The second part of Denis Villeneuve's epic Dune adaptation is coming this fall, and on Thursday, fans got a first look at some of the new characters joining the cast.
Dune: Part Two continues the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a young duke who lives in the distant future in an intergalactic feudal society. Following the murder of his father in the first film, Paul was forced to fight for his life on the inhospitable desert planet Arrakis. In the sequel, he seeks to avenge his family, reclaim his political power and find his place among the Fremen desert people.
Zendaya stars alongside Chalamet as Chani, a member of the Fremen who was little more than a vision in Paul's dreams in the first film. As the two finally meet in person, Paul's relationship with Chani becomes a focal point of his journey.
"It was funny trying to figure out in this futuristic space talk: How do they flirt?" Zendaya tells Vanity Fair. "What does that look like for a space warrior and the young duke of a planet? How do they show that they like each other? What does that even sound like? We were definitely trying to navigate that, which was funny because all of us were stumped. I think it's just as foreign to us as it probably is to the characters."
"The universe of Dune is a complex world of geopolitics and with tons of ecological and technological metaphors that hold up today," Chalamet adds. "But at the center, there's this relationship where Chani sort of becomes a moral compass…Even to say that out loud feels kind of huge, and she's really the humanizing, grounding force to that."
New players in Part Two include Florence Pugh, who joins the cast as Princess Irulan, the daughter of Emperor Shaddam IV (played by Christopher Walken), the supreme ruler of the galaxy, whose grip on the feuding factions is starting to slip.
"Her stake could not be higher because she's afraid that her father could lose the throne, could lose everything," Villeneuve says of the character. "When I met Florence, I was struck by her assurance, how grounded she is as a young woman, how direct, how unapologetic. She has something inherently royal about her. I will definitely believe that Florence could become, in the future, a prime minister."
Part of the collapse that Princess Irulan foresees is thanks to another new character to the Dune universe, the deadly Harkonnen prince Feydh-Rautha, played by Austin Butler, in yet another shocking physical transformation for the Oscar-nominated actor.
"Austin Butler brought to the screen something that would be a cross between a psychotic, sociopath serial killer and Mick Jagger," Villeneuve says of the menacing new character..
Also returning for the sequel are Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista and more.
Dune: Part Two is due in theaters Nov. 3.