Dune: Part Two | It’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ says Christopher Nolan

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Christopher Nolan describes Dune: Part Two as “an incredibly exciting expansion” of the first film, comparing it favourably to The Empire Strikes Back.

We’d be excited if Christopher Nolan complimented a cup of tea we’d made, so to have him praise a film you’ve spent the past few years of your life making must be quite a thrill.

Director Denis Villeneuve was the recipient of said praise in a clip shared on Twitter/X by Raiders of the Lost Podcast (and picked up by World of Reel). In it, Nolan describes Dune: Part Two as an “incredibly exciting expansion” of what Villeneuve established in the first Dune, and even goes so far as to compare it favourably to The Empire Strikes Back.

The clip appears to have been taken at an IMAX screening of the film somewhere, possibly in Los Angeles, with Nolan and Villeneuve shown seated at the foot of a steeply-sloping row of seats – exactly the kind of arrangement you tend to get in an IMAX cinema.

“For me… if Dune Part One was Star Wars, this is to me was The Empire Strikes Back,” said Nolan, “which is my favourite of the Star Wars films. I think it’s an incredibly exciting expansion of all the things you introduced in the first one.”

Villeneuve, quite understandably, responded that this was a “massive compliment,” and went on to describe his own memories of biking several miles to watch The Empire Strikes Back as a youth.

Let’s face it, Nolan isn’t the kind of person who’d insult another filmmaker to their face – “you suck and this is your Starcrash” would have been a far more shocking pronouncement – but it’s an interesting comment all the same. Star Wars fans rarely agree on much, but the general consensus is that The Empire Strikes Back is the yardstick by which other space operas are judged – so to hear Dune: Part Two described in the same breath is an encouraging sign.

For his part, Villeneuve also heaped praise on Nolan, describing him as “the most important filmmaker of our time” as he introduced the director at the same venue.

Dune: Part Two is out in UK cinemas on the 1st March.

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