Cast, Story & Everything We Know

Despite its extended runtime and in-depth world-building, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune only tells half the story of Frank Herbert’s original novel, and Dune: Part Two updates reveal more is coming in 2023. The main story of Dune focuses on Paul Atreides, the teenage son of Duke Leto who travels to the desert planet Arrakis, the home of the mystical substance Spice, with his family. Although the Atreides head to Arrakis to reform Spice production and increase prosperity, it soon becomes clear that they have walked into a trap laid by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and their mortal enemies, the Harkonnens.


Paul is forced to flee with his mother, Lady Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson) before mustering a rebellious fighting force from the local people, the Fremen. The novel concludes with the destruction of House Harkonnen, the fall of the royal House Corrino, and the installation of Paul — now known by his followers as Muad’Dib — as the next Emperor. Villeneuve’s first movie finishes long before these events, and instead focuses on setting up the narrative and establishing the world of Dune. As a result, there is still much of the story left to be told in a future sequel, as Dune: Part Twowill cover the second half of Herbert’s original novel, with exciting additions to the Dune: Part Two cast confirmed.

Dune: Part Two Latest News

Chani and Paul in Dune Part Two

The latest Dune: Part Two update reveals an exciting new collaborator announced for the project. During an interview on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin revealed he helped out with the script for Dune: Part Two. Mazin explains, “I am a participating writer in Dune: Part Two. I came long after… I came in and did a little bit of work.” As of now, Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts are credited with the script for Dune: Part Two, but Mazin will receive an Additional Literary Materials credit which was created in 2022 to give credit to contributing WGA members who cannot be credited with the entire script.

While Mazin underplays his role in helping out with the script, it is an exciting new addition to the already talented team. The Last of Us is one of the most acclaimed shows of the year so far and fans are already eager for The Last of Us season 2. Mazin bringing his talents to genre storytelling with an emotional and human core could be a new addition that elevates Dune 2 above the first movie. His ability to adapt something beloved so well to the screen could bode well for Dune: Part Two.

Director Denis Villeneuve is making some changes to one of the characters from the Dune book. Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica was a pivotal part of the first movie and helped introduce the viewers to various aspects of this world within the movie while also being by Paul’s side throughout his journey. Fans may have been surprised to see Ferguson still billed as one of the main stars for the sequel given Lady Jessica’s reduced role in that part of the story. Indeed, Villeneuve acknowledged that Lady Jessica disappears from the second half of the book but insisted “I made sure as I was writing the screenplay to do the opposite, to make sure that she will be active, to bring her back to the front of the story.

Ferguson was a strong presence in the first movie and it is a relief to know that she will not be sidelined for the future. In fact, Villeneuve specifically noted his excitement for audiences to see Ferguson’s performance in the second movie. It will be interesting to see how Villeneuve will expand the character while also juggling the huge scope of the rest of this story.

Dune: Part Two Release Date

People of Dune collage image.

Dune: Part Two will be released in theaters on November 3, 2023. Filming for the movie took place in Hungary and the UAE between July and December 2022. With the movie now in post-production, Dune: Part Two is on track to meet its fall 2023 release date. Unlike the first movie, Dune: Part Two will be a theatrical exclusive. Recent Dune: Part Two updates have moved the release date around a bit, as it was originally slated for release on October 20, but this date was moved twice in reaction to release schedules from other studios.

Dune: Part Two New Cast And Returning Characters

Paul and Lady Jessica in the desert in Dune

Emperor Shaddam IV, who will notably be played by Christopher Walken, is perhaps the most anticipated character in the Dune: Part Two cast. Moreover, some might argue that this honor belongs to Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen or Princess Irulan, who will be played by Austin Butler and Florence Pugh respectively. Meanwhile, Lady Margot, the Bene Gesserit wife of Count Hasimir Fenring, will be played by Léa Seydoux. Tim Blake Nelson has also been confirmed to be joining the cast in an unnamed role. Souhalia Yacoub has also been confirmed to join the cast as a gender-swapped version of Shishakli, a Fremen sandrider.

