Blade Runner 2049 is surely one of the bolder sequels of the last 25 years. Yes, it was based on a classic sci-fi film, and it did feature the series’ original star, Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Rick Deckard. Still, it was a massive $150 million movie that continued the story of a film that wasn’t an especially big hit in the first place. True to form, Blade Runner 2049 wasn’t a blockbuster either — it made about $250 million worldwide, not bad but also not great for a movie of its size. Director Denis Villeneuve basically made one of the most expensive cult films of all time.

Villeneuve recognizes how risky the film was, too. In an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast for his new movie Dune, Villeneuve called it a “miracle” that he’s “still making movies” in the wake of attempting a Blade Runner sequel.

As he put it:

I knew that when I did this movie I flirted with disaster. II put myself into massive artistic danger ... It was sacrilegious what I did. I was told, ‘You don’t do that.’ ... At least I wasn’t banned from the filmmaker community. It was a dangerous game.

Even more miraculous than making Blade Runner 2049, might be following it with Dune, an enormously expensive version of a story that was made into a movie once before with less than stellar results. (It grossed about $30 million — enough to make Blade Runner 2049 look like Star Wars.And Villeneuve only shot the first half of the story, with the intent that if his Dune is successful enough, he can then turn the second half of Frank Herbert’s novel into a sequel. But that’s a might big if.

Villeneuve’s latest miraculous, risky blockbuster, Dune, opens in theaters and premieres on HBO Max on October 22.

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