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What Dune is about, in fewer than 900 words

Digging into the story of the Timothée Chalamet-led blockbuster

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The first Dune trailer is on the horizon, promising a first look at Denis Villenueve’s attempt to film one of the most unfilmable stories in the science fiction canon. Dune has generations of fans, but depending on how much the trailer shows off, some may be left scratching their heads at Timothée Chalamet and a basketball-team’s-worth of strong-jawed actors whipping around the desert with armor and swords. We wouldn’t blame anyone: Dune is dense.

Frank Herbert’s book is absolutely worth a read in advance of Dune ’s December release, but for those who want a crash course, we’re going to do our best to sum up the vibe of Dune , if not the plot, right here in less than 900 words. But remember, of the great classics of sci-fi literature, Dune is the “ this place has everything ” one. It’s one third Game of Thrones , one third space, and one third a giant bong rip. Prepare yourself.

Where and when Dune takes place

HARON DUNCAN-BREWSTER as Liet Kynes in DUNE movie

Dune takes place so many millennia into the future that it is essentially a fantasy universe. Humanity lives in a galactic empire that barely remembers Earth. Everyone has force fields that are impervious to fast-moving projectiles, so they have to fight with swords instead of guns. Spaceships can travel faster than the speed of light — but not because we built fancy engines. Instead, we discovered a drug so unspeakably dank that enough of it lets you fold space with your mind.

Power in the galaxy is a three-way balancing act between the Spacing Guild, who hold a monopoly on faster than light travel; the Padishah Emperor, who controls a fanatical army of Space Spartans (think 300 , not Halo ); and a system of alliances between hereditary noble Houses.

The invisible fourth pillar of this structure is the Bene Gesserit order. They don’t talk about how they’re pulling all the strings, but it’s obvious. Think of them as “all-female space Illuminati with witch powers.”

The major characters of Dune

Oscar Isaac as armored Leto Areides in the Dune movie

Among those noble Houses of Dune are the Atreides, ruled by Duke Leto, your typical Good Noble in Trouble for Having Morals. His spouse in everything-but-actually-being-his-legal-wife is Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit adept and his assigned consort. She was supposed to conceive a daughter with him in order to form the penultimate generation of the thousand-year Bene Gesserit plan to eugenically produce a messiah, but instead they fell in love. And Leto wanted a son so bad ( wow , Leto) that Jessica defied her orders and deliberately had one. Bene Gesserits can just do that.

Paul Atreides, their 15-year-old son, who might be the messiah. Or a boy whose best bet for survival is to take advantage of thousands of years of cultural manipulation in preparation for a messiah. Or both.

Paul has a lot of enemies, because Duke Leto’s morality just got his whole family unseated from their ancestral home and dispatched to the planet Arrakis. On paper, it’s a big promotion. In reality, House Atreides is being set up to fall.

Why everyone is headed to Arrakis aka the dune planet

Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune 2020

Arrakis is the eponymous planet of Dune , a desert wasteland populated only by hostile natives and even more hostile giant sandworms. Why does anybody fuck with this place? The dunes of Arrakis happen to be the only known source of Spice, the aforementioned drug that gives people the ability to yeet through space. (In small quantities it just gives you precognitive visions, some light psychic powers, and glowing, blue eyes.)

House Atreides has been sent to Arrakis to oversee the mining operations upon which the entire galactic society depends. The last noble house on the planet was the mustache-twirlingly evil House Harkonnen, hated rivals of the Atreides who oppressed and slaughtered the native Fremen tribes as “backward savages.” Leto is expected to move into the Harkonnen’s probably booby-trapped castle and maintain their rate of Spice production while keeping peace with the Fremen. If he fails, his whole House will probably be executed.

In other words, the the entire thing is a powder keg about to blow up, start a war, and begin Paul’s ascension.

Dune has been widely interpreted as an allegory for colonization. When I was a kid, the commentary was all about it’s parallels to the exploitation of the Middle East for its oil resources — enhanced by Herbert’s appropriation of Persian and Arabic terms like “padisha” and “jihad” to fill out his setting, and also by his own words .

But here in our modern day, some of Dune ’s ideas have gotten dusty, independent of Herbert’s intentions. There are a lot of folks in the science-fiction community who are ready to move past stories that examine the exploitation of the colonized by presenting a member of the colonizing class as a savior .

But the reason we’re even still talking about Dune is because of how completely it captured the imaginations of science fiction readers and writers. The modern viewer will probably see Dune ’s influence on Star Wars first, but you’ll also find it in book series like Game of Thrones and Wheel of Time; as well as movies like Tremors and Beetlejuice . Hollywood’s quest to make big money with a Dune movie has inspired or cultivated professional connections that crafted masterpieces like Alien , Contact , and Blade Runner .

And when it hits theaters, Villenueve’s version has a chance to become another brick in the foundation of science fiction.

The Dune guide

  • The big surprise of 2021’s Dune: Denis Villeneuve’s clear, sharp approach
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is all world-building and no world-living
  • Paul Atreides poops his Dune suit pants, canonically
  • Dune’s Rebecca Ferguson tried ‘Donald Duck sounds’ for her character’s mind-control voice
  • Timothée Chalamet’s hair was ‘like an animal’ on the sandy set of Dune
  • Why Timothée Chalamet’s Dune character Paul is an actor’s dream role
  • You should play the long-lost Dune board game, now back in print
  • Dune delayed until 2021
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Dune feels bigger and louder than the trailers make it look
  • The new Dune board game is quick and merciless
  • Timothée Chalamet confronts his sandy destiny in new trailer for Dune
  • The first Dune trailer is here
  • A Dune sequel would be far stranger than Dune Part One
  • Who are the Bene Gesserit of Dune?
  • Dune’s weird little lip tattoo, and what it means
  • What is the giant sandworm in Dune?
  • What is House Atreides in Dune?
  • Why are characters’ eyes blue in Dune?
  • What’s inside that box in Dune?
  • How to watch Dune on HBO Max
  • Zendaya talks her role in Dune Part 2, a movie Timothée Chalamet can’t wait to see
  • Everything we know about Dune 2

Movie Reviews

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Back in the day, the two big counterculture sci-fi novels were the libertarian-division Stranger in a Strange Land  by Robert Heinlein, which made the word “grok” a thing for many years (not so much anymore; hardly even pops up in crossword puzzles today) and Frank Herbert ’s 1965 Dune , a futuristic geopolitical allegory that was anti-corporate, pro-eco-radicalism, and Islamophilic. Why mega-producers and mega-corporations have been pursuing the ideal film adaptation of this piece of intellectual property for so many decades is a question beyond the purview of this review, but it’s an interesting one.

As a pretentious teenager in the 1970s, I didn’t read much sci-fi, even countercultural sci-fi, so Dune  missed me. When David Lynch ’s 1984 film of the novel, backed by then mega-producer Dino De Laurentiis , came out I didn’t read it either. As a pretentious twentysomething film buff, not yet professional grade, the only thing that mattered to me was that it was a Lynch picture. But for some reason—due diligence, or curiosity about how my life might have been different had I gone with Herbert and Heinlein rather than Nabokov and Genet back in the day—I read Herbert’s book recently. Yeah, the prose is clunky and the dialogue often clunkier, but I liked much of it, particularly the way it threaded its social commentary with enough scenes of action and cliff-hanging suspense to fill an old-time serial.

The new film adaptation of the book, directed by Denis Villeneuve from a script he wrote with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts , visualizes those scenes magnificently. As many of you are aware, “Dune” is set in the very distant future, in which humanity has evolved in many scientific respects and mutated in a lot of spiritual ones. Wherever Earth was, the people in this scenario aren’t on it, and the imperial family of Atreides is, in a power play we don’t become entirely conversant with for a while, tasked with ruling the desert planet of Arrakis. Which yields something called “the spice”—that’s crude oil for you eco-allegorists in the audience—and presents multivalent perils for off-worlders (that’s Westerners for you geo-political allegorists in the audience).

To say I have not admired Villeneuve’s prior films is something of an understatement. But I can’t deny that he’s made a more-than-satisfactory movie of the book. Or, I should say, two-thirds of the book. (The filmmaker says it’s half but I believe my estimate is correct.) The opening title calls it “Dune Part 1” and while this two-and-a-half hour movie provides a bonafide epic experience, it's not coy about connoting that there’s more to the story. Herbert’s own vision corresponds to Villeneuve’s own storytelling affinities to the extent that he apparently did not feel compelled to graft his own ideas to this work. And while Villeneuve has been and likely remains one of the most humorless filmmakers alive, the novel wasn’t a barrel of laughs either, and it’s salutary that Villeneuve honored the scant light notes in the script, which I suspect came from Roth.

Throughout, the filmmaker, working with amazing technicians including cinematographer Greig Fraser , editor Joe Walker , and production designer Patrice Vermette , manages to walk the thin line between grandeur and pomposity in between such unabashed thrill-generating sequences as the Gom Jabbar test, the spice herder rescue, the thopter-in-a-storm nail-biter, and various sandworm encounters and attacks. If you’re not a “Dune” person these listings sound like gibberish, and you will read other reviews complaining about how hard to follow this is. It’s not, if you pay attention, and the script does a good job with exposition without making it seem like EXPOSITION. Most of the time, anyway. But, by the same token, there may not be any reason for you to be interested in “Dune” if you’re not a science-fiction-movie person anyway. The novel’s influence is huge, particularly with respect to George Lucas . DESERT PLANET, people. The higher mystics in the “Dune” universe have this little thing they call “The Voice” that eventually became “Jedi Mind Tricks.” And so on.

Villeneuve’s massive cast embodies Herbert’s characters, who are generally speaking more archetypes than individuals, very well. Timothée Chalamet leans heavily on callowness in his early portrayal of Paul Atreides, and shakes it off compellingly as his character realizes his power and understands how to Follow His Destiny. Oscar Isaac is noble as Paul’s dad the Duke; Rebecca Ferguson both enigmatic and fierce as Jessica, Paul’s mother. Zendaya is an apt, a better than apt, Chani. In a deviation from Herbert’s novel, the ecologist Kynes is gender-switched, and played with intimidating force by Sharon Duncan-Brewster . And so on.

A little while back, complaining about the Warner Media deal that’s going to put “Dune” on streaming at the same time as it plays theaters, Villeneuve said the movie had been made “as a tribute to the big-screen experience.” At the time, that struck me as a pretty dumb reason to make a movie. Having seen “Dune,” I understand better what he meant, and I kind of approve. The movie is rife with cinematic allusions, mostly to pictures in the tradition of High Cinematic Spectacle. There’s “ Lawrence of Arabia ,” of course, because desert. But there’s also “ Apocalypse Now ” in the scene introducing Stellan Skarsgård ’s bald-as-an-egg Baron Harkonnen. There’s “ 2001: A Space Odyssey .” There are even arguable outliers but undeniable classics such as Hitchcock’s 1957 version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and Antonioni’s “Red Desert.” Hans Zimmer ’s let’s-test-those-subwoofers score evokes Christopher Nolan . (His music also nods to Maurice Jarre ’s “Lawrence” score and György Ligeti’s “Atmospheres” from “2001.”) But there are visual echoes of Nolan and of Ridley Scott as well.

These will tickle or infuriate certain cinephiles dependent on their immediate mood or general inclination. I thought them diverting. And they didn’t detract from the movie’s main brief. I’ll always love Lynch’s “Dune,” a severely compromised dream-work that (not surprising given Lynch’s own inclination) had little use for Herbert’s messaging. But Villeneuve’s movie is “Dune.”  

Opens in theaters on October 22nd, available on HBO Max the same day. This review was filed on September 3rd in conjunction with the world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Glenn Kenny

Glenn Kenny

Glenn Kenny was the chief film critic of Premiere magazine for almost half of its existence. He has written for a host of other publications and resides in Brooklyn. Read his answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Film credits.

Dune movie poster

Dune (2021)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material.

155 minutes

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica

Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides

Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck

Zendaya as Chani

Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban

Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes

Stephen Henderson as Thufir Hawat

Chang Chen as Dr. Wellington Yueh

David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries

Charlotte Rampling as Reverend Mother Mohiam

Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho

Javier Bardem as Stilgar

Golda Rosheuvel as Shadout Mapes

  • Denis Villeneuve

Writer (based on the novel written by)

  • Frank Herbert
  • Jon Spaihts

Cinematographer

  • Greig Fraser
  • Hans Zimmer

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Dune (2021 film)

  • View history

It was released in theaters on October 22, 2021 in the United States. [1] It was previously anticipated for release on December 18, 2020, [2] but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting theaters reopening and attendance.

