What’s Been Revealed About the ‘Dune’ Sequel So Far?

On October 2, it became official: Dune will be getting a sequel and it’s set to feature Zendaya in a much bigger role. Following the theatrical release of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, viewers have bemoaned the actor’s limited screen time (seven minutes in a film that runs for 2 hours and 36 minutes), but fans of novelist Frank Herbert’s original source material have pointed out that the blockbuster only covers approximately two-thirds of the book. Zendaya’s character, Chani—one of the Fremen of the desert planet Arrakis who appears in the visions of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and returns toward the end of the film—comes to the fore later, guiding and protecting Paul, and eventually emerging as the story’s romantic lead.

“When I did the casting for Chani’s character, I met a lot of actresses,” Villeneuve told La Repubblica back in August. “Zendaya wanted to audition and today, after shooting the film and seeing what a wonderful actress she is, I’m sorry I auditioned her. It was just because I didn’t know her. However, that day, she impressed me and when she left the studio I knew that Chani was her, the young desert tiger. I am honored to present two such explosive talents on screen [Chalamet and Zendaya] and I can’t wait to shoot the second part of Dune to get them back together knowing that in the next chapter Zendaya will be the [female] protagonist of the story.”

But, apart from Chani’s expanded part, what else do we know about the upcoming film? Dune ends with—spoiler alert—Paul joining the Fremen with the intention of bringing peace to Arrakis. If Villeneuve cleaves closely to the source material, Dune: Part Two will see Paul become more powerful and launch a rebellion against Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. Chalamet will be back as Paul, while Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård, and Dave Bautista are all expected to reprise their roles as Lady Jessica, Stilgar, Baron Harkonnen, and Glossu Rabban, respectively. New characters could be introduced, too, from Alia Atreides, the younger sister of Paul, to Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter who marries Paul for political reasons.

Chalamet was recently spotted donning a top hat on the set of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired prequel Wonka, but he’ll be swapping it for his billowy desert cloak very soon. On November 7, Collider reported that production for Dune: Part Two would begin on July 18, 2022, with the film due to arrive in theaters on October 20, 2023. More good news? Additional Dune films could be on the horizon. Although Villeneuve has spoken about wanting to tell the story in two parts, he also told Entertainment Weekly that he “always envisioned three movies” and would be interested in adapting Herbert’s 1969 sequel Dune Messiah next. Let’s hope he doesn’t stop there.

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