Gotta Have More Spice, Baby! Christopher Walken Joins the Cast of ‘Dune: Part Two’

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Mike Pont
Mike Pont

Sound the cowbells! Christopher Walken is officially the ruler of the known universe.

On Thursday, it was announced that the legendary actor has been cast as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in Dune: Part Two. He joins a stellar, stacked cast which includes Timothèe Chalamet, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, and Josh Brolin.

The Emperor was the final major role to be filled in the anticipated Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel. Florence Pugh and Austin Butler will also be appearing as new faces in the upcoming film. Pugh is reuniting with her Little Women love interest, Chalamet, to play Princess Irulan, Shaddam’s daughter. Fresh off his performance as the King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Butler will be playing Feyd Rautha, moody, smoldering bad boy and nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård).

Walken will surely lend an air of eccentricity to Shaddam, who is typically characterized as stern and fearsome—and decidedly lacking a meandering Queens accent. He was played by Puerto Rican stage actor José Ferrer in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune.

‘Dune’ Is an Absolute Marvel—and the Best Sci-Fi Film in Years

The villainous character did not appear in Villeneuve’s first installment of the sci-fi epic; however, he is the impetus for the film’s whole plot. Threatened by the popularity of Duke Leto (a devastatingly ripped Oscar Isaac who will be sorely missed from the second movie, RIP), he sabotages House Atreides by granting them control over the thankless desert planet, Arrakis, and enlisting Baron Harkonnen to launch an attack. Dune: Part Two will pick up with Paul (Chalamet) and the Fremen teaming up to protect Arrakis from the Harkonnens and the Emperor.

News of Walken’s casting was met with excitement from fans on Twitter. “The Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV demands that the spice and cowbell must flow,” tweeted one person. “This film keeps getting better and better,” wrote another.

Many are also sharing Walken’s memorable performance in the 2001 Grammy-winning Fatboy Slim music video for “Weapon of Choice,” in which he dances with reckless abandon in an empty hotel lobby. The song’s lyrics, “Walk without rhythm and it won’t attract the worm,” are a reference to the gigantic sandworms in Dune. It’s truly a beautiful full circle moment for pop culture nerds everywhere, and we hope Villeneuve finds a way to work the song into the film.

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