The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve , from a script penned by Eric Roth, Denis Villeneuve, and Jon Spaihts, produced by Legendary Entertainment, and distributed by Warner. [3]

A sequel will be released on March 1, 2024.

  • 2 Plot Summary
  • 4 Development and production
  • 7.2.1 Trailers
  • 7.2.2 Behind the scenes
  • 7.2.3 Promotional events
  • 7.2.4 Awards
  • 8 External links
  • 9 References

Synopsis [ ]

Official synopsis of Dune from the press release: [4]

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, " Dune " tells the story of Paul Atreides , a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Full description from the press site:

Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive. The film stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Women”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise) Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “Avengers: Infinity War”), Stellan Skarsgård (HBO’s “Chernobyl,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, “Avengers: Endgame”), Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences,” “Lady Bird”), Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” HBO’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (“Mr. Long,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), David Dastmalchian (“Blade Runner 2049,” “The Dark Knight”), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Netflix’s “Sex Education”), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years,” “Assassin’s Creed”), with Jason Momoa (“Aquaman,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Skyfall”). Villeneuve directed “Dune” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert. Villeneuve also produced the film with Mary Parent, Cale Boyter and Joe Caracciolo, Jr. The executive producers are Tanya Lapointe, Joshua Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert. Behind the scenes, Villeneuve reteamed with two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette (“Arrival,” “Sicario,” “The Young Victoria”), two-time Oscar-nominated editor Joe Walker (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Arrival,” “12 Years a Slave”), two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert (“First Man,” “Blade Runner 2049”), and Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer (“Blade Runner 2049”). He also collaborated for the first time with Oscar-nominated director of photography Greig Fraser (“Lion,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”); three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (“The Revenant,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Quills”) and co-costume designer Bob Morgan; and stunt coordinator Tom Struthers (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception”). Oscar-winning and multiple Oscar-nominated composer Hans Zimmer (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Inception,” “Gladiator,” “The Lion King”) is creating the score. Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present “Dune.”

Plot Summary [ ]

Set against the backdrop of Arrakis , a desert planet home to the Fremen , and the only known source of spice — a cinnamon-like substance and the most sought after commodity in the universe, one necessary for travel between distant worlds — Chani Kynes tells the history of the harsh rule the Fremen (Arrakis’ native population) face under House Harkonnen. Living under the Harkonnens for years, Chani and the Fremen are surprised when House Harkonnen’s rule of Arrakis is ended by the Emperor , Shaddam IV .

Years later, it’s the year 10191. Caladan is the homeworld of the ruling House Atreides . An emergency meeting is called between House Atreides and the Emperor, in which he offers House Atreides the stewardship of Arrakis, to which they proudly accept. Poised as a polite offer, Leto (the head of Atreides) is aware that the Emperor has planned his next moves carefully, and plans to eradicate House Atreides and hand back control of Arrakis to House Harkonnen .

Leto’s only child, his son Paul , tries to convince one of his mentors, Duncan Idaho , to allow him to travel to Arrakis with him the next day, but finds Duncan is reluctant. Paul tells Duncan that he has had visions of Arrakis and the Fremen, which become more suspicious when Paul explains that he has seen Duncan lying in the desert, presumably deceased. Nonetheless, Duncan turns Paul away, not wanting to put Paul in danger but equally not to break Leto’s rules.

Frustrated with the outcome, Paul talks with his father about the situation, but finds that he too is reluctant to allow Paul to travel to Arrakis early. He tells Paul that he is the future of House Atreides and will sit on his council with him. The two discuss how they will need to master the desert in order to rule Arrakis, but will seek to bond with the Fremen and bring peace to the Houses. Later, Paul is running through his blade training when Gurney , another of his mentors, joins him and attacks him vigorously, reminding him that the bodily shields they wear can be penetrated by a slow moving blade. Thought Paul has been an excellent student of both Gurney and Duncan, Gurney tells him the new foe they face, the Harkonnens, are more brutal than any other enemy they have.

Days later, Paul is awoken during the night by his mother, Jessica, with news that Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam has arrived and wants to inquire about the strange dreams he has been having. Jessica explains that Mohiam is a respected and high ranking member of the Bene Gesserit ; Paul is aware that the Bene Gesserit is an all-female group of spies and theologians who have enhanced physical and mental powers. Paul has been training as a member of the Bene Gesserit under his mother.

After being warned about the Bene Gesserit by a doctor, Paul enters the room and meets Mohiam. Using the voice to make him passive, she subjects him to a test involving a poison needle called a gom jabbar . Despite being warned that failing the test would result in his death, Paul passes the test which subjects his right hand to extreme pain and is congratulated by Mohiam. As Mohiam leaves, she talks with Jessica about Paul being The One. Paul overhears the conversation and questions Jessica about it. Jessica reveals that the Bene Gesserit have been manipulating bloodline for centuries to eventually create someone who is capable of bringing peace to the houses. She remarks that some believe The One is already here.

Weeks later, House Atreides arrive on Arrakis with their soldiers. They are welcomed by a group of Atreides soldiers sent previously to get things ready. When they arrive, they are welcomed by the Fremen , who loudly chant “ Lisan al Gaib ”. Paul questions his mother on the meaning, and she reveals that it translates to “prophet”, or “messiah”, and means that the Bene Gesserit have been at work, planting the concept of an off-worlder who will one day lead the Fremen. Paul rebukes her, questioning if this means that they have been instilling superstition, but she merely replies that they have been getting things ready for the arrival. House Atreides settle in Arrakeen , the capital of Arrakis built by the Harkonnen. Arrakeen, Thufir Hawat notes, lies behind a large, natural wall that protects it from the powerful sandstorms that ravage the surface.

Shortly after her talk with Paul and Jessica, Mohiam travels to Giedi Prime , the homeworld of House Harkonnen, and explains that the emperor supports their battle to usurp House Atreides from Arrakis, therefore ending the house and taking back control of Arrakis. Mohiam explains, however, that Jessica is under the protection of the Bene Gesserit, and by extension, Paul too. The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen agrees to spare them reluctantly, but makes it clear after Mohiam leaves that they are not safe from Arrakis.

Only days after their arrival at Arrakeen , Leto meets with Stilgar, a representative of the Fremen. Stilgar's manner is gruff and initially seen as insulting to the Duke but Duncan explains that this is the Fremen way of diplomacy. When Stilgar spits toward the Duke, tension in the room runs high until Duncan again explains that it is a gesture of high respect by the Fremen to waste even a single drop of water.

Leto is informed that the equipment left by Harkonnen is substandard and the majority malfunctions; Leto believes that they have been set up to fail. Nonetheless, Leto, Paul and other figureheads of the house are invited on a tour of the operation in which they are shown an operating spice harvester in the desert by Dr, Liet-Kynes , the judge of change. Problems occur, however, when a sandworm approaches the harvester, drawn to the rhythmic sounds it emits. An extraction attempt is made, but the anchoring gear on the carryall fails and the harvester cannot be lifted to safety. Leto orders that the crew of 21 aboard be saved by transferring to Leto's small squadron of ornithopters . Further problems arise when Paul nearly falls victim to the sandworm but finds his visions intensified following the inhalation of the product in the spice bed.

House Atreides face further dangers in Arrakeen, when an attempt is made on Paul ’s life. The attempt fails, but Leto puts the guards on high-alert. Only days later, the traitor is revealed to be Wellington Yueh, a Suk Doctor and friend of Jessica’s. Yueh disables the shields protecting Arrakeen and blocks Atreides’ communications, allowing a coalition of Harkonnen and Sardaukar troops to invade the city. Thousands of Atreides soldiers are killed and the Atreides stronghold falls. Yueh is able to incapacitate Leto, and explains that Baron Vladimir — the ruler of House Harkonnen — has taken his wife and he has made a bargain, trading the Duke’s life to free his wife. Yueh replaces one of Leto’s teeth with a poison replica, citing that he must break the tooth when close enough to the Baron and release the poison. It will kill the Duke but should also kill the Baron.

During the invasion, Jessica and Paul are taken hostage by Harkonnen soldiers, who plan to eject them from the ship into the desert. In a desperate attempt to save his mother from being raped by the soldiers, Paul uses the voice of the Bene Gesserit, allowing his mother to be ungagged and command the soldiers to kill one another. Both Jessica and Paul are able to escape into the desert where they find a survival kit they have been left by Yueh. As the two sleep in the desert, it quickly becomes clear to them that Leto is dead when they find House Atreides signet ring in the kit; as a result, Jessica welcomes Paul as the new Duke of Atreides.

Meanwhile, back at Arrakeen, Yueh, despite fulfilling his part of the bargain and delivering the Duke to the Baron, is murdered by the Baron, who remarks that he is reuniting him with his wife in death, just as he promised. Moments later, Leto comes around from the poison dart, and is told by the Baron that Jessica and Paul are now dead. Leto is able to crush the tooth and release the poison. The majority of the court is killed by the vapor but the Baron is able to evade death, having deployed his shield only moments prior. He is later turned over to a group of healers who submerge him in a vat of black and yellow oil. He receives a report from Rabban, who tells the Baron that Paul and Jessica flew into a sandstorm of incredible power and could not have survived.

Alone in the desert after their long night, Jessica and Paul are eventually found by Duncan, who brings the two to an old research station where they meet with Kynes. Kynes explains that the research station was created to bring life and greenery to Arrakis, but after the discovery of spice, plans were cancelled in favor of the desert. Not long after their arrival, however, they are found by Sardaukar troops. Several Fremen are killed during the attack and Duncan also falls as a result, joining his master, Leto in death. Kynes, Paul and Jessica are able to escape the facility, but Kynes is soon discovered by the troops and is stabbed through the chest with a blade. In a desperate attempt to protect the future of House Atreides, Kynes thumps the ground, attracting a sandworm and allowing herself and the troops to be swallowed by the merciless creature.

Aware of the huge financial impacts that the coup has had on House Harkonnen — and the debt owed to the Emperor — Vladimir transfers control of Arrakis back to his nephew, the cruel and sadistic Rabban. He orders Rabban to sell Harkonnen’s spice reserves and restart production, but not to sell too much as the price of spice would fall.

L-intro-1599754912

Jessica and Paul come face-to-face with a sandworm.

After fleeing the research facility and stealing an ornithopter, Paul and Jessica eventually crash in the desert. Fearing they will be devoured by a sandworm, they scramble to the rocks but Paul finds himself face-to-face with a sandworm. He is surprised, however, when the sandworm merely looks at him instead of attacking. The worm is distracted momentarily by someone activating a thumper nearby. Whilst Paul and Jessica are thankful, Paul uses signs to alert Jessica that they are not alone. They are surrounded seconds later by Fremen . Among them, the Fremen are lead by Stilgar , but Paul finds himself mesmerized by Chani , the woman from his dreams.

Stilgar's tribe are reluctant to allow Paul and Jessica refuge, but eventually decide to do so when Jessica shows the two are good fighters. Tensions arise, however, when Jamis, a member of the tribe, protests against their recruitment and challenges Jessica to a duel. Given Jessica is a woman, she is unable to fight and Paul is forced to represent her. Despite being a skilled fighter, Jamis is bested by Paul and killed shortly after the start of the duel. Jessica is reluctant in joining the Fremen, but Paul insists, and the two join the Fremen on their journey to the stronghold with the aim of bringing peace to Arrakis. As they begin their trek across the desert, Paul and Jessica see a Fremen riding a large sandworm. Paul remarks "desert power", echoing his father's plan. Chani tells him "This is only the beginning."

  • Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides
  • Rebecca Ferguson as Jessica Atreides
  • Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides
  • Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Vladimir Harkonnen
  • Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen
  • Stephen McKinley Henderson is Thufir Hawat
  • Zendaya as Chani Kynes
  • Chang Chen as Wellington Yueh
  • Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes
  • Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho
  • Javier Bardem as Stilgar
  • David Dastmalchian as Piter de Vries

Development and production [ ]

Legendary Entertainment acquired the rights to make a Dune film in November 2016. [5] Filming began in March 2019. [6] It was filmed in Budapest, Hungary, and in Jordan. [7]

Despite wrapping production in 2019, it was confirmed that several scenes would be reshot in Budapest ahead of the December 18th, 2020 release date. [8] Scenes reshot are reported to include additional cinematic footage and extra photo shoots; further reshoots places Dune in post-production for over a year.

