolan Heaps the Highest Praise on Dune 2 as Denis Villeneuve’s Sequel Gets Compared to The Dark Knight in Early Reactions

While early reactions to Dune: Part Two compare it to 'The Dark Knight,' director Christopher Nolan believes it's Denis Villeneuve's 'The Empire Strikes Back.'

Christopher Nolan Heaps the Highest Praise on Dune 2 as Denis Villeneuve’s Sequel Gets Compared to The Dark Knight in Early Reactions


  • Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve were seen engaged in a discussion at the recent IMAX screening of Tenet (2020) at AMC CityWalk.
  • In their conversation, the former director bestowed the highest honor upon Villeneuve's upcoming Dune: Part Two.
  • Nolan believes that if Dune (2021) was Star Wars (1977), the second film compares to The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
  • Additionally, early reactions to the 2024 sci-fi epic have compared the endeavor to Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008).
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The anticipation surrounding Dune: Part Two can be barely contained. As it’s slowly inching towards its release, it has been compared to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, as per reports of its early reactions. Not only that, the helmer of the Christian Bale starrer, whose work the upcoming Denis Villeneuve-helmed epic is being likened to, has bestowed upon it an even higher praise.


He reportedly called it Villeneuve’s The Empire Strikes Back. 

Dune: Part Two (2024) and The Dark Knight (2008)
Dune: Part Two (2024) and The Dark Knight (2008)

According to a few who were in attendance, the Oppenheimer alum made this jaw-dropping statement at a special IMAX 70mm screening of Tenet (2020) hosted by Letterboxd. This was followed up with an exclusive sneak peek into Dune: Part Two and a live conversation between the two filmmakers at AMC CityWalk.


If these claims are to be believed, the upcoming sci-fi project is positioning itself for a cinematic impact on par with the most cherished films ever made.

Christopher Nolan’s Massive Praise For Dune: Part Two Amid The Dark Knight Comparisons

According to Denis Villeneuve Universe on X, the first reactions to the upcoming Dune sequel have linked the sci-fi epic to the Heath Ledger starring pop-culture phenomenon, The Dark Knight.

Such reports started circulating the online sphere amid the special IMAX screening of Tenet (2020) that was hosted last night. As mentioned, a sneak peek at Villeneuve’s alleged magnum opus was also offered. After that, a candid conversation between Nolan and the Dune helmer ensued. Also in attendance, the fan account Club Chalamet on X stated that Christopher Nolan has already viewed the forthcoming release.

Christopher Nolan called Dune: Part Two Denis Villeneuve's The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Christopher Nolan called Dune: Part Two Denis Villeneuve’s The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

And his verdict involved him drawing a parallel between Villeneuve’s project and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. As per a clip of the discussion posted by user @kenzvanunu (via X), Nolan can be heard stating the following:

“For me, if Dune Part One was ‘Star Wars,’ this [Part Two] … was very much The Empire Strikes Back, which is my favorite of the Star Wars films. It’s an … exciting expansion of [everything] you introduced in the first one.”

Denis Villeneuve appropriately responded, “I have to say to you, Chris. This is a massive compliment.” The Québécois director appeared to be as fascinated by the analogy as many others who’ve since reacted to the report. If Nolan’s claim resonates with critics and audiences after its release, Dune: Part Two will, without a doubt, stand tall as one of this year’s best cinematic initiatives.

The praise coming from Christopher Nolan is significant on its own. However, to have this Dune installment compared to one of the most beloved sequels to hit the movie screens is an honor that only a few can boast. The Star Wars film has endured a long-standing legacy in film history, changing the landscape for other mainstream endeavors. Its impact is indelible.

A still from Dune: Part Two (2024)
A still from Dune: Part Two (2024)

If Dune: Part Two is not only being compared to The Dark Knight—one of Nolan’s most acclaimed premises and a hallmark of franchise filmmaking that re-defined the superhero movie genre—but also The Empire Strikes Back, it must mean that it is slated to serve storytelling excellence. To say the anticipation among fans has skyrocketed after such reports would be underselling their reactions.

This isn’t the only thing that sparked netizens’ and film enthusiasts’ intrigue. Christopher Nolan had other elements of the Denis Villeneuve-helmed adaptation to underscore in his conversation with the latter. Based on what he said, fans’ expectations will be aptly satiated.

Christopher Nolan Was Awestruck by Dune: Part Two‘s Immersive World

A still from Dune: Part Two. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
A still from Dune: Part Two. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In another clip posted by X user @kenzvanunu, Christopher Nolan highlighted the elements of Dune: Part Two that particularly stood out to him. Praising the rich worldbuilding of the sequel, the director prefaced, “What I was really struck by is the sense of immersion in that world.” Remarking on the detailed execution, the Inception alum wondered how Denis Villeneuve could incorporate never-seen-before images into the premise—attributes that weren’t in Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel.


Following was his statement:

“It’s a film [with] so many unique images … things you’ve never seen before. […] I was so struck by the detail of everything. […] And they’re not all from the book.” 

Christopher Nolan’s statements allude to how the film has ramped up large-scale elements and their incorporation, expounding upon the overarching universe and surrounding details. With comparisons to The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back, the storyline is sure to be promising, too.

With how bizarrely well-received the first installment was, having revealed the scope of Villeneuve’s filmmaking, it’s only natural to be curious about how the upcoming project fares. With these recent reports, though, one can confirm that the fans of the material may not have much to worry about. It’s in safe hands, that’s for sure.


Dune: Part Two is slated for a March 1, 2024 release by Warner Bros. Pictures.


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.