Just when Timothée Chalamet got the last bit of sand out of his hair, he’s going back to the desert. Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s sweeping adaptation of the 1965 science-fiction novel by Frank Herbert, is officially getting a sequel. “I just received news from Legendary that we are officially moving forward with Dune: Part Two,” Villeneuve said in a statement in October 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, and I have the fans, the cast and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning.” With Dune: Part Two solidly in place, it’s time we check in on this upcoming sand-based film. Below is what we know about Dune: Part Two.
Timothée Chalamet goes sandworm riding in the first trailer.
Chalamet rides a big worm to impress Zendaya’s Chani in the first trailer for Dune 2. The rightful heir to House Atreides is stuck on the planet of Arrakis while the rest of the universe thinks he’s dead, so Javier Bardem’s character gives him some tips on how to ride the sandworm. Elsewhere, Florence Pugh’s Princess Irulan plots, and Austin Butler’s Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen fights in an arena — bald from the eyebrows up. “In the shadows of Arrakis lie many secrets,” Princess Irulan says. “But the darkest of all will remain the end of House Atreides.” It’s not so dark, though. By the end of the trailer, Paul Atreides masters “sandback” riding and gets to kiss Chani.
Who’s in Part Two?
If you watched Dune: Part One, you may remember that the majority of the characters are, in fact, dead. Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster are all dead by gas, combat, and sandworm (respectively). So Villeneuve has padded Dune: Part Two with some pretty well known names. Chalamet, Bardem, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson will all be returning, of course. But they’ve added Pugh, Butler, Léa Seydoux, and Christopher Walken to their band of science-fiction sisters. Walken will be playing Shaddam IV, the emperor of House Corrino; Pugh will be playing his daughter, Princess Irulan; Seydoux will be Lady Margot, who is one of the emperor’s friends and a member of iconic queens the Bene Gesserit; and Butler will be Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the nephew of Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Harkonnen. Finally, Tim Blake Nelson will play an as-yet-unnamed character. It’s a veritable who’s who of talent across generational divides.
No, the first look isn’t a spice-vision.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Dune fans losing their shit over a smorgasbord of stunning Vanity Fair exclusive first-look photos released on April 27. We see Zendaya tenderly caressing Chalamet’s cheek in the middle of the Arrakis desert in one image. In another, his azure contacts, framed by a brown hooded cape and taupe headscarf, are deeper than the ocean. “The universe of Dune is a complex world of geopolitics and with tons of ecological and technological metaphors that hold up today,” Chalamet told Vanity Fair. “But at the center, there’s this relationship where Chani sort of becomes a moral compass … Even to say that out loud feels kind of huge, and she’s really the humanizing, grounding force to that.” The official poster sees the couple armed with jagged swords and framed by an Olafur Eliasson–looking orange sky.
Pugh looks regal in a pearl lace headpiece, while Josh Brolin stands in the fiery remnants of a bloody battle. Skarsgård smokes a pipe in a bathtub, sporting a veiny and offensive fat suit. Standing in some sort of vessel, Seydoux is wearing her version of power dressing: a midnight-blue crêpe gown with a velvet hood. We see Butler’s bald-headed silhouette. “Austin Butler brought to the screen something that would be a cross between a psychotic, sociopath serial killer and Mick Jagger,” Villeneuve said upon the release of the first images.
What’s the plot?
Dune: Part Two will take on the second half of Frank Herbert’s original epic sci-fi novel. The first film left clairvoyant boy-king Paul Atreides (Little Timmy Tim) and his mother (Ferguson) as they joined the Fremen. Luckily, this means that we’ll have more than seven minutes with Zendaya’s Fremen character, Chani.
Further plot and character details were revealed at CinemaCon on April 25. “She’s not just in dreams this time,” Zendaya said about Chani’s larger role in the second film. In Part One, “I only got a small time to find out who she was. These are still two young people who are trying to grow up, fall in love, and leave being a warrior for your people.” Villeneuve described the sequel as an “action-packed, epic war movie,” as opposed to the first film, which was “more of a contemplative movie.” He elaborated: “It is much more dense. We went to all-new locations. I didn’t want a feeling of repetition. It’s all-new sets. Everything is new.” The film was shot entirely in Imax, he revealed.
The Dune 2 trailer that premiered at CinemaCon featured Atreides’s first ride on a sandworm as well as clips of Pugh as Princess Irulan Corrino and Butler as the “psychotic” Feyd-Rautha (a fan-made image of Butler as the character made the rounds on Twitter earlier today, but it’s unfortunately not real). A fight scene between Feyd and Paul features in the trailer. “We really see Paul Atreides become a leader,” Chalamet said of his character. “A redeemer of the Fremen people in a sense.”
When is Dune 2 out?
The Dune: Part Two release date is actually doin’ some movin’. The film was originally slated for release on November 17, 2023, but that premiere has just been moved up two weeks to November 3. Why the change? Well, Blade was originally scheduled for November 3, but with that film changing dates because of a director switch-up, Dune: Part Two is free to take the early-November slot. After all, nothing kicks off the holiday season like sandworms.
This post has been updated.