The film score for Dune was composed by Hans Zimmer. Three soundtrack albums were released throughout September and October 2021, to coincide with the release of the film: Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) , The Dune Sketchbook , The Art and Soul of Dune

Release [ ]

Dune had its world premiere on Friday, September 3, 2021 at the Venice Film Festival, where it received an eight minute standing ovation. [9]

It was released on October 22, 2021 in the United States, [1] and was released as early as September 15, 2021 in some European countries. [10] The film will also be released in 3D and Imax. [1]

The film had notable release delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially scheduled for release in theaters on December 18, 2020. [2] It was delayed to October 1, 2021, [11] and later moved to October 22, 2021. [1]

Gallery [ ]

Chani

Trailers [ ]

Dune Official Trailer

Official trailers and trailer music of the 2021 film adaptation.

Behind the scenes [ ]

"Filming in Jordan" featurette

Videos from the development and filming of the 2021 film adaptation.

Promotional events [ ]

DUNE (2021) Los Angeles Props & Costumes Exhibition (summer and autumn/fall 2021)

Videos from promotional events for the 2021 film adaptation.

'Dune' Wins Best Film Editing - 94th Oscars

Videos of film awards won by the 2021 film adaptation.

External links [ ]

Official links:

  • Official site: DuneMovie.com
  • Facebook: DuneMovie
  • WarnerBros: Dune

References [ ]

  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Deadline: Warner Bros Shuffles Fall Release Deck With ‘Dune’, ‘Cry Macho’ & ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’ by Anthony D'Alessandro. June 25, 2021.
  • ↑ 2.0 2.1 VanityFair: A First Look at Timothée Chalamet in Dune . April 13, 2020,
  • ↑ Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Gets November 2020 Release Date
  • ↑ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190318005491/en
  • ↑ Press Release from Legendary Entertainment: Legendary Entertainment Acquires Rights to Frank Herbert's Classic Sci-Fi Novel Dune . November 2016.
  • ↑ Press Release from Legendary Entertainment: Dune - Start of Production . March 18, 2019.
  • ↑ WarnerBros: Dune
  • ↑ https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/dune-reshoots-confirmed-rebecca-ferguson/
  • ↑ The Hollywood Reporter : Venice: ‘Dune’ Met With 8-Minute Standing Ovation at World Premiere by Patrick Brzeski. September 3, 2021.
  • ↑ DuneMovie.com: World Premieres 2021 , retrieved September 14, 2021. The film is releasing on September 15, 2021 in Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  • ↑ Collider: Exclusive: Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Movie Delayed Until Late 2021 by Jeff Sneider. October 5, 2020.
  • 1 Paul Atreides
  • 2 Leto Atreides II
  • 3 Kwisatz Haderach

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Dune explained: A beginner's guide to Frank Herbert's Dune

We hope you like sand.

preview for Dune trailer #2 (Warner Bros)

Dune has been adapted several times already, first by David Lynch in 1983 and again as a sci-fi miniseries, but neither version seemed to fully grasp the spirit of the Duniverse. And no wonder: Dune might just be one of the most challenging properties to adapt due to the sheer scope of the source material.

And what about the story? Part Hamlet and part Lawrence of Arabia, Dune is a lot of things: an ecological parable, a cynical take on messianic figures, a political intrigue with spies, traitors and plots within plots. The one thing Dune isn't is broadly accessible.

If you're thinking of picking up Herbert's original books to prepare for the movie's release this week or just want to watch Jason Momoa swing a sword without getting confused, here are a few things you need to know before getting started.

jason momoa as duncan idaho in dune

Set far in the future with huge, dense mythology already baked in, you'll probably see a lot of Star Wars comparisons when the movie hits cinemas, but Frank Herbert's books were around for more than a decade before Luke Skywalker became a household name.

You could say that Dune is a progenitor of Star Wars , with a young protagonist – in this case Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) – who struggles with a destiny he doesn't fully understand while rebelling against the empire that took everything from him.

As Paul ages into manhood, he becomes something of a cosmic savant and is unique among other SF protagonists in that he sees what the future has in store for him every night in his dreams. He can see the inevitability of the course his life will take, and the billions of lives that course will impact.

Unlike heroes like Luke Skywalker, or Ender from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game , Paul isn't stumbling blindly into the hero's journey. He feels the call to adventure already suspecting the pitfalls ahead.

Thanks to rigorous mental and physical training from both his mother and his father's most elite lieutenants, Paul is a young man ready to lead. He doesn't spend a lot of time doubting himself or his abilities. It's the future and fate that he doubts.

dune timothee chalamet

Paul aside, the world of Dune is almost extravagantly weird. Set in the distant future, Dune features a huge cast of central characters, a host of far-flung planets, and a rich, complex history where humanity has overturned Artificial Intelligence and banned "thinking machines" in an event known as The Butlerian Jihad.

Without those now-forbidden computers, human evolution has stepped up to fill the vacuum technology has left behind. Society has returned to a feudal caste system where each planet is its own fiefdom, overseen by The Padasha Emperor . Powerful guilds now control trade, space travel, planetary life, and guide the continued evolution of the human race.

All of this is made possible by the Spice Melange , a rare substance that extends natural life, even giving some who consume it the gift of prescience. It allows the Navigators of the Spacing Guild to fold space, making travel between planets possible.

Gollancz The Great Dune Trilogy: Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

The Great Dune Trilogy: Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

Spice also aids the Mentats – human computers – with their feats of logic. It gives the Bene Gesserit sisterhood the stamina for their intensive mental and physical training.

Shrouded in mystery, the Bene Gesserit are a matriarchal order who have been carefully overseeing the breeding program that will produce their Kwisatz Haderach , a male superbeing able to see through time.

When Paul's father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), is given stewardship of Arrakis and the production of the Spice he uproots Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), from the water-rich Caladan to the distant desert planet.

rebecca ferguson as lady jessica atreides and oscar isaac as duke leto atreides in dune

Formerly governed by their sworn enemy Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and his nephew Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista), Arrakis is a strange and perilous new home for the Atreides. The environment is hostile, with deadly sandstorms and colossal sandworms thriving in the deep desert where the Spice is harvested.

Water is so scarce and the climate so arid that going outside into the elements requires a special suit that filters potable water from the body's natural secretions and waste. To be in the desert of Arrakis without a Stillsuit is certain death.

Adding to these dangers is the vengeance the Baron Harkonnen has sworn against Duke Leto, both because he lost Arrakis and all its fabulous wealth in favor of the Atreides, and because of an ancient vendetta that has long existed between the two families.

To reveal just what happens when the Harkonnen finally make their move would be to spoil Dune for newcomers, but there's one final element you need to know.

Arrakis is also home to the Fremen, Dune 's native desert-dwellers led by Stilgar (Javier Bardem), leader of that particular tribe who end up becoming critical to Paul's fate. The Fremen are a tribal society of fierce warriors who have adapted to survive their environment, living in cave systems and riding giant sandworms.

Fremen are trained from childhood to protect their people and the secrets they keep, and they have their own legends about the coming of a Saviour from off-world. Paul has even had dreams of Chani (Zendaya), a Fremen girl close to his age, but what does it mean? You'll have to watch to find out.

dune zendaya as chani

While it might not be a light and easy read, there is a lot of value to be found in Dune . It's impossible not to get invested in the roster of vibrant and well-drawn characters, and the sheer possibilities that this is what humanity could look like in the year 10,191.

The themes of ecological change and political upheaval around a finite natural resource strikes a particularly poignant note in our current times. We may not have space travel or giant sandworms, but water scarcity, demagogues, and dangerous religious rhetoric is all familiar territory.

Wrapped up in fascinating characters and a universe full of wonders, Dune is at its heart a story of human potential and the dangers that come when that potential is finally and irrevocably grasped. If anybody can do justice to Frank Herbert's books, we have high hopes it can be Denis Villeneuve.

Dune is released in cinemas on October 21 and will also be available to watch on HBO Max in the US.

Beau North is co-host of Let's Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast .

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  • Dune: Part Two

2021, Sci-fi/Adventure, 2h 35m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Dune occasionally struggles with its unwieldy source material, but those issues are largely overshadowed by the scope and ambition of this visually thrilling adaptation. Read critic reviews

Audience Says

Denis Villeneuve's Dune looks and sounds amazing -- and once the (admittedly slow-building) story gets you hooked, you'll be on the edge of your seat for the sequel. Read audience reviews

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Dune videos, dune   photos.

Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.

Rating: PG-13 (Some Disturbing Images|Sequences of Strong Violence|Suggestive Material)

Genre: Sci-fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Drama

Original Language: English

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Producer: Denis Villeneuve , Mary Parent , Cale Boyter , Joseph Caracciolo Jr.

Writer: Jon Spaihts , Denis Villeneuve , Eric Roth

Release Date (Theaters): Oct 22, 2021  wide

Release Date (Streaming): Oct 22, 2021

Box Office (Gross USA): $108.3M

Runtime: 2h 35m

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production Co: Warner Bros., Villeneuve Films, Legendary Pictures

Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio: Digital 2.39:1

Cast & Crew

Timothée Chalamet

Paul Atreides

Rebecca Ferguson

Lady Jessica

Oscar Isaac

Duke Leto Atreides

Josh Brolin

Gurney Halleck

Stellan Skarsgård

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

Jason Momoa

Duncan Idaho

Charlotte Rampling

Gaius Helen Mohiam

Dave Bautista

Glossu "Beast" Rabban

Javier Bardem

Sharon Duncan-Brewster

Stephen Henderson

Thufir Hawat

Dr. Wellington Yueh

David Dastmalchian

Piter De Vries

Denis Villeneuve

Jon Spaihts

Screenwriter

Mary Parent

Cale Boyter

Joseph Caracciolo Jr.

Tanya Lapointe

Executive Producer

Joshua Grode

Thomas Tull

Brian Herbert

Byron Merritt

Kim Herbert

Greig Fraser

Cinematographer

Film Editing

Hans Zimmer

Original Music

Patrice Vermette

Production Design

News & Interviews for Dune

Dune: Part Two : Release Date, Trailers, Cast & More

Chernobyl Emmy Winner Johan Renck To Direct on Dune Prequel Series

Awards Leaderboard: Top Movies of 2021

Critic Reviews for Dune

Audience reviews for dune.

It's been said a lot and I'll say it again, Game of Thrones sci-fi. Dueling families, grand scale, dropping you into a massive world. And much like GoT, I sometimes felt like I needed cliff notes, and while I was intrigued as hell by this opening I can't help but feel the next chapter will be that much grander. It's a massive story told massively, and I am intrigued by it, but it is a first chapter. However, in terms of first chapters, it's pretty damn good. The sheer scope is enthralling, and the visuals are stunning. Not just that, the way the visuals tell the story. And the acting, every actor knocks it out of the park. It's great, but there is this lingering feeling that the next one will be better.

movie synopsis dune

I didn't read the books but was very much into the 2000-2003 miniseries on SciFi Channel (that I still recommend, stuff like this just isn't being made anymore with the closest modern thing maybe being "The Expanse") and also had the recent displeasure of watching the original 1984 film. (Wtf was that?) Dune 2021 is still exactly the slow-burn, atmospheric space opera it was intended to be but now with modern art direction and cinematography that really pushes those elements. Granted this first installment doesn't work much as a standalone film and is very setup heavy for a sequel. However I liked the liberties it took with storytelling and my memory is foggy but it also made the narrative easier to follow than previous iterations. I feel the color tones used really did a disservice in convincing me how incredibly hot, uninhabitable and valuable water is on Arrakis. The film insists on informing me of these things but the super muted and cool tones and lack of heat waves on camera were unconvincing. Villeneuve was so focused on creating this ambience of a grounded, bleak political landscape that it feels like he neglected the immersion of a super heated desert. I appreciated that the film focused on setting the stage on Arrakis, but not seeing even a glimpse of the Emperor and/or the Spacing Guild felt like omitting huge players in the political narrative and world building. Anyway, a very good movie otherwise if you like slow burn dramatic space operas with heavy lore. I hope it does well and isn't forgotten like Bladerunner 2042. Would be a great shame if the unconfirmed sequel(s) not made!

