Wait, How Many Days Was Zendaya Actually On The Set Of Dune?

Zendaya in Dune

Dune is a story that is full of characters. The universe created by Frank Herbert has dozens of important names that fans need to keep track of, and figuring out how to balance them all is potentially one of the more difficult things about turning Dune from a book into a movie. In the end, some characters are likely to not get much screen time, but it turns out Zendaya may get a lot less than even we thought, as she was only on the set for a very brief period of time.

Zendaya will play the role of Chani, a native inhabitant of the planet Arrakis, who starts a relationship with Paul Atreides, who will be played by Timothée Chalamet. Chani is an important character in the original novel, but don't expect to see much of her in the movie coming out later this year. The actress recently told Empire that she was on set for less than four days, which was disappointing for her because she loved working with director Denis Villeneuve. According to Zendaya...

He’s so kind and attentive to all of his actors. I was only there for four days and I did not want to leave! Denis understands what he wants from us but he’s also very collaborative, allowing me to have my take on the character as well. I don’t want to jinx anything but I can’t wait to explore her more. I hope I get to learn more from Denis. I love to learn from people who are great at their job.

Three or four days on a movie set is not long at all. That could be enough time to do three or four scenes, but perhaps even less. Zendaya has been a big part of the trailers for Dune, which would make even those familiar with the original novel possibly think she'd be in more of the movie, but it seems perhaps not.

Part of the question of just how much Zendaya we'll get in Dune comes down to the question of how much of the book we're getting in this movie. We know that Denis Villeneuve's movie is only "part one" of the story and that the plan is to make a second film that will complete the novel. Villeneuve himself has already said that Zendaya will have a lot more to do in the eventual sequel. But the fact is that we don't really know just where the first movie is going to stop.

The character of Chani only appears to Paul in dreams at the start of the novel, and it's quite some time before the two actually cross paths in reality. It could very well be that meeting Chani marks the end of this movie. It's also possible that he won't even meet her until the next movie and that everything Zendaya filmed was part of a dream sequence. It seems we will finally find out just how much Dune and how much Zendaya, we'll get when the movie arrives in October.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.