Dune's cinematic journey has been a long and arduous one. After a critically-panned David Lynch adaptation and a fabled attempt from Alejandro Jodorowsky, it seemed as if a good adaptation of Frank Herbert's scifi novel was never going to happen. Then, in 2021, director Denis Villeneuve did what some said would be impossible with Dune: Part One, a critically-acclaimed, box office smash. And now, the much-anticipated sequel is at last in theaters.
This is great news for Dune fans who have already dipped their feet into the scorching desert sands of Arrakis, but possibly confusing for anyone who might be learning about spice and sandworms for the very first time. After all, with so many attempts and re-attempts to tell the same story (did you know Dune was on television as well?), how would you know where to even start?
But don't panic. That's where Popverse's Dune watch order comes in. (Don't worry, we promise it's not as complicated or convoluted as it seems!)
First, we'll tackle the Dune universe in chronological order. Be warned that this timeline covers hundreds of thousands of years in the novels, and there are some pretty major time-skips for the shows and movies as well.
Dune universe in chronological order
The Dune universe operates in the distant future - so far that they've adopted a diffent numbering system for years. Instead of AD as we use, it's AG - as in 'After Guild' - meaning after the establishment of the Spacing Guild, the group responsible for controlling interstellar travel. The movie versions so far have taken place around 10191 AG, but with shows like Dune: Prophecy, we'll be seeing some ten thousand years prior to this date.
- ~100 AG, about 10000 years prior to Dune - Dune: Prophecy (TV Series, 2024)
- 10191 AG - Dune (1984)
- 10191 AG - Dune (TV Mini Series, 2000)
- 10191 AG - Dune: Part One (2021)
- 10191 AG - Dune: Part Two (2024)
- ~10216 AG - Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (TV Mini Series, 2003)
Release order is a bit more straight forward for Dune, and looks a little something like this.
Dune universe in release order
- Dune (1984)
- Dune (TV Mini Series, 2000)
- Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (TV Mini Series 2003)
- Dune: Part One (2021)
- Dune: Part Two (2024)
- Dune: Prophecy (TV series, 2024)
Okay, wait. What's the differences between Dune, Dune, and Dune: Part One/Part 2?
Dune (1984), Dune (2000), and Dune: Part One/Dune: Part Two, are all, functionally, the exact same story -- though you might struggle to realize that watching them back-to-back. All four movies are adapting Frank Herbert's Dune, the first novel in the series with vastly different creative approaches. The 1984 version was famously directed by art house auteur David Lynch (and featured Sting in a sci-fi speedo), while the 2000 TV mini series was significantly lower budget and angled for more mainstream TV viewers. Meanwhile, Dune Part One and Two are massive, big budget blockbusters made with cutting edge visual effects and A-list casts.
That said, because they're all working from the same source material and covering the same parts of the franchise, you could really watch them in any order you'd like!
What's going on with Dune's timeline?
Dune's timeline is massive and intimidating, stretching across multiple millenia, but the roots and origins of the story actually rests in a version of reality. Dune imagines a far flung future that started here on Earth in the present day (or, a present day imagined in the '60s, when the novel was written) where technology became so advanced and able to "think like men" that it sparked a massive war. The resulting war ended with a sweeping decree: no technology that replicates human thought shall ever be built again.
Now, fast forward thousands upon thousands of years and this technology-less society has evolved into other facets of life, bereft of computers they have spent generations honing and training other abilities within the human body, creating all sorts of new ways to "compute" things -- some that even look and feel like magic. Add to this a space program that had as many spiritual implications as it did mechanical ones and you've got the recepie for some pretty intense sci-fi world building.
The Dune stories in their adapted forms usually take place in around 10191 AG, but with shows like Dune: Prophecy, we'll be seeing some ten thousand years prior to this date. Meanwhile, Children of Dune jumped ahead a generation or so. The novels, meanwhile, sweep thousands upon thousands of years in either direction.
Where can I watch Dune?
Dune: Part 1 is currently available to stream on Max. The TV Mini Series, Dune and Children of Dune, are also available on Max. Dune (1984) is available on Max and Hulu. We can assume that Dune: Part 2 will arrive on Max sometime after its release, while Dune: Prophecy is planning a streaming release on Max right from the start once it begins to air.
Will there be a Dune 3?
As of right now, we don't know! Denis Villeneuve, has teased the possibility of making a third movie based on Dune: Messiah, but as of right now there has been no confirmation that the project is moving forward. It will likely come down to the success of Dune: Part 2 before we hear either way.
Need more spice (heh) in your life? Popverse has all the Dune coverage you could want. Let us tell you what sequels and TV show prequels are planned for after Dune: Part Two and which Frank Herbert story Denis Villeneuve believes would make a great Dune: Part Three.