I attempted to read Frank Herbert's novel Dune when I was in the seventh grade. I had begun to read more fantasy literature and was looking at older, heralded novels. I can still recall my frustration of reading those first five pages and having to repeatedly flip back and forth to a twenty-five-page glossary of terms so that I could even start to comprehend what was happening on the page. After those five excruciating pages, I gave up. Maybe I was too rash, and maybe my older present self would be more accommodating to the struggle, or maybe it just wasn't worth the effort. I never watched the 1984 David Lynch adaptation that was met with great derision from critics and fans alike, although it does have its vocal defenders (Hindsight alert: Lynch turned down directing Return of the Jedi to helm Dune). So when acclaimed filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) became attached to direct a big-budget, large-scale adaptation of Herbert's novel, I was finally interested for the first time in my life. It was originally slated to be released in 2020, and after the studio planned to release Dune onto its HBO Max streaming service, Villeneuve and the production company negotiated to make sure a theatrical release would still be an important part of the plan. Alas, I watched the 2021 Dune at home, and I found myself enjoying the experience and development of the world building. However, it's unlikely to watch this version of Dune and feel like you got a full movie for your money. In the distant future, like 10,000 A.D., mankind has colonized worlds and the most important planet of them all is Arrakis. It's a desert world inhabited by poor natives, Freeman, who live a moisture-preserving life mining the natural "spice," a special substance that makes space travel capable as well as prolonging human life. The top family houses are vying for dominance and House Atreides has been assigned by the unseen Emperor to rule over Arrakis and bring it and its spice production back in line. Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) sees great opportunity but also great danger. The other houses will scheme to engineer the failure and desolation of House Atreides, especially House Harkonnen, led by the Baron (Stellan Skarsgard), who is like a mixture between Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now and Marlon Brando from The Island of Doctor Moreau (plus with levitation powers?). Paul Atriedes (Timothee Chalamet) is his family's heir and much is expected of him, especially from his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), who believes he may be long-prophesied messiah. On Arrakis, Paul and his father must tackle this very delicate new mission while keeping the many adversaries at bay. As anticipated, Dune is yet another visually stunning and gorgeously immersive visual experience from one of the greatest visual filmmakers working today. If you can watch the movie on a big screen, or at least a bigger screen, then you owe it to yourself to do so. The sweeping vistas and startling science fiction imagery have so much power and grandeur to them. If Lynch's movie inspired a generation of devotees and impressionable children, I imagine that this superior modern version will do likewise. The production design and costumes are terrific and perfectly in keeping with the larger scope of the expansive visuals. You really feel the size of this world and its imposing weight. Villeneuve has such a natural keen eye for pleasing visual compositions, but he also has the patience many famous big screen stylists lack. He allows the moments to linger and to let scenes breathe in a way that feels more transporting and immersive. If you were simply looking for a visually resplendent movie-going experience, then Dune is the ticket. The sound design is also very smartly aligned and makes use of unconventional and alien sounds to make the movie feel even more like its own thing. When Dune came out in 1965, this was before much of the modern building blocks of our sci-fi pop-culture, so in a way while Dune was the influence it feels partially like an odd after-effect rather than a predecessor. The same thing happened with 2012's John Carter, based upon a novel a hundred years old that influenced many sci-fi adventure serials and now seems derivative even though it came before the many imitations. I was happy with the first 90 minutes of Dune and felt like the slow pace of the first hour, and its heft of needed but spaced-out exposition, was paying off with a thrilling assault. The concept of the protective shields is a smart way to communicate the casualties of battle, where "kill shots" are illuminated in red, informing the audience or a mortal wound. It makes for an easy to read visual to keep up with the development of battle and stay in a safer PG-13 realm. The whole rescue sequence on the mining station is thrilling at every step. The cast is another major credit to the success of Dune. Chalament (Little Women) has a soulful yearning to him, to learn, to be his own man, to prove his father wrong and then prove worthy of his father's faith. Surprisingly, the next biggest role isn't Zendaya (Malcolm and Marie), the woman that Paul dreams about (prophetically?); it's Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep) as Paul's mother. She's a woman with deep secrets belonging to a powerful religious sect that might be the real power behind the throne. Lady Jessica is more Paul's mentor than any man. She teaches him to hone and focus his mind, to use the "Voice" to impart his will, and to prepare for the hardships to come. With every new exposition dump, and she has many, we learn about her growing concern for the fate of her son and her possible culpability for that fate. There's a genuine warmth between them that serves as the film's emotional core. I enjoyed watching Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Dave Bautista (Army of the Dead) as opposite ends of Super Good Fighter Guy, though Momoa looked unsettling without a beard. Needless to say, the 2021 movie is far more diverse than the 1984 movie. It makes space feel more lived in when it's reflective of a diversity of people that we already have at this point in our history. And then, after the hallway mark, Dune became a protracted sequence of chases and then I started to worry that things were just going to end in an unsatisfying manner, relegating the 150 minutes as setup for the as-yet-unplanned sequel, and that's exactly what happened. My mood began to deflate somewhat during the last hour of Dune. I was still interested and the visuals were still mighty captivating, but the events had the unmistakable feeling of being stretched out to meet a frustrating stopping point, a pause that didn't produce a satisfying endpoint. I just kept thinking, "Oh, they're not going to resolve this," and, "Oh, Zendaya is barely going to be in this movie," and the movie proved my predictions correct. It's hard to judge the movie as its own entity since it's so dependent on a Part Two that has yet to be greenlighted (though its strong opening box-office returns are hopeful). This is an expensive movie, possibly pushing $200 million, so it's quite a gamble to declare you would only be adapting roughly half of the story. Villeneuve's Blade Runner sequel, a movie I loved, had a budget of $150 million and a worldwide gross that didn't make the producers comfortable going forward with a Blade Runner 2050. To be fair, that was an original story, a sequel, and rather well contained. Still, it's an expensive sci-fi movie that has as much in common with dry art house fare as it does blockbuster adventures, like Villeneuve's Dune. The promise of a second movie is not secured. If Dune doesn't do well enough, we'll forever be left with a movie that feels designed to only be a teaser. It reminds me of the hubris of 2007's The Golden Compass where the filmmakers had a whole 20-minute finale that they carved out with the intention of having it be the opening for the assumed sequel (welp). Even when designing a multi-movie arc, it's necessary to plan each entry so that it can exist as its own beginning-middle-end and with a suitable intermediary climax. The Lord of the Rings movies each had their own climax, each moving the larger picture forward, and each had storylines and subplots that came to a head by film's conclusion. Dune doesn't. There are more dead characters by the end and certain characters are displaced, but it feels less like the end of the big-budget Dune movie and more like the conclusion of episode two of the Dune mini-series. My resonance with the source material is minimal, but the world of Dune feels stuffed with stuff and not as deep in the realm of commentary. Fans of the book series will likely thrill at the level of minutia the 2021 movie luxuriates in, allowing fans to lap up the lore. For those of us uninitiated into the fandom, it feels like there could be more going on behind the scenes. The book was released in 1965 and has clear parallels to Middle East occupations and quagmires, a subject even more relevant in the first quarter of this new century. There's the occupying force coming in to manage the supposedly primitive natives on a desert planet, replacing the last occupier who made bold promises that were unable to be met by the reality on the ground. The parallels of colonialism are there and obvious, but that's because everything in Dune seems obvious to me. The bad guys are corpse-white and dressed in all black. They look like the alien zombies from 1998's Dark City (itself referencing the silent sci-fi classic, Metropolis). The leader of House Harkonnen is this noxious man who bathes in black goo and sucks the life force from others. I don't need my sci-fi to be ambiguous about its heroes and villains. We clearly recognize the bad guys because they're grotesque. However, the lessons learned by the heroes seem a bit stilted. Its attacks on capitalism are a little more nuanced but not much. The planet of Arrakis could produce water but that's not in the interest of the power brokers of the galaxy. They need the spice for the economy and thus keep the exploitative status quo. The parallels are there but there's not much more to be had other than direct summations. The movie has more to say with religion and messiah figures but at this point we're grading on a curve, and the more complex commentary attached to messiah figures seems reserved for a Part Two. Another aspect I want to highlight that seems trivial but no less intriguing to me is how Herbert chooses his character names. We're eight thousand years into the future, spanning multiple planets with names like Arrakis and Giedi Prime and Salusa Secondus, and then we have such anodyne twentieth-century names like… Paul and Jessica? It's funny to me that Herbert goes to the trouble of coming up with so much jargon and terminology and alien-sounding names and then he says, "Hey, this guy's name is… Duncan Idaho," like he's a supporting character in Point Break. I realize this is a very dubious criticism, and there are other character names to conflict with this assertion, but it made me laugh at the different levels of effort Herbert put into his world-building and universe than selecting character names for that same far away land. After watching the new Dune, I went and watched the 1984 David Lynch version for the first time and was, quite simply, dumbfounded. I'll credit Lynch for many of the weird choices in style and how it never stoops to even be accessible for a mass audience, despite having characters explicitly narrate their schemes and motivations out in the open (by scene one, the power play that took up 90 minutes of Dune 2021 is awkwardly explained in full). By the end of Lynch's movie, it is an incomprehensible campy mess. I only have more appreciation for the 2021 Dune after watching the goofy (those eyebrows!) 1980s version that Lynch has disowned entirely, although that stirring guitar riff from the score still rocks thirty years later. The new Dune is only intended as Part One as its presumptive title promises, and because of this key artistic decision, there's a feeling of padding and wear by the end. I found myself reflecting back on the first 90 minutes more fondly. It's not that the last hour is absent great moments or audacious style, but it's hard to fully judge this Dune when its last line is its own conditioning of expectations: "This is only the beginning." The 2021 Dune is a visually remarkable movie experience with fantastic artists executing at some of the highest points of their talent. I'm eager to see if a Part Two can provide the satisfaction lacking in this beginning half. It's a hell of a start but it feels too incomplete and in need of an ending. Nate's Grade: B

Yes it could have been more psychedelic and I continue to be slightly annoyed by Villeneuve's obsession with imagery that is too clean, orderly, and monocolor for my taste (even the dirt and grime in his films are spotless) but the book's wonderful weirdness is still there and I was pleasantly surprised to see the heavy word building and exposition was neither too watered down nor so tedious the movie came to a screeching halt even time they had to explain what was going on.

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Dune: The Complete Guide To The Characters, Plot And More

Dune

A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then, that it is the year 2021, and after several delays Dune is finally preparing to hit cinemas. Denis Villeneuve ’s epic adaptation of the legendary sci-fi story is set to be one of the year’s biggest blockbusters – a mind-blowing feast of Spice, Sandworms, and seriously impressive performance from Timothée Chalamet , Zendaya , Oscar Isaac , Rebecca Ferguson and more. But if you’re a total newcomer to the sprawling mythology and space politics – and don’t have the time to read Frank Herbert’s novels, or watch David Lynch’s oft-maligned ‘80s adaptation – you might want to do a little brushing up first. Let the Guild Navigators of Empire guide you through everything you need to know.

What is Dune?

Dune Cover - 1965

Fundamentally, Dune is a 1965 science-fiction novel by Frank Herbert – a hugely influential tome whose space operatics and dense mythology can be felt in everything from Star Wars to Game Of Thrones . But Dune is also a sprawling franchise. Herbert himself wrote five sequels between 1969 and 1985, and his son Brian Herbert has written a further 14 prequels and sequels in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson since 1999. There was also a 1984 movie and a 2000 TV mini-series, plus numerous games of both the video and board variety. That’s… a lot of Dune .

What you really need to know if that it’s now also a massive new movie from director Denis Villeneuve. And possibly the beginning of a sprawling multimedia franchise that includes TV series as well as movie sequels. At least, that's if all goes as originally planned...

What’s the plot of Dune?

Dune

The broader franchise spans millennia, but for our purposes, the story of the new Dune film relates only to Frank Herbert's original novel. It takes place in the distant future, in an intergalactic feudal society presided over by various noble families and one all-powerful emperor. Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of the ocean planet Caladan, accepts a relocation to the harsh desert planet of Arrakis – known colloquially as Dune – to oversee the mining of the all-important spice Melange, of which Arrakis is the only source. Melange is the most powerful substance in the universe, and the means by which space travel is possible. The spice must flow, but mining it is a dangerous business thanks to Arrakis' massive indigenous sandworms.

Leto's son is Paul. Paul's mother is Leto's concubine, the Lady Jessica, who is a member of the mysterious and sorcerous Bene Gesserit sisterhood. But the Arrakis gig isn’t what it initially seemed to be, the paranoid Emperor Shaddam IV is in dealings with the corrupt House Harkonnen, and the indigenous Fremen people of Arrakis are through with the Empire’s meddling. To say any more would unleash massive spoiler-worms – which are even worse than sandworms.

What’s Denis Villeneuve’s take on the story?