Several key characters will be returning from Dune: Part Two. Timothy Chalamet’s Paul Atreides will continue to be the central character, while figures such as Javier Bardem’s Stilgar and Zendaya’s Chani will play larger roles. Though Lady Jessica has a reduce role in the second half of the book, Denis Villenuve confirmed changes to the Dune character to give Rebecca Ferguson a substantial role in the sequel.

Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto would not appear unless in flashback form after his death at the hands of the Harkonnens. Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho gets resurrected as a ghola in the books, while Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck reunites with Paul at some point in the second half of Frank Herbert’s Dune — so they could also be part of the Dune: Part Two cast. The sequel will also reveal what happens to Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Vladimir after he was poisoned by Leto’s tooth.

One key casting announcement that has still not been made is that of the character of Alia for Dune: Part Two. In the books, Alia is the sister of Paul who was born with high intelligence after Lady Jessica underwent preparations for becoming a Reverend Mother while pregnant. Given the role Alia plays in the second half of the book and especially the climax, it seems unlikely she has been cut from the story. However, the role of an adult-like 4-year-old would be a difficult one to cast.

Dune: Part Two Story Details

Split image of Dune book covers with Paul Atreides

2021’s Dune Part 1 covers roughly half of the original novel, up until Paul’s meeting with the Fremen tribe led by Stilgar. This means that Dune: Part Two will be an action-packed blockbuster focused on the guerilla war between Paul’s Fremen and Arrakis’ Harkonnen oppressors. After a two-year conflict, Paul will eventually emerge victorious and even successfully depose the Emperor after Shaddam IV attempts to bring Arrakis to heel with the presence of his elite Sardaukar stormtroopers. This sets the stage for the wider Dune saga and the ascension of House Atreides. However, Bardem has suggested that there will be some changes from the book, so it’s hard to say exactly what will happen.

Dune: Part Two updates at CinemaCon revealed a trailer that showed a lot more bout the upcoming movie sequel. Austin Butler’s villain, Feyd-Rautha, was shown for the first time, and he is both bald and very evil-looking. However, the biggest revelation was that this movie will feature what appears to be an epic war. It will deal with Paul’s relationship with the Fremen and the eventual rebellion against the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. Zendaya’s Chani will also get more screen time than in the first movie, and the trailer teased a kiss with Paul.

Dune: Part Two Trailer

Paul in the Dune Part 2 trailer.

The Dune: Part Two updates hit a fever pitch with the release of its trailer in May 2023. The new trailer shows a lot about the Dune sequel, including what might be the most impressive sequence with Paul setting out and riding his first sandworm, much to the delight of the Fremen. On top of riding the sandworm, the trailer also shows his romantic interest in Chani building and resulting in a kiss. However, what is most important for the story is Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica, not agreeing on the same course of action, with her warning against revenge and Paul looking to raise the people into a rebellion.

The entire trailer ends with Paul seemingly taking a leadership role. Other highlights include the first look at both Austin Butler’s villain, Feyd-Rautha, and Florence’s Pugh’s Princess Irulan. There is also a quick look at Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV, Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban, and the revelation that Josh Brolin’s Gunrye Halleck is still alive after his questionable fate in the first movie.

Why Dune Is Split Into Two Parts

Dune 2 Greenlight Tease

Although Frank Herbert’s original 412-page novel is by no means the longest book to receive a theatrical adaptation, the universe it established is incredibly complex. In addition to the futuristic setting, the story incorporates elements of mysticism, philosophy, extrasensory perception, religion, genetics, and technology. This means that any adaptation has to first indulge in extensive world-building in order to create something conceivable for audiences.

Taking a cue from the long list of divisive or outright failed Dune adaptations, Villeneuve’s decision to make two movies is the first time for any director to crack the problem of being limited to a single film. By splitting the film into two parts, Villeneuve has given himself the best opportunity to deliver a faithful recreation that does justice to Herbert’s seminal sci-fi masterpiece.

The new Dune: Part Two cast – Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, Austin Butler, and Léa Seydoux – face a great challenge in satisfying audience expectations about their respective characters. However, the success of the first Dune bodes well for Villenueve’s Dune: Part Two. If everything goes well, Villenueve might just get the chance to complete his trilogy adaptation with Dune Part 3, which would be based on Frank Herbert’s second book Dune: Messiah.

Key Release Dates

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