Zendaya Reveals Her Dune Role Might Not Be As Big As We Thought

Zendaya in Far From Home

Science-fiction fans, and basically anyone who knows the work of Denis Villeneuve, are anxiously awaiting the first look at his adaptation of Dune, author Frank Herbert’s seminal novel. The cast is loaded with outstanding talent, led by Beautiful Boy standout Timothee Chalamet, though at least one ensemble member now leads fans to believe that her role is smaller than anticipated. So stand down, Zendaya stans.

The Euphoria actress was speaking with InStyle about quarantine, her inability to create as the industry struggles through shutdown, and some of her upcoming projects. When they got around to Dune, Zendaya admitted:

Dune was incredible. I wasn't in it very much, so when I was watching the trailer, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I called Timothée [Chalamet, who stars in it] and said, ‘Dude! You should be proud.’ It is a big deal to even be a small part of something with such a massive cast. And I love sci-fi stuff too. It's fun to escape into another world.

This might track. (Admittedly, I haven’t finished Dune, so those who have need to weigh in in our comments section.) But in the story, Zendaya is down to play Chani, a Fremen woman who is described as the love interest of Timothee Chalamet’s character, the hero Paul Atreides. But Dune is a massive story that juggles a number of primary characters, so it’s more than probable that Chani’s role isn’t that massive in the first movie.

The first movie? Yes, that’s right. One of the stipulations that director Denis Villeneuve had before agreeing to tackle Dune for Warner Bros. was that he needed two movies to properly tell the story. This might mean that Zendaya’s character, Chani, plays a larger role in the second movie? But then I think she would have phrased her answer differently? There’s also the real probability that Zendaya, a veteran of the blockbuster mode, knows how to keep secrets. She has been part of two Spider-Man movies to date, and dated (or is still dating) Tom Holland, who can’t keep a secret to save his life.

Even without Zendaya in Dune, there will be plenty of star power on hand for Denis Villeneuve as he translates Frank Herbert’s book to the big screen. With Chalamet in the lead role of Paul, he’ll be surrounded by the likes of Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, and Jason Momoa in this all-star ensemble.

The trailer for Dune has been shown. We’re just waiting for it to be delivered online, in a proper format. And we’re saying prayers that Dune can keep its December release date, with theaters being open in a safe capacity, so audiences can get back to seeing first-run features from our favorite filmmakers.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.