One Dune Character Will Have A Way Bigger Role In The Sequel, According To Denis Villeneuve

Zendaya as Chani in Dune

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Rather than adapt all of Frank Herbert’s Dune into one movie like David Lynch did in 1984, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve opted to split the story into two parts, just like what’s been done with IT, Mockingjay and other film adaptations of books in recent years. The first half of that tale will unfold in late October, and while Dune 2 hasn’t officially been greenlit yet, Villeneuve has been planning the sequel with others for several years now. Among the things we can expect from it is for Zendaya’s Chani to receive a larger part, still opposite Timothee Chalamet.

Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides isn’t going anywhere for Dune 2, but while he’s the main protagonist for Dune, evidently he’ll be making room in the sequel for Zendaya’s character to spend more time in the spotlight. Here’s what Denis Villeneuve said during an interview with Italian magazine Il Venerdì di Repubblica (translated by IGN):

I'm honored to present on-screen two talents [Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya] that are so explosive, and I can't wait to shoot the second part of Dune to get them back together. Knowing that in the next chapter Zendaya will be a protagonist of the story.

For those unfamiliar with Dune, the story sees Paul Atreides’ father, Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto Atreides, accepting stewardship of the planet Arrakis, which is the only source of the universe’s most valuable substance, melange, a.k.a. spice. However, when the Duke and his allies are betrayed by Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Paul and his mother, Jessica Ferguson’s Lady Jessica, must flee to the surface of Arrakis, where they cross paths with Chani, her father (Javier Bardem’s Stilgar), her mother (who is Sharon Duncan-Brewster’s Dr. Liet-Kynes in this version of the tale) and the rest of the native Freemen. But ahead of actually meeting Chani, Paul has prophetic dreams about her, as shown in the most recent Dune trailer.

Chani plays an integral role in Paul Atreides’ heroic rise, which will fully unfold when Dune 2 rolls around. But for those who walk away from Dune especially liking Zendaya’s character, she factors more prominently into the second half of Frank Herbert’s original story. So not only was she already guaranteed to score more screen time in the sequel, but Denis Villenueve has positioned her to take over the lead role for the next installment. Now that we know this, it’ll be interesting to see how Chani’s increased importance leads to the events in Dune 2 unfolding differently compared to what happened in the original novel.

Hopefully Denis Villeneuve’s willingness to share this information bodes well for Dune 2’s chances of becoming a reality. Again, Warner Bros hasn’t announced to the public yet if the sequel will move forward, but Eric Roth, who co-wrote Dune with Villenueve and Jon Spaihts, said back in February that he’d written a full treatment. It’s also worth noting that at an IMAX screening of Dune’s first 10 minutes earlier this summer, the movie was labeled as Dune: Part One, perhaps indicating that WB is already open to making Dune: Part Two, if it the studio brass doesn’t want to make that official just yet.

You’ll can see Dune in theaters and on HBO Max for a 31-day period (make sure you’re subscribed to the streaming service to take advantage of that latter option) starting October 22. Keep track of the other movies lined up for the remainder of the year with our 2021 release schedule, and check back with CinemaBlend for more Dune 2 updates.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

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