Denis Villeneuve

Since David Lynch ’s ‘80s version is widely regarded as a not-so-successful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book (especially by the director himself), Villeneuve has split the story in two. Effectively, Dune is Dune: Part One – it’s half the story, acknowledging that you need really significant screen time to fit the whole tale in. The (potential) problem is that while Part Two is officially planned, it hasn’t been filmed yet – and its ultimate creation is entirely dependent on Dune being a hit. Pre-book your tickets now people!

Villeneuve is a stellar choice for this one, though – he has form for making big, brilliant, brainy sci-fi movies, from Blade Runner 2049 to Arrival (as well as thrillers like Prisoners , Sicario and Incendies ). He's brought Arrival and Sicario 's production designer Patrice Vermette with him, and the cinematographer is Greig Fraser, who shot Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Zero Dark Thirty .

Who’s in the Dune cast?

Everyone, more or less. Denis Villeneuve has assembled an extraordinary cast of impeccable actors for this one. Here’s who’s involved.

Timothée Chalamet is Paul Atreides , son of Duke Leto and Lady Jessica, a lad with a future on the planet Arrakis even he doesn't fully understand.

Dune

Rebecca Ferguson is Lady Jessica : Paul's mother, Leto's concubine, and member of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood.

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Oscar Isaac is Paul's father Duke Leto Atreides , erstwhile steward of the planet Caladan, lately reassigned to Arrakis.

Dune

Josh Brolin is Gurney Halleck , the weapons master of House Atreides and Paul's mentor. He also plays a mean baliset.

Dune

Jason Momoa (shorn of his trademark wildman beard) is Duncan Idaho , House Atreides' master of swords. Idaho is, through various shenanigans, a major player throughout all of the Dune novels, so Momoa could be in for the long haul here.

Dune

Sharon Duncan-Brewster is Liet Kynes , the Arrakis-based planetologist and ecologist who acts as the Atreides' liaison with the Fremen. With Herbert's novel not exactly replete with great roles for women, Kynes has been gender-swapped for the film.

Dune

Javier Bardem is Stilgar , leader of the Fremen tribe.

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Zendaya is Chani, Paul's Fremen love interest.

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Stellan Skarsgård is the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen , Duke Leto's arch enemy.

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Dave Bautista is Glossu "The Beast" Rabban , the Baron's monstrous nephew and henchman.

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Chang Chen is Doctor Wellington Yueh , a senior medic of House Atreides.

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Charlotte Rampling is Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam , the Emperor's "truthsayer" and Lady Jessica's Bene Gesserit mentor.

Dune

David Dastmalchian is Piter De Vries , a Harkonnen “Mentat” (someone who has been trained to think and compute at a superhuman level; computers and "thinking machines" having been outlawed in Herbert's Dune -iverse).

Stephen McKinley Henderson is Thufir Hawat , the Atreides' Mentat and master of assassins.

What are the previous adaptations of Dune?

Dune (1984)

Alejandro Jodorowsky , in cahoots with French producer Michel Seydoux, first schemed an adaptation of Dune in the 1970s, with HR Giger, Jean "Moebius" Giraud, Dan O’Bannon and Chris Foss among his band of "warriors" behind the camera. Salvador Dali would apparently have played Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, with Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen. Pink Floyd were doing the music. As outlined in the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune , this version ultimately collapsed – and given Jod's mad vision, it was probably unachievable anyway.

Many of Jod's crew went on to Ridley Scott 's Alien , and Scott was himself attached to Dune for seven months in the early 1980s for producer Dino De Laurentiis. When Scott abandoned the project in favour of Blade Runner , De Laurentiis persuaded David Lynch to take it on. Lynch's Dune – starring Kyle MacLachlan , Sean Young and Sting – reached screens in 1984. It underperformed at the box office and was, artistically, not an unqualified success. But its reputation as a complete disaster has been reevaluated to some extent in the decades since. Lynch has called the whole experience "a huge, gigantic sadness in my life", but his film has its admirers.

SyFy (the Sci-Fi Channel as it then was) produced TV mini-series versions of the first three Dune novels between 2000 and 2003. More recently, studio Paramount were trying to get a new Dune off the ground for several years, with names like Peter Berg and Pierre Morel attached at various points. Paramount's Dune rights lapsed in 2011, and Legendary picked them up in 2016. The new film, with Denis Villeneuve as the director, was confirmed the following February. Legendary's deal with the Frank Herbert estate allows the development of both films and TV shows. More on that below…

Who’s written this version?

Dune

Dune ’s credited screenwriters are Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth . Spaihts wrote Passengers and the original drafts of Doctor Strange and Prometheus . Roth's previous work includes A Star Is Born , Munich and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button , and he won an Oscar for Forrest Gump .

What’s the proposed Dune spin-off series?

Dune - Bene Gesserit

As if the massive film project wasn't enough, Villeneuve has also been developing a spin-off TV series for Warner Bros.' new streaming service HBO Max. Set before the film, Dune: The Sisterhood will focus on the mysterious and powerful Bene Gesserit order, pursuing the secretive plans that will ultimately lead them to Arrakis. "The Bene Gesserit have always been fascinating to me," Villeneuve said in a statement. "Focusing a series around that powerful order of women seemed not only relevant and inspiring but a dynamic setting for the television series."

Villeneuve will shift focus to the show once the film has wrapped. Currently, he's on to direct the pilot from another Jon Spaihts screenplay, maintaining the visual identity from the big screen to the small. After that, Villeneuve and Spaihts will serve as executive producers for the rest of the series, alongside Brian Herbert.

Who composed the Dune score?

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer is doing it – not only that, but he turned down working on his old friend Christopher Nolan on Tenet because he couldn't bear to miss out on Dune . "I have to do it,” the prolific film composer told The Playlist . “Chris understands I have to do it. Dune is one of my favourite books from my teenage years and I love Denis Villeneuve, obviously. I never saw the original (David Lynch) Dune movie, so I’m coming at this in a fresh way, just from the book."

What is Dune’s release date?

Dune

After a long delay, Dune is currently scheduled for release on 22 October this year, preceded by a Venice Film Festival premiere on 3 September. In the States, it will simultaneously be in cinemas and on HBO Max – a source of consternation for Villeneuve, who has gone on record saying he thinks it'll hurt the movie's chances at the box office and endangers the chances of making the planned second film. Fingers crossed he gets to make his full vision – and we’ll see you on Arrakis. Watch out for the sandworms!

READ MORE: Dune: The Inside Story Of Denis Villeneuve’s Science-Fiction Epic

READ MORE: Timothée Chalamet On Dune: ‘I Felt A Deep Desire To Be Involved’

READ MORE: Zendaya On Dune: 'Chani Is A Fighter'

Dune Movie Poster

In Theaters: October 22, 2021

On DVD/Blu-ray: January 11, 2022

PG-13 | Adventure , Fantasy , Drama , Sci-Fi | 2h 35m

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Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is a member of the royal family on his home planet. When he has vivid dreams of a girl (Zendaya) on the spice planet Arrakis, he begs soldier Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) to allow him to tag along on his mission to the dangerous planet. However, Duncan doesn't feel the boy is ready.

After Paul's father Leto (Oscar Isaac) makes a deal involving Arrakis, he and Paul, along with soldiers, travel to Arrakis. Leto wants to harvest the spice, while Paul wants to find the girl. But when outsiders who have been getting rich from the profits they've made selling the spice return, they try to exterminate everyone on the planet to keep the spice for themselves. Paul and his people have to unite with the natives in order to survive the oncoming doom.

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Frank Herbert.

What 'Dune' is about and why you should care about the new movie starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya

  • Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" premieres October 22, and stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.
  • For those who unfamiliar with the novel (or David Lynch's adaptation), here's why you should care.
  • The story is epic, and the settings rival those of "Game of Thrones" or "Lord of the Rings." 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories .

Insider Today

Set on far-away planets in the distant future, "Dune" is a sci-fi fantasy epic that rivals "Game of Thrones" or "The Lord of the Rings." 

Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, "Dune" has been made into a movie in 1984 and a miniseries in 2000. Now, another adaptation — starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, and more — is set to premiere in October. 

Longtime fans of the "Dune" novels and the (admittedly campy) 1984 adaptation are excited to see how director Denis Villeneuve brings this iconic story to life in his upcoming film. 

And while "Dune" isn't a perfect story, here's why you shouldn't overlook this awe-inspiring and enthralling epic. 

'Dune' focuses on the Atreides family as they try to survive on a new hostile planet 

The Atreides family are the rulers of the ocean planet Caladan, and "Dune" begins with patriarch Duke Leto (Isaac) receiving an assignment from the Emperor to relocate to Arrakis — a dangerous desert planet. 

Once on Arrakis, Leto and the rest of his family take over mining of melange, or "spice," a mysterious substance that prolongs human life and enhances cognitive abilities.

Joining the Atreides on Arrakis are Duncan Idaho (Momoa) and Gurney Hallack (Brolin), two fierce fighters helping to train Leto's son Paul (Chalamet) in battle. 

But unfortunately for the Atreides family, they're betrayed by one of their own soon after their arrival on Arrakis, and Paul and his mother, the Bene Gesserit witch Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are left to fend for themselves. 

Eventually, Paul and Jessica come into contact with the Fremen, a group of people native to Arrakis. Paul learns more about his heritage and psychic abilities, and even meets his love interest, a Fremen woman named Chani (Zendaya.) 

The remaining members of the Atreides family soon join forces with the Fremen to take back Arrakis and avenge their family. 

Understanding the planets, customs, and people of 'Dune' can be daunting, but at its core, it's a coming-of-age story

Bene Genneserits, the Kwisatz Haderach, gom jabbars, and Arrakis — much like any sci-fi story, the names of people and places in "Dune" can take some getting used to.

There are also complicated interplanetary politics at play involving House Atreides, their rivals the Harkonnens, and the Padishah Emperor Shaddam. 

But at the center of "Dune" is a coming-of-age story involving Paul, the young son of Duke Leto who's forced to fight for his life and his family after a terrible betrayal on Arrakis. 

Throughout "Dune," Paul grows from a naive young nobleman into the all-powerful Kwisatz Haderach — the messiah of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood who's thought to see both the future and the past. Along the way, he also meets his love interest, Chani, and becomes a skilled fighter and soldier, even planning revenge on the Harkonnens. 

Strip away the sci-fi trappings, and "Dune" is just a classic coming-of-age story — albeit one set on a distant planet in the future. 

While the 1984 adaptation was definitely entertaining, this adaptation seems better suited to Herbert's original vision

There's a lot to unpack in David Lynch's 1984 adaptation.

Starring Sting, Kyle MacLachlan (of "Twin Peaks" fame), Patrick Stewart, and Max von Sydow, among others, the movie was a commercial and critical failure that was subsequently disowned by Lynch. 

But for true "Dune" fans, the movie is still worth a watch, if only for the '80s-appropriate soundtrack by Toto and the inclusion of the Atreides' pug that's never explicitly mentioned in the book , yet somehow included in key scenes in the movie. 

Despite the endearing parts of the 1984 version , Villeneuve's adaptation seems like a much more accurate representation of Herbert's sprawling, dense novel. 

For starters, the new "Dune" wisely focuses on the first half of the novel, meaning that there will hopefully be more exposition and character development than in Lynch's jam-packed version. 

There also seems to be a marked shift in tone — while Lynch's film was (unintentionally) campy and featured a buffoonish villain, Villeneuve's adaptation seems darker and sleeker, with an antagonist ( Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Harkonnen ) to match. 

While some fans may always have a soft spot for David Lynch's fantastical reimagining of Herbert's novel, if the new trailer is any indication, Villeneuve seems like he's truly done right by the unforgettable epic. 

The star-studded cast will also make it worth a watch, too

Chalamet was a brilliant casting decision for the role of Paul. Chalamet's work in films like "Call Me By Your Name" and "The King" has shown he's up to the challenge of playing a lonely nobleman. 

Zendaya, too, is sure to be unforgettable as Chani, Paul's Fremen love interest who will hopefully have more of a role (and more lines) in this adaptation than in Lynch's. 

And with Momoa, Brolin, Isaac, and others also in the mix, "Dune" is primed to be a serious awards contender once it premieres. 

But some have pointed out the problematic nature of the book and movie

After the first trailer for the new "Dune" premiered, numerous Twitter users pointed out that the film — which is set and filmed in the Middle East and draws heavily from Middle Eastern culture — doesn't include a single actor from that region of the world. 

—Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) September 9, 2020
—moh (@selenATEors) September 9, 2020

People also pointed out that Herbert based the Fremen people, as well as their beliefs and culture, on people from the Middle East. 

