5 things we can't wait to see in Dune: Part Two
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Dune.
For all the majesty and grandeur of Denis Villeneuve's new Dune film, it only adapts the first half of Frank Herbert's original 1965 novel. The subtitle Part One seen on the opening title card necessarily suggests the possibility of a Part Two — and on Tuesday, Legendary confirmed that such a sequel is indeed coming.
We can barely contain our excitement about what a second film might include, so we've put together a list of things we can't wait to to see in the next Dune. Caution: Though we'll avoid revealing major plot points, there are still mild spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn't read all of Herbert's Dune.
Despite being heavily featured in the film's marketing, Zendaya was only on the set of Dune for a week, and her character, Chani, has correspondingly limited screen time. Though the Fremen — the desert-dwelling native population of Arrakis that includes Chani — are one of the most important and iconic elements of Dune, they only really come into the foreground in the second half of the story. Villeneuve's film ends with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), becoming part of the Fremen community following the destruction of House Atreides.
The second film, if it follows Herbert's book, will show us what it's like to live in the Fremen communities called "sietches" and how Paul goes about cultivating the "desert power" that was so desperately sought by his father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). We get a little tease of this at the end of the film, when Paul and Chani spot another Fremen riding a sandworm across the desert. Paul's learning to ride a worm himself is one of the greatest moments in the novel, and one of the principal joys of Dune: Part Two will be seeing Villeneuve, Chalamet, and their collaborators bring that to life. But Paul won't be the only one learning new things among the Fremen…
Even more of a mother
Paul has already seen some of what awaits his mother in his spice visions. These inform him that Lady Jessica is pregnant again, a secret she thought was closely guarded. Is it a spoiler to say that Jessica's pregnancy does indeed come to fruition in the second half of Dune? But the birth of Paul's sister Alia (seen briefly as a baby in one of those aforementioned visions) is affected by something else that happens to Jessica among the Fremen.
Jessica was trained in the ways of the Bene Gesserit by Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling), but the Fremen have their own version of this tradition. Upon the death of their Reverend Mother, Jessica is chosen to ascend to the position — and thanks to the spice melange found so abundantly in the Fremen desert, finds herself empowered with the memories of every Reverend Mother who came before her.
Those who enjoyed Ferguson's performance in Dune should be excited for her opportunity to play even more interesting beats in the second movie. The actress has already been preparing, telling EW that "I studied [Rampling's] walk, her speech, because I know what's coming later on, and it would be nice to pay homage."
Who is the anti-Chalamet?
Stellan Skarsgård and Dave Bautista star as Dune's terrifying black-clad villains, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his nephew Glossu Rabban. But there's one Harkonnen who hasn't yet appeared on screen: Feyd-Rautha, the Baron's other nephew. Like Paul Atreides, Feyd-Rautha is a talented and charismatic young scion of a great house. The Baron sees him as the future of House Harkonnen. In fact, the reason he tells Rabban to "squeeze" the population of Arrakis after retaking it from House Atreides is because he wants popular opinion to turn against Rabban, so that Feyd-Rautha can be brought in as a replacement and look like a charming savior in comparison. In other words, Feyd-Rautha is Paul's dark mirror image. Who, then, should be cast in the role opposite Chalamet?
Shortly after the news of Dune: Part Two broke, a mysterious emoji tweet from Eternals star Barry Keoghan was widely received as a tease that he might be playing Feyd-Rautha. (EW has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.) Though the tweet is probably just telling people not to spoil Chloe Zhao's twisty new Marvel film, the more we think about the possibility of a Keoghan casting, the more sense it makes: As seen in Eternals and The Green Knight earlier this year, Keoghan can play devilishly charming characters with a sinister undertone.
David Lynch's 1984 Dune film cast Sting as Feyd-Rautha. If Villeneuve and company wanted to continue on the pop star route, Harry Styles feels like a natural successor. Who wouldn't line up outside the theater to see Chalamet and Styles go toe-to-toe? But if the musician is too busy with other forthcoming franchise entanglements, another candidate for Feyd-Rautha could be Lucas Hedges. Maybe it's just us, but wouldn't it be fun to see the Lady Bird boyfriends do battle in a sci-fi environment? Especially since fellow Lady Bird alum Stephen McKinley Henderson will already be on hand. Speaking of which…
Henderson plays Thufir Hawat, House Atreides' loyal Mentat — one of the humans specially trained in advanced computational skills as a replacement for the artificial intelligence that was destroyed in the conflict known as the Butlerian Jihad. Due to the sheer amount of characters and plot points that had to be packed into Dune, the film didn't get to spend a ton of time with Hawat, but he's a major part of the book. Reputed as one of the most powerful and deadly Mentats in the galaxy, Hawat survives the Harkonnen onslaught but ends up very confused by the whole thing.
After all, Mentats live according to logic, and logic tells him that a Suk doctor like Dr. Yueh (Chang Chen) could never betray his masters. As a result, in Herbert's novel Hawat suspects that Lady Jessica must be the real traitor who caused the Atreides downfall, since he never trusted the Bene Gesserit in the first place. This leads him into strange places; without revealing exactly where he ends up, Hawat's journey will give a great actor like Henderson a lot more to do in the next Dune installment.
Meet the royals
The reason House Atreides takes over stewardship of the planet Arrakis from House Harkonnen at the beginning of Dune is because they are ordered to by Shaddam IV of House Corrino, the Padishah Emperor, who rules over the galaxy and controls the elite soldiers known as Sardaukar. Neither Shaddam nor his daughter, Princess Irulan, appear in the Dune film, which makes sense: Though they are name-checked frequently throughout Herbert's novel, they don't actually appear until the final act. Like Feyd-Rautha, this presents quite an opportunity for dream casting.
Who should play the Emperor? Charles Dance comes to mind if the Dune films want to fully embrace the influence Herbert had on Game of Thrones (House Corrino even uses a golden lion as its coat of arms, much like House Lannister). Kenneth Branagh could also bring some Shakespearean gravitas to the role of the galaxy's ruler.
As for Irulan, she's basically the opposite of Chani in the same way Feyd-Rautha is the anti-Paul. So who might be a match for Zendaya? Saoirse Ronan always has great chemistry with Chalamet, though perhaps we should restrain ourselves from making this a full-on Lady Bird reunion. Alternatively, Anya Taylor-Joy has proven adept at playing women who are more than they appear.
That's just off the top of our heads, though; Villeneuve and company have proven they know what they're doing when it comes to casting. In any case, watching Chalamet's Paul finally confront the royal family responsible for his family's slaughter should be immensely satisfying.
Dune: Part Two is slated to hit theaters Oct. 20, 2023.
A new adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel about the son of a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable but crucially important planet.