Dune: Part Two is a 2024 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts. The sequel to Dune (2021), it is the second of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert, and follows Paul Atreides as he unites with the Fremen people of the desert planet Arrakis to wage war against House Harkonnen. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem reprise their roles from the first film, with Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, and Léa Seydoux joining the ensemble cast.
Development began after Legendary Entertainment acquired film and television rights for Dune in 2016. Villeneuve signed on as director for the film in 2017, with the intention of making a two-part adaptation of the novel due to its complexity. Production contracts were only secured for a first film, with the second film having to be green-lit based on the first’s success. Though Villeneuve was concerned about the sequel’s certainty after the first film had a simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release, Warner Bros. Pictures assured him the sequel would happen if it performed well on HBO Max. After the critical and commercial success of the first film, Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment green-lit the film in October 2021. New cast members including Pugh, Butler, Walken, Seydoux, and Yacoub were announced in 2022, followed by Tim Blake Nelson a year later. Principal photography took place in Budapest, Italy, Jordan and Abu Dhabi between July and December 2022.
Dune: Part Two held its world premiere at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on February 6, 2024 and is set to be released internationally on February 28, 2024 and in the United States on March 1, 2024, by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Paul Atreides continues his journey, united with Chani and the Fremen, as he seeks revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family, and endeavors to prevent a terrible future that only he can predict.
- Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, the exiled Duke of House Atreides, who is called “Muad’Dib” by the Fremen
- Zendaya as Chani, a young Fremen warrior and Paul’s love interest
- Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Paul’s Bene Gesserit mother and concubine to Paul’s late father and predecessor, Leto Atreides
- Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, the former weapons master of House Atreides and Paul’s mentor
- Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen’s youngest nephew and planned successor of House Harkonnen
- Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter
- Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, the brutish nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and older brother of Feyd-Rautha
- Christopher Walken as Shaddam IV, the Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe and head of House Corrino
- Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, a Mentat loyal to House Atreides who is forced to serve House Harkonnen
- Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring, a Bene Gesserit and close friend of the Emperor
- Souheila Yacoub as Shishakli, a Fremen warrior
- Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, head of House Harkonnen, Feyd-Rautha’s uncle, sworn enemy to Atreides and former steward of Arrakis
- Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam, a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother and the Emperor’s Truthsayer
- Javier Bardem as Stilgar, leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr
Additionally, Tim Blake Nelson has been cast in an undisclosed role.
In March 2018, Denis Villeneuve stated that his goal was to adapt the novel Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert into a two-part film series. Villeneuve ultimately secured a two-film deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, in the same style as the two-part adaption of Stephen King’s It in 2017 and 2019. He stated that “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie” as Dune was “too complex” with “power in details” that a single film would fail to capture. In January 2019, Joe Walker was confirmed to be serving as the film’s editor. Other crew included Brad Riker as supervising art director, Patrice Vermette as production designer, Paul Lambert as visual effects supervisor, Gerd Nefzer as special effects supervisor, and Thomas Struthers as stunt coordinator. Dune: Part Two will be produced by Villeneuve, Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter, with Tanya Lapointe, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert, Thomas Tull, Jon Spaihts, Richard P. Rubinstein, John Harrison, and Herbert W. Gain serving as executive producers and Kevin J. Anderson as creative consultant. Legendary CEO Joshua Grode confirmed in April 2019 that they plan to make a sequel, adding that “there’s a logical place to stop the [first] movie before the book is over”.
In December 2020, Villeneuve stated that due to Warner Bros.’ plan to release the film in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, the first film could underperform financially, resulting in cancellation of the planned sequel. In an IMAX screening of the first film’s first ten minutes, the title logo read Dune: Part One, lending credence to plans for the sequel. By August 2021, Villeneuve spoke more confidently about the chances of a sequel film, iterating his excitement to work with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya again, while stating Chani will have a bigger role in the sequel. Warner Bros. assured Villeneuve a sequel would be greenlit as long as the film performs well on HBO Max. Just days prior to the first film’s release, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff stated, “Will we have a sequel to Dune? If you watch the movie you see how it ends. I think you pretty much know the answer to that.”
On October 26, 2021, Legendary officially greenlit Dune: Part Two, with a spokesperson for the company stating, “We would not have gotten to this point without the extraordinary vision of Denis and the amazing work of his talented crew, the writers, our stellar cast, our partners at Warner Bros., and of course the fans! Here’s to more Dune.” Production work had occurred back-to-back with the first film, as Villeneuve and his wife Lapointe immediately took a flight to Budapest in order to begin pre-production work. A key point of negotiation prior to greenlighting the sequel was assuring that the sequel would have an exclusive window where it would only be shown theatrically, with Legendary and Warner Bros. agreeing to give Dune: Part Two a 45-day window before it would be available through other channels. Villeneuve said this theatrical exclusivity was a “non-negotiable condition”, and that “the theatrical experience is at the very heart of the cinematic language for me.” With Dune: Part Two being greenlit, Villeneuve said that his primary concern was to complete the filming as soon as possible, with the earliest he expected to start in the last quarter of 2022. However, he noted that production would be facilitated by the work already established on the first film, which can help expedite production.