—fka 🌹 (@dayaspsychic) September 9, 2020
—burair (@zabiha__halal) September 9, 2020
—Lizz Adams (@Lizz) September 9, 2020
—carol 🍒 | 7 days | DUNE SUPREMACY (@PARKERSWEASLEY) September 9, 2020

People said they found it disappointing that "Dune" didn't include more actors from that region of the world, especially given how influential Middle Eastern and Arab culture was to the creation of the story. 

And while filmmakers did make some important changes to Herbert's original vision , it's no excuse for the lack of Middle Eastern representation in the cast. 

'Dune' isn't a perfect film, but fans should still be excited to see it 

With an enthralling yet relatable story, a star-studded cast, and an intricately-built world, "Dune" will definitely be a must-see movie.

While the story itself has some flaws and representation could have been better, the trailer for "Dune" proves it will be a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic experience.

movie synopsis dune

Watch: After passing $1 billion at the box office, a 'Joker' sequel is reportedly in the works. Here's everything you need to know about the ending of the first movie.

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‘Dune’ for Dummies: Everything You Need to Know Going Into the Sci-Fi Blockbuster

By Sean T. Collins

Sean T. Collins

Not even the desert winds of the planet Arrakis can match the heat around the long-anticipated arrival of Dune, director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s landmark 1965 science-fiction classic. Staring Timothée Chalamet as the young nobleman Paul Atreides, Zendaya as his love interest Chani, Oscar Isaac as his father Duke Leto, and Jason Momoa as his mentor Duncan Idaho, this new version of the old classic has weathered the pandemic storm to finally arrive in theaters (and on HBO Max) on October 22nd. But while Herbert’s dense worldbuilding and inventive jargon has made the book a bestseller since its inception, it can be a notoriously impenetrable work — especially when it comes to adapting its long, winding story for the screen.

Don’t know your Baron Harkkonen from your Bene Gesserit? Don’t sweat it: Our quick and dirty guide to Dune will get you up to speed.

The Setting Dune takes place thousands and thousands of years into humanity’s future, by which time humans have spread throughout the known universe. But our colonization of the stars wasn’t easy. Some 10,000 years prior to the events of the story, a massive holy war against artificial intelligence known as the Butlerian Jihad saw all forms of “thinking machines” wiped out.

Several specialized orders of mental superhumans arose in the wake of this anti-computer crusade: the Mentats, specially trained geniuses with brains that outmatch even the most advanced AI; the Bene Gesserit, a secretive sisterhood of women who work to ensure humanity’s continued progress under the guidance of their near-telepathic Reverend Mothers; and the Guild Navigators, mutated beings whose powers enable the ships they guide to travel through space.

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Crucial to everything from the Bene Gesserit sisters’ mental abilities to the Guild Navigators’ space-folding powers, however, is a substance known as “the spice” or “the spice melange.” This mind-altering substance is excreted during an early stage in the life of gargantuan subterranean creatures called sandworms, and is found on only one planet out of the tens of thousands inhabited by humans: the desert world of Arrakis, a.k.a. Dune. This makes control of Arrakis absolutely crucial to the universe’s balance of power. (If you’re picking up parallels with the oil-rich lands of the Middle East, you’ve got the gist of it.)

And by the time of Dune ’s events, that balance of power is dangerously out of whack. In addition to powerful organizations like the Guild and the Bene Gesserit, the universe is governed by various noble Houses who assemble in a body called the Landsraad, nominally under the rule of the mighty Padishah Emperor. While the Emperor uses his deadly shock troops, the Sardaukar, to maintain order, rival houses jockey for power behind the scenes.

For those of you who had trouble keeping up with Game of Thrones ’ sometimes complicated House system, don’t worry: In Dune, there are only three Houses worth noting: House Corrino, the hereditary rulers of the Imperium; House Atreides, the nobles who comprise the story’s good guys; and House Harkkonen, the Atreides’ deadly, sleazy arch-rivals.

The Story When Dune begins, we’re centuries deep into the Bene Gesserit’s special breeding program, in which the sisters control who mates with whom and what offspring they produce. Their goal is to eventually create a messianic figure known as the Kwisatz Haderach. This scheme has been rocked by the decision of one of their members, Lady Jessica, to bear her lover Duke Leto Atreides a male child, instead of an officially sanctioned female.

That child is now a young man, and the saga’s primary hero: Paul Atreides. He’s been receiving training in various mental and physical disciplines on House Atreides’ homeworld Caladan from his father’s Mentat, Thufir Hawat; his “Warmaster,” Gurney Halleck; and his “Swordmaster,” Duncan Idaho.

But even as Paul begins to manifest extraordinary powers — think prophetic dreams and incredible pain tolerance — House Atreides’ enemies are conspiring to bring the Duke down. In an offer that Leto can’t refuse, the Emperor grants his family control of Arrakis. It’s too lucrative an opportunity to turn down. But it’s also very clearly a trap meant to draw House Atreides into the crosshairs of the evil Baron Harkkonen and his goonish nephew, the Beast Rabban.

Without going too deep into spoiler territory, the trap is eventually sprung, leading to House Atreides’ catastrophic defeat. Paul is forced into hiding among Arrakis’s native population, the indigenous desert nomads called the Fremen. Endowed by the Bene Gesserit’s millennia-long propaganda program with fervent belief in a messiah figure, they take Paul in as one of their own. A romance with a Fremen woman named Chani and universe-shaking shenanigans ensue, as an all-out war for control of Arrakis and its spice breaks out, with Paul’s burgeoning mental powers at the center of it all.

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The History Originally serialized in the seminal science fiction magazine Analog, Frank Herbert’s epic was an immediate sensation upon its publication as a standalone novel in 1965. Driven by the author’s keen interest in ecology, sociology, and messianic religions, it won both the prestigious Hugo Award and the very first Nebula Award for Best Novel.

Herbert would follow Dune with five sequels: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. His son Brian and sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson would keep the spice flowing with their own series of Dune novels decades later.

There’s been a long and troubled saga of adaptation attempts since its original publication, however. Throughout the 1970s, a who’s who of sci-fi luminaries and cinematic cult figures — including Holy Mountain filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, Planet of the Apes producer Arthur P. Jacobs, and Alien director Ridley Scott — have tried to get a film version off the ground. Nothing succeeded until David Lynch’s big-budget would-be blockbuster debuted in 1984; after extensive edits exercised by producer Dino De Laurentiis drastically altered the Eraserhead director’s vision for the movie, Lynch had his name taken off that cut of the film. His vision for Herbert’s masterpiece still makes for fascinating viewing, however, despite the producer’s disappointment that the director did not deliver the second coming of Star Wars.

A pair of well-received adaptations spearheaded by writer John Harrison, Dune and Children of Dune, aired on the then-SciFi Channel in the early 2000s. Directors Peter Berg ( Friday Night Lights ) and Pierre Morel ( Taken ) were associated with subsequent attempts at a feature-film version of the book, before Blade Runner 2049 ‘s Denis Villeneuve took the reins and has finally given us a new Dune for the big screen. (And the small one — this is still a pandemic, after all.) The question now is: Will he succeed at making this strange, special story a smash success where so many others have failed?

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Dune: Part Two Review

Desert. power..

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Dune: Part Two opens in theaters March 1.

If you threw a rock on the internet when Dune: Part One came out, you’d hit a comment calling it “ Star Wars for adults.” The sandworm-eating-its-own-tail of that assessment aside, Denis Villeneuve’s efforts to adapt Frank Herbert’s novel of interplanetary empire and rebellion really share more in common with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy – films which transposed a thorny, dense literary mythology into an accessible, groundbreaking spectacle which remains beloved today. In that respect, Dune: Part Two’s considerable expansion of the story’s scope and splendor positions the movie as a Two Towers for the 2020s, a middle chapter that doubles down on the quirks of its source material and is largely successful at sustaining its unwieldy, fascinating identity.

Dune: Part Two picks up in the immediate aftermath of the Harkonnens’ obliteration of House Atreides, with the supplanted Duke of Arrakis Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) hiding amongst the desert planet’s native Fremen people. After narrowly avoiding death himself, Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) is moving quickly to resume control of spice harvesting. The storyline splinters into a tapestry of war, intrigue, and destiny from there. For as heady and sometimes hard-to-follow as the mythmaking surrounding Paul gets – or the space politics, for that matter – Villeneuve and co-writer Jon Spaihts’ script constantly reinforces the most important information with streamlined efficiency. Dune: Part Two can’t even get to the Warner Bros. logo without reminding the audience how important spice is – remember, it’s the lifeblood of the economy in this far-off future – and it’s with that fervor that Baron Harkonnen sets about consolidating his family’s power. The success of Paul’s counteroffensive, and his rise as a messianic figure amongst the Fremen, are contingent of how much of himself he’s willing to sacrifice in the name of destiny, and Chalamet does a good job navigating the Kwisatz Haderach through the darker territory this time around.

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movie synopsis dune

Tense confrontations between Paul and trusted confidants like his mother and his mentor, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), serve to highlight Dune: Part Two’s story of generational divide, and Chalamet’s rising frustration feels well-pitched to the stakes as they boil over into a larger conflict. Villeneuve drives a particularly interesting wedge between Paul and Jessica, a far more active player this time around who tests the limits of her own Bene Gesserit power in some of the most surreal sequences of Part Two. Dune certainly traffics in big emotions, but there’s quiet tragedy in the distance that grows between Paul and Jessica as they reach fuller understandings of their own potential.

After being more or less confined to dream sequences in Part One, Zendaya’s Chani is a focal point of Part Two. Her reluctance to accept Paul as the Lisan al Gaib – the savior promised to the Fremen by the Bene Gesserit – is representative of larger sociological forces at play, with Stilgar’s (Javier Bardem) Northern tribe being more secular than Arrakis’ zealous Southern Fremen. The Fremen will need to be united to stand against the forces of the Imperium, and the sacrifices and compromises that Chani make constantly ground the story with help from Zendaya’s direct, steely performance.

Dune: Part 2 Character Posters

movie synopsis dune

If all this talk of prophecy and fate sounds like a rather ponderous way to spend 166 minutes, don’t worry – Villeneuve knows exactly when to drop one of Part Two’s fantastic action sequences. An early attack on a spice harvester gives the director ample opportunity to frame the central conflict in microcosm, with Fremen expertise and adaptability outpacing technological advantage in jaw-dropping fashion. Villeneuve’s as detail-oriented with Dune: Part Two’s bombast as he is with the spiritual minutiae, thrillingly staging battles and duels that remain in conversation with the human drama at play. It’s why Paul’s first sandworm ride – rapturously received by even Fremen who doubted him up to that point – feels like both a triumph and a bad omen. Villeneuve frequently asks the audience to remember that winning a battle does not mean winning a war, and Paul’s growing influence over the Fremen feels like an increasingly double-edged sword as Part Two goes on.

With Rabban (Dave Bautista) proving to be all bark and no bite in his role heading up spice-mining operations, Baron Harkonnen turns his eye to an even more brutal nephew, Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler). The younger Harkonnen’s raucous introduction through gladiatorial combat – and his compulsive throat-slitting – tells us everything we need to know about the character, and really, all there is to know. By design, Feyd-Rautha is a dark mirror of Paul – the kind of leader he fears he could become – and that’s about as much detail as Part Two commits to the character. Butler’s animalistic physicality and Skarsgårdian vocal qualities do a good job animating House Harkonnen’s id, but Feyd-Rautha is a tool of not only the characters in the story, but of the script itself.

A similar fate befalls Part Two’s other notable addition to the cast, Florence Pugh’s Princess Irulan. As counselor to her father Emperor Shaddam (Christopher Walken), Irulan’s scenes function to illustrate the precarious balance of power in the Imperium. Walken’s Shaddam is rendered as a frail, indecisive leader, which gives Pugh room to imbue Irulan with enough authority to feel like a power player, but the cutaways to the princess’ debates with her elders don’t have the same visceral power as the action on Arrakis and its on-the-ground perspective. The cat-and-mouse game between Fremen and Harkonnen, the hotly debated arrival of the Lisan al Gaib, Lady Jessica’s machinations – these movements of the story feel ominous and weighty and are handled with such panache that by the time of the Imperium’s delayed arrival on the desert planet, they feel out of touch in a way that makes them feel less threatening than they probably should.

