The Oscar-winning actor will take on the role of the Padishah Emperor in director Denis Villeneuve's upcoming sequel film.
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Dune: Part Two (2023 movie)

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One of the last remaining major Dune roles — the Padishah Emperor, who rules over the whole universe — has finally been filled. EW can confirm that none other than Christopher Walken will portray Shaddam IV in Dune Part Two.

The upcoming sequel film from returning director Denis Villeneuve will tackle the second half of Frank Herbert's classic 1965 sci-fi novel. The Emperor's shadow hung over last year's Dune — it is by his royal decree that House Atreides takes up stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, and it is thanks to his scheming that House Harkonnen is able to violently take the planet back with the aid of royal Sardaukar troops — but he is much more present as an actual character in the climax.

EW has previously reported that Florence Pugh is in talks to portray the Emperor's daughter Princess Irulan and that Elvis star Austin Butler will take on the role of Feyd-Rautha, a handsome Harkonnen scion with eyes on the throne. Together with the Emperor, these were the three major Dune characters who did not appear in the first film and whose sequel casting was thus eagerly anticipated by fans.

Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken has been cast as the Emperor in 'Dune: Part Two.'
| Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Dune won six trophies at the Oscars this year — for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects — and Walken will bring even more awards experience to the mix. He won Best Supporting Actor for 1978's The Deer Hunter and was nominated again for 2002's Catch Me If You Can.

This will not be Walken's first brush with Dune-adjacent material, though. Once upon a time, he starred in the music video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," doing a dance routine worthy of the desert-dwelling Fremen and floating on the ceiling like Baron Harkonnen. Lyrics for the song feature the Dune-inspired wisdom: "Walk without rhythm, and it won't attract the worm."

Dune: Part Two is set to begin filming this summer for a 2023 release. Stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, and more are all set to return alongside these newcomers.

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Dune: Part Two (2023 movie)

A continuation of Denis Villeneuve's big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel about the scion of a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable but crucially important desert planet.

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