When do the Dune movies take place?

Jakob Barnes
Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune

With multiple novels and a handful of movies now in existence, there are plenty of Dune-related questions to dive into. But context is important, so when does Dune take place, exactly?

Denis Villeneuve did an incredible job in reviving Dune back in 2021. The story had been deemed unfilmable previously, and David Lynch’s much-maligned attempt in 1984 did little to change that opinion.

The original series of Dune novels by Frank Herbert consisted of six books, and they’re so epic in scale that the futuristic world they depict is almost beyond comprehension. But, somehow, the Denis Villeneuve movies are perfect — as you can see from our Dune 2 review.

But, between all the spice and sandworms, this sci-fi saga can be pretty confusing. Like, when does Dune even take place? Well, we’ve got the answer for you right here.

When does Dune take place?

Frank Herbert’s novels were set 19,142 years years into our future, but they have a unique dating system known as After Guild (AG). The original books, and Denis Villeneuve’s movies are set in the year 10,191 AG.

Put simply, the AG measurement of time came into effect when the Spacing Guild made interstellar travel widely accessible to humans throughout the galaxy. This happened in the year 11,075 AD, when our AD calendar ceased to exist, and the year 0 AG began.

With Dune 2 picking up the story immediately after the events of the first Dune, there is very little discrepancy in the dating of this sequel. Both the first and second movie take place in the year 10,091 AG.

Florence Pugh looking concerned in Dune: Part II.

It’s unclear how many Dune movies there will be, but if Dune 3 happens, it’ll be based on the Messiah storyline. That story jumps 12 years ahead in the timeline. So, if Villeneuve follows the same trajectory, we would end up in the year 10,203 AG.

It’ll be a while until we venture into that even more distant future, however. Villeneuve is taking a break from Arrakis, and will potentially work on a different project in the interim.

For more, here are details on the Dune 2 budget, and we’ve investigated whether the Dune 2 cast like each other. We’ve also got the Dune 2 ending explained, Dune 2 filming locations, and a breakdown of the Atreides and Harkonnen family tree. You can also find out where Dune ranks in our list of the 10 best Timothée Chalamet movies.

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