But no matter where in the universe Dune: Part Two’s narrative takes you, there’s incredible production design in place to hold you captive. A superlative, seamless blend of practical and visual effects make these distant worlds feel vibrant and tangible. Villeneuve keeps finding ways to ratchet up the atmosphere on Arrakis, with visions of glittering spice and dreamy, warm tones providing plenty of variety to the surface of the desert planet. Feyd-Rautha’s extended introduction on Giedi Prime gives the director and cinematographer Greig Fraser an excuse to shake up that visual language in favor of space-Brutalist architecture and a black and chrome palette that externalizes Harkonnen power quickly and impactfully, as if their gravity are enough to change how light bends on the planet. Dune: Part Two may ask for a lot of your time and focus, but it’s nearly impossible to look away from.

It may come as a surprise that none of this resolves in a particularly satisfying way: The sequel more or less completes Villeneuve’s adaptation of Herbert’s first Dune novel, but it’s also very obviously the second act of a film trilogy. The ending is certainly less abrupt than Part One’s, but Paul’s fleeting glimpses of the future and Jessica’s doomsaying promise more fateful battles ahead, and by the time Part Two’s final showdown kicks into high gear, there are enough hanging plots threads and underdeveloped new characters to recognize there’s just not enough runway left to service them all. Villeneuve has more than earned our patience, and once this trilogy is complete, that feeling will no doubt lessen – but we’re still midstream. On its own terms, and despite all its strengths, Dune: Part Two’s desert power starts to fade by the time credits roll.

Dune: Part Two expands the legend of Paul Atreides in spectacular fashion, and the war for Arrakis is an arresting, mystical ride at nearly every turn. Denis Villeneuve fully trusts his audience to buy into Dune’s increasingly dense mythology, constructing Part Two as an assault on the senses that succeeds in turning a sprawling saga into an easily digestible, dazzling epic. Though the deep world-building sometimes comes at the cost of fleshing out newer characters, the totality of Dune: Part Two’s transportive power is undeniable.

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Everything We Know

Dune: part two : release date, trailers, cast & more, we break down where denis villeneuve's adaptation will likely go next, from plotlines in the source novel to new cast additions like christopher walken, florence pugh, and léa seydoux..

movie synopsis dune

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It finally happened. After one feature film adaptation and many attempts to turn Frank Herbert’s Dune into a critical and financial success, director Denis Villeneuve , Legendary, and Warner Bros. Picture did just that with 2021’s Dune . The film wowed people with its vision of the distant future and Villeneuve’s smart subtractions from the text made it more accessible than ever before. And since those subtractions included half the novel , it also meant a natural sequel would be available. Once Dune was a success, the studio wasted no time revealing Dune: Part Two was on its way.

But where do you go with the journey of Paul Atriedes ( Timothée Chalamet ) next? And will it lead to a conclusion or another chapter in the Dune saga. While fans of Herbert’s work have some inkling of the future, let’s assemble what we know about Dune: Part Two to see if we can’t obtain some of Paul’s prescient vision on the matter.

The Path Of Dune: Part Two

movie synopsis dune

(Photo by ©2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Considering where Dune ends — Chani ( Zendaya ) literally saying “this is only the beginning” — Dune: Part Two will use the latter half of Herbert’s first Dune novel as its roadmap. In the book, Paul not only trains with his adoptive Fremen compatriots, but he and his mother train them in the Bene Gesserit form of combat known as the Weirding Way. At the same time, the Fremen begin to revere Paul as their prophesied messiah; Lady Jessica is not only aware of this because her order planted the myth among the Fremen, but she distrusts it, as it could lead Paul down a destructive path. Paul himself is also worried about that Path, as he has seen it in his prescient dreams, even as he accepts certain parts of that future, like adopting the name “Maud’Dib.”

Elsewhere in the universe, Baron Vladamir Harkonnen continues to groom his nephew, Feyd-Rautha, to eventually take his place and — if he’s played all his pieces correctly — sit the Lion Throne of the Padishah Emperors. This zeal is tempered, though, by the suspicion that Feyd is already conspiring to have the Baron killed. And, as it happens, Feyd is important to the Bene Gesserit, who are still looking to manufacture the Kwisatz Haderach after the apparent loss of the Atreides bloodline.

Eventually, though, everything leads back to Arrakis, where Emperor Shaddam IV sets his sights once Spice production grinds to a halt. But his arrival there may lead to a drastic change in the Imperium.

The Worlds Of The Sequel

Dune (2021)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The setting of Dune: Part Two will remain consistent for the most part. Much of the action still takes place on the desert planet Arrakis, source of the Spice Melange. But the book also spends a few scenes back on the Harkonnen world, Geidi Prime. Although appearing in earlier scenes, Feyd-Rautha’s big introduction occurs when he takes part in a gladiatorial challenge that may or may not be part of the plot to eventually kill the Baron. Since Geidi Prime made a few key appearances in the first film, we expect this scene will be adapted in some form. And though never glimpsed directly in the novel, the epigraphs beginning each chapter – attributed to Princess Irulan Corrino – may give Villeneuve the leeway to depict the Imperial throneworld of Kaitain. David Lynch realized the planet as an opulent world of gold and marble. Alejandro Jodorowsky planned to make Kaitain a literal planet of gold. And although we could see Villeneuve resisting the urge to realize his own take on the planet, it is always possible a few scenes could be set there to introduce the Emperor and his family.

Returning To The Path

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothee Chalamet in Dune (2021)

In terms of returning cast, Chalamet, Rebecca Feguson , Zendaya, and Javier Bardem return as Paul, Jessica, Chani, and Stilgar. Their stories continue, as they unambiguously survived the events of the first film. Stellan Skarsgård also returns as the Baron; his role expands a great deal in the second half, as his overall scheme comes into view and the tension with his nephew takes hold – well, at least until he becomes aware of the problem on Arrakis. And although it has not been confirmed, we expect Stephen McKinley Henderson to return as Mentat Master of Assassins Thufir Hawat. The character still has some part to play in the narrative and audiences may be surprised by what he can accomplish despite the defeat of House Atreides in the first film. Additionally, Josh Brolin will likely be back as Gurney Hallack, although it remains to be seen just when in the film he’ll make his return. We also expect Charlotte Rampling to appear again as Bene Gesserit Mother Helen Gaius Mohaim in at least one Part Two scene.

And though we don’t expect to see Oscar Isaac or Jason Momoa this time around, it is always possible they could be glimpsed, as Paul’s powers allow him to see the past and the future.

Joining The Path

movie synopsis dune

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

The film is also an opportunity to introduce a handful of new characters. The two most important for Part Two are arguably Christopher Walken as the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV and recent  Elvis star  Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha. Despite the Baron’s continued villainy, the pair are more directly Paul’s adversaries – indeed, the Emperor was always the foe Paul knew was waiting in the wings. But should the film adapt Feyd’s fight on Geidi Prime, it will become obvious to viewers that he is an immediate physical threat to Paul.

But the character addition that will prove most pivotal in the future is Florence Pugh as Irulan. Although she appears in the novel in just one scene – in which she says nothing – her presence is felt throughout the book thanks to various historical tomes attributed to her. When word first broke indicating Pugh might play the part, it was said the script was being massaged to make it worth her while. We imagine this means she will get to do something in the few places where she fits into the narrative. That said, Irulan’s role in the next Dune story is key and a good reason to secure Pugh’s services now.

movie synopsis dune

Other new characters that could appear but have not been cast include Fremen like Korba and Reverend Mother Ramallo, and – most likely of all – Jessica’s daughter, Alia.

movie synopsis dune

A truly surprising addition to the cast, on the other hand, is Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring. She is a Bene Gesserit sister and the wife of Count Hasimir Fenring, the interim governor of Arrakis just before House Atreides arrived and – to simplify things a bit – the Emperor’s closest friend and ally. Lady Margot has her own part to play in the story, of course, but as it comes to almost nothing in the long run, it is startling to learn the character will appear at all. It also suggests the Count will be cast; his story also runs aground as he is essentially replaced by a new character in the next Dune novel. Nevertheless, their inclusion is welcome and we look forward to seeing how Villeneuve works them into the tapestry of the film series.

The Continuing Architects Of Dune

Denis Villeneuve on the set of Dune

(Photo by Chiabella James/©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Villeneuve, of course, continues on as director. According to various reports, he intends to stay with Dune for a third film. Presumably, this will be an adaptation of Dune Messiah , which sees Irulan, Reverend Mother Mohiam, and several others conspire against Paul. And though he cannot sense the particulars of the scheme, he welcomes it for his own reasons, which may or may relate back to the Path he sensed that first morning after his father was killed.

Joining Villeneuve as writer is a returning Jon Spaihts . The screenwriter was originally going to spend much of his time with the HBO Max spinoff, Dune: The Sisterhood , but handed the series off to Diane Ademu-John when the writing of Part Two grew too big to accommodate both.

Other returning crew include director of photography Greig Fraser, editor Joe Walker, production designer Patrice Vermette, and costume designer Jacqueline West. Also, Hans Zimmer will return to offer the Dune world his unique perspective.

When It Returns And When It Continues

movie synopsis dune

The film is currently set for release on November 3, 2023 – although that could change as Warner Bros.’ film schedule is a fluid thing these days. Also, should the film continue the trend of successful Dune movies, we imagine Villeneuve will return for the Dune Messiah adaptation. Whether or not it will retain that title is worthy of some speculation, though; to maintain consistency and delineate from any future Dune projects, it could be called “ Dune Part Three .” Subsequent entries could then use the actual book titles, i,e. Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune .

But much like the studio release schedule, the future of Dune as a film franchise is also malleable. The conclusion of Dune: Part Two will offer a natural end point, as will Dune Messiah . But even with that, Herbert was already sensing a grander scheme that would not be resolved in the four subsequent Dune novels he wrote in his life time. His son, Brian Herbert, and writer Kevin J. Anderson required two additional novels to finish the conclusion he outlined. Warner Bros. may always be on the lookout for a book series to produce eight or more films, but considering how wildly esoteric the Dune series gets – to say nothing of how far it reaches from its original conflict and characters – we’re still unsure just how much of the Path Paul saw in his vision will makes its way to theaters.

Dune: Part Two opens everywhere on March 15, 2024.

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The saga continues as award-winning filmmaker Denis Villeneuve embarks on “Dune: Part Two,” the next chapter of Frank Herbert’s celebrated novel Dune , with an expanded all-star international ensemble cast. The film, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s six-time Academy Award-winning “Dune.”

The big-screen epic continues the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s acclaimed bestseller Dune with returning and new stars, including Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (“Wonka,” “Call Me by Your Name”), Zendaya (“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Malcolm & Marie,” “Euphoria”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning”), Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (“Avengers: End Game,” “Milk”), Oscar nominee Austin Butler (“Elvis,” “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood”), Oscar nominee Florence Pugh (“Black Widow,” “Little Women”), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, “Thor: Love and Thunder”), Oscar winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter,” “Hairspray”), Léa Seydoux (the “James Bond” franchise and “Crimes of the Future”), Souheila Yacoub (“The Braves,” “Climax”), with Stellan Skarsgård (the “Mamma Mia!” films, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years,” “Assassin’s Creed”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Being the Ricardos”).

“Dune: Part Two” will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a path of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

Villeneuve directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts based on Herbert’s novel. The film is produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Villeneuve, Tanya Lapointe and Patrick McCormick. The executive producers are Joshua Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert, with Kevin J. Anderson serving as creative consultant.

Villeneuve is again collaborating with his “Dune” creatives: Oscar-winning director of photography Greig Fraser; Oscar-winning production designer Patrice Vermette; Oscar-winning editor Joe Walker; Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert; Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West. Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer is again on hand to create the score.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present A Legendary Pictures Production, A Film By Denis Villeneuve, “Dune: Part Two.” The film is slated for a March 1, 2024 release in theaters and IMAX nationwide and internationally beginning on 28 February 2024, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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'Dune: Part 2' Official Synopsis Promises Paul Atreides' "Warpath of Revenge"

'Dune: Part 2' will also see Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides have to choose between the love of his life and the fate of the universe.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment have confirmed that Dune: Part Two has begun production. With the announcement of the official cast list and the filming locations , the release also provided a taste of what we can expect from the story of the upcoming follow-up to the 2021 six-time Academy Award-winning film by providing a synopsis of the movie.

Dune: Part Two will pick up where the first film left off and continue the adaptation of Frank Herbert 's 1965 acclaimed novel. The synopsis tells us that Paul Atreides ( Timothée Chalamet ) joins up with Chani ( Zendaya ) and the Fremen, setting out on a path of vengeance against those who destroyed his family. With Atreides having foreseen a terrible future being on the horizon, he will do everything in his power to prevent it. You can find the full official synopsis for the upcoming film down below:

This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

In addition to Chalamet and Zendaya, the all-star ensemble cast of the sequel consists Rebecca Ferguson , Javier Bardem , Josh Brolin , Stellan Skarsgård , Dave Bautista , Charlotte Rampling , Stephen McKinley Henderson . Austin Butler joins the cast of the film as the notorious Feyd Rautha with Christopher Walken set to portray the Emperor. Florence Pugh , Léa Seydoux , and Souheila Yacoub round out the extensive ensemble cast.

