Warning: This piece includes spoilers to “Dune” and potentially its sequel.
“Dune” fans can breathe. Warner Bros. and Legendary have greenlit a sequel that will complete the story of Frank Herbert’s novel in 2023. And if there are any Zendaya fans who feel cheated out of screentime for the actress, don’t worry: a huge boost for Chani is one of many things people can expect in “Dune: Part Two.”
As implied by the final scene of the film, “Dune: Part Two” will see Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) continue to train his powers of foresight and mind control under the aid of his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and the Fremen on Arrakis. Chani becomes both a lover and a guide to Paul as he slowly grows in power among the Fremen as their prophesized messiah; and considering how Jessica’s role was expanded by Denis Villeneuve to give her more emotional depth, it wouldn’t be surprising for “Part Two” to make Chani into a hero in her own right.
The foresight scenes Paul experiences throughout “Dune” foreshadow much of what is to come in the sequel, including a bloody war with the evil House Harkonnen over control of Arrakis. When that war happens, you can also expect Dave Bautista to play a major role in it as the bloodthirsty Glossu Rabban.
In the first “Dune,” Bautista only has a small handful of scenes with Stellan Skarsgard’s Baron Vladimir as the Harkonnens plot to retake Arrakis from House Atreides. In the second half of the book however, the Baron tasks Glossu to oversee the day-to-day mining operations on Arrakis, which he does with more cruelty than ever. If Paul is the Fremen’s chosen one, Glossu is their Devil, and we may see a lot of vicious action scenes with Bautista in the sequel.
And without spoiling too much of the second half of “Dune,” you can also expect some surprise returns in the sequel. While Jason Momoa’s badass Duncan Idaho was killed protecting Paul, notice that there were other members of House Atreides that weren’t seen being killed by the Harkonnens. “Dune” may have taken a “Game of Thrones”-esque pruning to the size of its cast, but one character assumed dead will return.
But the one big “Dune” character that looms over Villeneuve’s film that hasn’t been introduced yet is the Emperor. Through his manipulation and betrayal, Paul’s father was killed and most of his forces were destroyed. As you might expect, Herbert’s book ends with a final face-to-face showdown between the Emperor and the fully-powered Paul, so some interesting casting choices are on the way for Villeneuve and his team for who will play the unseen ruler of the galaxy…and his daughter, Princess Irulan.
Any Zendaya fans who haven’t read “Dune” should get accustomed to that name, because Irulan will soon play both a key role in Paul’s rise to galactic power and become a rival to Chani for control of Paul’s power and his legacy. While that battle mostly happens in Herbert’s second novel, “Dune Messiah,” Irulan’s actions help trigger Paul’s struggle to walk down the paths his parents have set for him as a political ruler and a religious figure.
Warner Bros. already set a date for the release of “Dune: Part Two” for October 20, 2023. “Dune” is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.