Turns Out Zendaya Wasn’t The Only One Who Was Pitched A Bigger Role For Dune 2

Zendaya as Chani in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was an astonishing adaption of the beloved sci-fi book by Frank Herbert and featured Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Zendaya as Chani. The film is enormous, with great performances and moments. Yet, clearly, the director wanted to save certain things for the sequel, specifically Zendaya’s character, who had limited screen time but is promised to have a much bigger role in the next film. It was surprising having such a major star like Zendaya barely appear in the movie, but she was convinced of the potential of the sequels by Villeneuve. It turns out she wasn’t the only one who was pitched a more prominent role for Dune 2

In fact, Javier Bardem recently sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about the various roles throughout his career, from No Country For Old Men to Dune and everything in between. The actor explained how he was approached for the role as Stilgar in the film, revealing that he was pitched that his role would be bigger if there was a Part 2 to the story. Bardem explained his sit down with Denis Villeneuve, saying: 

Denis Villeneuve called me and said, ‘I want to sit down with you,’ and when Denis Villeneuve wants to sit down with you, you go there and sit down, and listen. And he said, ‘I have a small role, if there is such a thing as the second part of the book the role will be bigger [in Dune 2]. And I would love you to do it if you want to.’ And I said, ‘Of course I want to. I don’t care if there’s a second movie or not. I don’t care about how big or small the role [is]. I love what you do as a director.’ And then it happens, as it usually happens, really, that those great directors are also great people.

Bardem obviously holds Villeneuve in high regard as a filmmaker, and it seems like the potential for a more prominent role didn’t factor into his decision to join the film. The big draw for him was the director being one of the most visionary figures in movies who was pouring so much into this epic passion project, and now that Dune 2 is confirmed, he will be an even more significant part of it all. Plus, it's worth noting Stilgar’s brief appearance in the film sets up so much for the world's future, and the actor steals the show in his brief time in the film.

Javier Bardem in Dune

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

One of the most jarring things about Dune was the absence of Zendaya, who was all over the marketing for the film, but only appeared for a small fraction of the runtime. We know now that she will have a much more significant role in the sequel, but it was still a shock that a star like her was barely in the film. She also only worked a few days on her part in the movie, but hearing her co-star's take on why he joined I can only guess the actress had similar feelings.

The director of Dune has spoken about the franchise and how he wanted to elevate the female characters, and that was evident by how important a role Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica had in the film. With the sequel confirmed and Zendaya ready for Chani to play a way more significant role, the women of the film are certainly a focus for the director and how he adapts the source material. Now, we'll have to wait and see what Stilgar brings to the table too.

More characters will join the already-stacked cast in the sequel and Denis Villeneuve seems confident that filming for the sequel will start by fall of 2022, despite having to bring all these major names together again. So, the wheels are already in motion for Dune 2, and I can't wait to see Zendaya and Javier Bardem as major players going forward.  

Jamil David

Movie and TV obsessive. A good Heist movie is the way to my heart. Enjoyer of everything from Marvel Movies to Rom-coms.