Eric Roth was hired to co-write the screenplay in April 2017 for the Dune films, and Jon Spaihts was later confirmed to be co-writing the script alongside Roth and Villeneuve. Game of Thrones language creator David Peterson was confirmed to be developing languages for the film in April 2019. In November 2019, Spaihts stepped down as showrunner for Dune: Prophecy to focus on Dune: Part Two. In June 2020, Greig Fraser said, “It’s a fully formed story in itself with places to go. It’s a fully standalone epic film that people will get a lot out of when they see it”. Between the release of Dune and the confirmation of Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve started working the script that way production could begin immediately once the film was greenlit. By February 2021, Roth created a full treatment for the sequel, with writing beginning that August. He confirmed that Feyd-Rautha would appear in the film, and stated he will be a “very important character”. In March 2022, Villeneuve had mostly finished writing the screenplay.
Villeneuve stated that the film would continue directly from the first, and specifically described it as being the “second part.” He described the film as being an “epic war movie”, adding that while the first film was more “contemplative”, the second would feature more action. The central story revolves around the control of spice, a psychedelic mineral that grants its users supernatural abilities, found exclusively on Arrakis, highlighting themes of environmentalism and exploitation. However, Villeneuve sought to anchor these abstract concepts to the characters, primarily through Paul and Chani. With the two featured in an “epic love story” between them, Villeneuve described them as the “epicenter of the story”. Zendaya initially found difficulty in creating dialogue, commenting that “It was funny trying to figure out in this futuristic space talk, like, how do they flirt?” Chalamet also added that Paul would be heavily influenced by Chani, serving as his “moral compass”. Additionally, Paul becomes deeply embedded in Fremen culture, developing a closer bond with Stilgar, who becomes his surrogate father figure and mentor, while tensions emerge between Chani and Lady Jessica, as Chani is aware that Jessica’s schemes negatively impact the Fremen. Villeneuve felt the film’s ending was more “tragic” than that of the book, feeling that it adequately resolved Paul’s storyline across the Dune films while setting up his character arc for a potential third film based on Dune Messiah (1969). He focused on Herbert’s original intention to depict Paul as an anti-hero in Dune, and wrote the film’s script that accounted for his future plans regarding Dune Messiah, such as by modifying Chani’s character from the book.
Following the first film, Baron Harkonnen is described as being heavily debilitated and reliant on being submerged in fluids, while focusing on choosing an heir: Glossu Rabban or Feyd-Rautha, both his nephews. Rabban was regarded as being a bad strategist, while Feyd-Rautha is shown to be clever and charismatic. Lady Jessica is also heavily traumatized by the death of Duke Leto, being compared to Paul as a “survivor” and strategizing to realize the ambitions of the Bene Gesserit, who aim to fulfill their prophecy to maximize human potential, disregarding morality and ethics. Of additional focus will also be on the political aspect, with Princess Irulan fearing that her father, Emperor Shaddam IV, will lose his throne due to his loss of influence over warring factions. Craig Mazin and Roth wrote additional literary material for the film.
In March 2022, Florence Pugh and Austin Butler were reported to be in talks to star in the film as Princess Irulan and Harkonnen heir Feyd-Rautha, respectively. Butler was offered the role while having coffee with Villeneuve, without needing to audition. He trained for four months in Budapest. Villeneuve described his performance as being a “cross between a psychopath killer, an Olympic sword master, a snake, and Mick Jagger” while Butler researched past cultures he felt “bred brutality” and took inspiration from various animals including sharks and snakes. In May, Christopher Walken joined the cast as Shaddam IV. In June, Léa Seydoux entered negotiations to join the cast as Lady Margot. In July, Souheila Yacoub joined the cast as Shishakli. In January 2023, Tim Blake Nelson was added to the cast in an undisclosed role.
Pre-shooting had commenced on July 4, 2022 at the Brion tomb in Altivole, Italy for two days. Principal photography was set to begin on July 21 in Budapest, Hungary, but began earlier on July 18. The film was entirely shot using digital IMAX certified cameras, with new filming locations and sets being used “to avoid repetition.” By October 2022, Chalamet had taken a break from filming in order to attend the premiere of Bones and All (2022). In November 2022, production moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE, with Pugh finishing her scenes later that month. Filming wrapped on December 12, 2022. Due to the delays, the film was able to transfer the digital film onto the IMAX 70mm film format.
For romantic scenes between Paul and Chani, the scenes primarily filmed in remote locations in Jordan during the golden hour. The scenes were often filmed as quickly as possible, with only a one-hour window being available. The scene of Paul’s sandworm ride was filmed practically on a production unit separate from the main one. Chalamet estimated the scene took over three months to film, with individual shoots occurring over a span of 20-30 minutes. As the actual sandworm wasn’t built and there was no reference shots, the production team designed a small portion of the worm on set and the actors had to physically visualize and imitate riding the sandworm. Ferguson had cited Lady Jessica undergoing the Reverend Mother process as her favorite scene, working with contortionists for the scene and comparing it to an exorcist film.
Hans Zimmer returned to compose the film’s score after doing so for the previous film. Zimmer had composed over 90 minutes of music prior to the announcement of the film to help give Villeneuve inspiration when writing.
Dune: Part Two was originally scheduled to be released on October 20, 2023, but was delayed to November 17, 2023, before moving forward two weeks to November 3, 2023 to adjust to changes in release schedules from other studios. Its release was then postponed by over four months to March 15, 2024 due to the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes. After the strikes were resolved, the film moved once more up two weeks to March 1, 2024. Dune: Part Two will be released in the IMAX 70 mm format to twelve venues worldwide, following the success of Oppenheimer (2023), in which Pugh also appeared.
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