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Dune 2 Has Just Cast Christopher Walken In A Major Role

Christopher Walken in Apple TV+'s Severance
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Shortly after Denis Villeneuve’s Dune opened in theaters and for HBO Max subscribers over one-month period, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures decided to move forward with Dune 2, a.k.a. Dune: Part Two. In other words, Villeneuve will get to complete his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s original novel, as opposed to the overall story being left hanging halfway through. With this next Dune movie will come some new faces, among which will be Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV.

As shared by THR, Christopher Walken has signed on to be part of Dune 2’s ensemble cast. He’s the third newcomer who’s been revealed for the follow-up movie so far, as Black Widow’s Florence Pugh is reportedly attached to play Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter, while Elvis’ Austin Butler is on deck as Feyd-Rautha, Baron Harkonnen’s younger nephew.

Without going into specific spoilers for those who haven’t read the Dune novel and want to go into Dune 2 as fresh as possible, Emperor Shaddam IV, who was briefly mentioned in the first movie, is the ruler of the known universe in Frank Herbert’s mythology. It was the Emperor who tasked House Atreides with taking custody of Arrakis from the Harkonnens, but secretly, he was plotting with Baron Harkonnen to eliminate the Atreides family and their allies due to Duke Leto Atreides’ growing popularity. With Leto (played by Oscar Isaac) now dead, Dune 2 will see the Emperor and the Baron dealing with the rebellion of Arrakis’ native Fremen led by Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, who escaped being killed alongside his mother, Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica.

Emperor Shaddam IV was previously played by José Ferrer in David Lynch’s Dune movie and Giancarlo Giannini in the 2000 Dune miniseries. While Christopher Walken doesn’t have any prior direct ties to the Dune property, there is a fun fact worth addressing. Walken starred in the music video for the 2001 Fatboy Slim song “Weapon of Choice,” and one of its lyrics is, “If you walk without rhythm, you won't attract the worm.” That line is lifted from Dune, referring to the proper way to to ride atop one of Arrakis’ gigantic sandworms. Funny how things turned out for Walken over two decades later.

In addition to Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson, Dune 2 will also see the return of Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Dave Bautista in their respective roles. Zendaya’s Chani and Bardem’s Stilgar will have bigger roles this time around, and Brolin is so jazzed about appearing in Dune 2 that he had his publicist make sure it was listed among his upcoming credits on IMDB. Filming is set to begin in Budapest this summer, and along with directing, Denis Villeneuve co-wrote the script with Jon Spaihts.

Dune 2 is slated to come out on October 20, 2023, and in addition to the Dune mythology expanding through an HBO Max prequel series called Dune: The Sisterhood, Denis Villeneuve has expressed interest in making a Dune: Messiah movie to round out his run on the property. If you’re in the mood to re-watch 2021’s Dune or see it for the first time, it’s back on HBO Max.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.