It took less than a week for Dune: Part 2 to get the green light following the blockbuster theatrical release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, and it allowed the fanhood of the beloved sci-fi franchise to breathe a powerful sigh of relief. We no longer had to worry that the 2021 movie would never have a counterpart to complete the adaptation of author Frank Herbert’s seminal novel, and could focus all attention on simply getting hyped for the sequel. Thankfully, the production has made this extra easy with some tremendously exciting casting announcements in recent months.
Obviously there are a lot of stars from the first Dune who will be reprising their roles in Dune: Part 2, but there are also a number of new big names who have signed on – and we’ve built this feature in the aim of highlighting all of them. It feels logical to start with the former group, so let’s start by talking about the actor who will be back to play the central protagonist in the sequel…
The journey of Paul Atreides has only just begun. In Denis Villeneuve’s Dune we see the prince-adjacent character see his life essentially go up in flames – his family and clan moving to a new planet before being all but wholly annihilated – and Dune: Part 2 will see him attempt to stop the evil forces of House Harkonnen and Emperor Shaddam IV. Timothée Chalamet is back to star in the sequel, having completed work on Paul King’s upcoming Wonka while waiting for production on the sci-fi epic to start filming.
Paul Atreides isn’t totally alone after the fall of House Atreides, as at the very least he still has the protection and companionship of his mother, Lady Jessica. While Paul learns the ways of the Fremen in Dune: Part 2, Jessica will continue to teach him in the ways of the Bene Gesserit – hoping that her boy will achieve what has been prophesized. Rebecca Ferguson, who delivers a brilliant performance in Dune, has been busy recently filming the new Mission: Impossible movies, but she will be reuniting with Denis Villeneuve for the sequel.
While her role in Dune was heavily publicized, Zendaya really doesn’t have very much screen time in the sci-fi blockbuster… but that is something that is very much going to change in Dune: Part 2. After being the literal girl of Paul’s dreams, Chani is now very much a part of his life, and the two of them will grow very close in the next chapter of this epic story – working together to try and save Arrakis from the evil forces that which to control and exploit it.
Javier Bardem is very much in the same boat as Zendaya where Dune is concerned. He has some notable scenes as Stilgar in the film, but the vast majority of them aren’t until the very end. That will change in a big way with Dune: Part 2, as a huge part of the movie will be Paul and Jessica becoming acclimated in Fremen culture, and that’s a world where Stilgar stands up as leader.
By the time the third act rolls around in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, audiences don’t know the fate of Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck. The character is featured trying to lead men in the fight back against the invasion of House Atreides on Arrakis, but the movie doesn’t feature a definitive scene that reveals his status. As such, this might be a bit of a spoiler… but Gurney Halleck is indeed alive, and he will be back in Dune: Part 2 once again played by Brolin.
Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is one of the most iconic villains in the history of the science-fiction genre, and Stellan Skarsgård does a brilliant job with his performance in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. He’s not in terrific shape at the end of the movie, as he is healing from the last-ditch effort attack by Duke Leto Atreides, but he is very much alive, and he is ready to bring the hammer down on Arrakis in Dune: Part 2 now that his enemies have been cleared off the board (or so he thinks).
Serving as one of Baron Harkonnen’s primary agents of cruelty in Dune: Part 2 will be Glossu “Beast” Rabban, played by the terrific Dave Bautista. The actor has just recently wrapped filming on another sci-fi epic – namely James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – but he’s surely excited to once again work with Denis Villeneuve, with whom he collaborated on Blade Runner 2049 before they came together on Dune.
Denis Villeneuve admitted in November 2021 that Feyd-Rautha was purposefully left out of Dune so that the character could have a “more elegant” introduction, and the actor who has landed the sought after role is Austin Butler – the star of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. Butler joined the cast of Dune: Part 2 in March 2022, and he will star in the sequel as a kind of counterpart to Dave Bautista’s Glossu Rabban. While “Beast” is all about brutality and strength, Feyd-Rautha is a villain who relies on intelligence and cunning (though, like every Harkonnen, at the end of the day he is a terrifying sadist).
Preceding the casting news about Austin Butler in Dune: Part 2 by just two days was the announcement that Florence Pugh has signed on to play a key part in the ensemble. She will be playing Princess Irulan in the hotly anticipated sequel, and without giving away too much to those of you who haven’t read the book, it may be a role that stirs up some controversy when the film hits theaters. The movie will provide a second opportunity for Pugh and Timothée Chalamet to work together, as they both previously starred in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women.
Fresh off his acclaimed performance in the AppleTV+ original series Severance, Christopher Walken is joining the Dune franchise – but he’s not just headed into space; he’s going to be running the whole show. It was reported in early May 2022 that Walken has signed on to play the role of Emperor Shaddam IV in Dune: Part 2. Presumably the movie will dig more into the relationship between the Emperor and House Harkonnen, who conspired to try and decimate House Atreides on Arrakis.
Set to arrive in theaters almost exactly two years after its predecessor arrived on the big screen, Dune: Part 2 will be released on October 20, 2023. You can consult our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to find all of the new films that keep you distracted and not thinking about the long wait for the sequel, and reflect on all of the awesome genre features that we saw last year (including Dune) with our ranking of 2021’s best sci-fi movies.