Austin Butler in Elvis

RELATED: 'Dune' Nabs Coveted Top Prize at American Society of Cinematographers Awards

Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve once again sits in the director's chair, following up on his work done in Dune: Part One . He will be directing from a screenplay co-written by himself and Jon Spaihts based on Herbert’s novel. Villeneuve also serves as a producer on the project alongside Mary Parent , Cale Boyter , Tanya Lapointe , and Patrick McCormick . The executive producers on the project are Josh Grode , Herbert W. Gains , Brian Herbert , Byron Merritt , Kim Herbert , Thomas Tull , Spaihts, Richard P. Rubinstein , and John Harrison . In addition, Kevin J. Anderson serves as creative consultant.

Once again, Villeneuve is collaborating with Oscar-winning director of photography Greig Fraser , three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West , and Oscar-nominated make-up, hair, and prosthetic designer, Donald Mowat . Hans Zimmer , who won an Oscar for his work on Dune: Part One , is also returning to score the sequel. Villeneuve is also teaming up once again with Oscar-winning production designer Patrice Vermette , Oscar-winning editor Joe Walker , three-time Oscar-winning visual effects' supervisor Paul Lambert , and Oscar-winning special effects' supervisor Gerd Nefzer .

The first Dune film was a major success, with it winning many awards and even being nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2022 Oscars. Oscars that the film did win include Best Sound, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Best Achievement in Production Design, and Best Achievement in Cinematography, among other awards from other events such as the BAFTA Awards, SAG Awards, and American Society of Cinematographers, among others.

Dune: Part Two is being filmed on location in Budapest, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Italy. The film is currently scheduled to release worldwide on November 17, 2023.

Check out the trailer for the first Dune film below:

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Timothée Chalamet as Paul and Zendaya as Chani in Dune: Part Two.

Dune: Part Two review – second half of hallucinatory sci-fi epic is staggering spectacle

Denis Villeneuve’s monumental adaptation expands its extraordinary world of shimmering strangeness. It’s impossible to imagine anyone doing it better

T he second part of Denis Villeneuve’s monumental Dune adaptation lands with a sternum-juddering crash; it’s another shroom of a film, an epic sci-fi hallucination whose images speak of fascism and imperialism, of guerrilla resistance and romance. Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel – working with co-writer Jon Spaihts – draws on David Lean, George Lucas and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator in the (perhaps inevitable) mega-stadium combat scene with the tiny billions of CGI crowds in the bleachers. But he really has made it all his own: secular political cruelty meets Indigenous people’s struggle in those vast mysterious planetscapes. The sound design throbs and drones in this film’s bloodstream, lending a queasy frisson to its extraordinary visual spectacle and the recurrent horror-fetish BDSM chic which appears to govern so much intergalactic-wrongdoer style.

My only reservation is that some of the momentum that the first part had built up has been lost since that movie was released more than two years ago. Those outside the existing Dune fanbase could feel that the ending does not deliver the resounding closure to which we all might, maybe naively, consider ourselves entitled to at the end of 330 minutes total screen time. And the final eventful moments of the film feel a bit rushed, as if Shakespeare had decided to shrink Henry VI Part III into a zappy coda to go at the end of Part II.

None of that damages the film’s flair and staggering display. We begin with another extraordinary and surreal desert-battle scene with the invented technological detail that is so commanding and distinctly scary, as if we are witnessing a posthuman evolutionary development. The signature design touches are presented with absolute confidence; in any other film, those black nasal tubes would look odd, especially when the two leads are expected to kiss while wearing them. Here you accept it.

We are on the planet Arrakis, with its hugely lucrative mineral resource of Spice, under the hideously corrupt Harkonnen rule, having brought off a duplicitous coup against the Atreides family, to whom the emperor had assigned administration rights. The Harkonnens are the gruesome Baron (Stellan Skarsgård) and his creepy nephews Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) and the even creepier Feyd-Rautha, played by Austin Butler. The charismatic Paul (Timothée Chalamet) is still gallantly fighting with the Fremen insurgency, in love with Chani (Zendaya) and considered by warrior Stilgar (Javier Bardem) to be their messiah. But Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), part of the occult Bene Gesserit sisterhood, is with him also, taking her own place in the Fremen power structure. A great reckoning between the Fremen and the Harkonnen is approaching, and between Paul and the Emperor and his daughter Princess Irulan; these latter are slightly perfunctory roles for Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh.

On classically feline and insinuating form … Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring in Dune: Part Two.

It’s a panorama of shimmering strangeness, now expanded to include a bigger cast, with Léa Seydoux on classically feline and insinuating form as the Bene Gesserit initiate Lady Margot Fenring and a tiny, almost subliminal cameo for Anya Taylor-Joy . As before, the second Dune film is superb at showing us an entire created world, a distinct and now unmistakable universe, which will probably be much imitated: a triumph for cinematographer Greig Fraser and production designer Patrice Vermette. Hans Zimmer’s score provides exactly the right tone, at once plangent and grandiose.

Villeneuve shows such ambition and boldness here, and a real film-making language. But I can’t help feeling now, at the very end, that though it’s impossible to imagine anyone doing Dune better – or in any other way – somehow he hasn’t totally got his arms around the actual story in the one giant, self-contained movie in the way he got them around his amazing Blade Runner 2049 . There’s no doubt that Chalamet carries a romantic action lead with great style, even though there is so much going on, with so many other characters, that his heroism and romance with Chani is decentred. But this is a real epic and it is exhilarating to find a film-maker thinking as big as this.

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'Dune: Part Two': Everything to Know

From the expected release date to the all-star cast, here's everything to know about the Dune sequel

movie synopsis dune

Prepare to re-enter the world of Dune .

Shortly after the first Dune premiered in October 2021, production company Legendary confirmed that a sequel was already in the works . "This is only the beginning...Thank you to those who have experienced @dunemovie so far, and those who are going in the days and weeks ahead," Legendary posted on Twitter , adding, "We're excited to continue the journey!"

Like the first film, Dune: Part Two is an adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name, covering roughly the second half of the book. All-star cast members including lead character Timothée Chalamet , Zendaya , Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin will return in the sequel, alongside new faces like Austin Butler , Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh .

"Florence is really special," Chalamet told Variety of his new costar Pugh, whom he previously worked with on 2019's Little Women . "She's an incredible actor. She was incredible in Dune — seriously incredible. She brought a gravitas to the role."

Filming for Dune: Part Two wrapped in December 2022, but the release of the highly-anticipated movie was delayed until 2024 due to the strikes in Hollywood.

At CinemaCon 2023 in April, it was revealed that Part Two was shot entirely in IMAX .

From the official synopsis to the scheduled release date, here is everything to know about Dune: Part Two .

What is Dune: Part Two about?

Dune: Part Two picks up right where the first Dune film left off and is based on roughly the second half of Herbert's science fiction novel. According to the film's official synopsis, Dune: Part Two "will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides [Chalamet] as he unites with Chani [Zendaya] and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee."

In February 2024, director Denis Villeneuve told Polygon that the sequel would be "much more of an action movie."

"It allowed me — because the story is, in a way, more simple — to go deeper, and explore more, and the Fremen culture, and the Harkonnen culture," he said.

Prior to filming, Bardem, who plays Stilgar, told audience members at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival that the sequel will "surprise people" — clarifying that fans will "be surprised by the way they put it together."

Zendaya is also expected to play a larger role in Dune: Part Two . Fans were previously disappointed by the star's limited screen time in the first film — her character, Chani, only appeared for about seven minutes total despite Dune 's 2-hour-and-35-minute run time — but Villeneuve promised to " develop some characters " in the second installment.

"There are some characters that are less developed that I'm keeping for the second film — that's the way I found the equilibrium," Villeneuve told the Los Angeles Times in 2021. "We tried in [ Dune: Part One ] to stay as close as possible to Paul's experience. Then, in the second one, I will have time to develop some characters that were left aside a little bit. That's the theory. I hope it will work."

Who is in the cast of Dune: Part Two ?

Many A-list actors are set to reprise their roles in Dune: Part Two . The cast includes Chalamet, Zendaya, Brolin, Bardem, Dave Bautista , Rebecca Ferguson , Stellan Skarsgård and Charlotte Rampling.

New cast members include Pugh as Princess Irulan; Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV; and Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, a member of the family that killed Paul's father in the first installment. Léa Seydoux will also appear in the highly-anticipated sequel as Lady Margot.

Is there a trailer for Dune: Part Two ?

Warner Bros. released the first official trailer for Dune: Part 2 on May 3, 2023. The clip begins with Paul (Chalamet) sitting with Chani (Zendaya) in front of a sandy landscape. "It's breathtaking," he says. "When you see sand here, imagine water. If you dive in, you can't reach the bottom."

The trailer offers a glimpse into action-packed scenes and gives a first look at Pugh as Princess Irulan and Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.

Two months later, the second official trailer dropped. The nearly three-minute teaser opens with Paul trying to convince Chani and the Fremen to join him in fighting the Harkonnens. The clip then cuts to the reunion between Paul and Gurney Halleck, played by Brolin. Finally, viewers see the galaxy's emperor, depicted by Walken, call upon Butler's Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen to kill Paul before he and the Fremen reclaim Arrakis.

Who directed Dune: Part Two ?

Denis Villeneuve directed and wrote Dune: Part Two . He also wrote and directed the 2021 adaption.

During an appearance at CinemaCon 2023, Villeneuve shared that Part Two will pick up "just where we left" Chalamet and Ferguson's characters as Paul and his mother, Jessica, join the Fremen at the conclusion of the first film.

After filming for Dune: Part One wrapped, Zendaya spoke about her experience working with Villeneuve to Empire . " He's so kind and attentive to all of his actors ," Zendaya said of the director, adding, "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."

Zendaya isn't the only one who has positive things to say about Villeneuve. While promoting Dune: Part Two, Chalamet spoke with the Associated Press about his experience working with the director.

“Denis is so playful," he said. "It’s like the greatest evidence of self-confidence to me. It’s ultimately a playful, creative exercise to get to direct any movie. The man who takes himself too seriously, is more focused on the people around him, the audience, than the actual product reeks of a movie that’s pretentious.”

Other directorial credits for the Canadian filmmaker include Prisoners (2013), Arrival (2016) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

Where was Dune: Part Two filmed?

According to Collider , the cast returned to Budapest, Abu Dhabi and Jordan to film the sequel. Parts of the upcoming movie were also filmed in Italy, marking a new location for Dune .

Filming for Dune: Part Two wrapped in December 2022 and actor Brolin celebrated the feat on Instagram. " Dune did it ," he wrote alongside a mirror selfie.

When will Dune: Part Two be released?

Dune: Part Two is slated to premiere on March 1, 2024.

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‘Dune: Part Two’ New York Premiere Photos: Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh & More In The Best Of The Red Carpet

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(L-R) Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh and Austin Butler

The cast of  Dune: Part Two came together once again for the New York City premiere of the Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel.

Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and Anya Taylor-Joy attended Lincoln Center, where the premiere took place.

RELATED: ‘Dune: Part Two’ Review: Denis Villeneuve’s Spectacular Sequel Goes Heavy On The Mythos

The Dune sequel began production in July of this 2022 and was filmed in several locations like Budapest, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Italy. The follow-up film includes actors Christopher Walken and Souheila Yacoub, joining returning cast members like Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

RELATED: ‘Dune: Part Two’ First Reactions: Rave Reviews Topped By Critic Who Claims, “It’s The Definitive Sci-Fi Epic Of A Generation”

Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment‘s official synopsis for Dune: Part Two reads: “This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.”

Scroll through the photos below to see the best of the red carpet looks.

‘Dune: Part Two’ NY Premiere Red Carpet

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

(From L-R) Anya Taylor-Joy, Souheila Yacoub, Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet, Denis Villeneuve, Austin Butler, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Florence Pugh and Lea Seydoux

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Timothée Chalamet

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Austin Butler and Zendaya

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Austin Butler

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Florence Pugh

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

(L-R) Florence Pugh and Léa Seydoux

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Anya Taylor-Joy

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Josh Brolin

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

(L-R) Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Josh Brolin and Kathryn Boyd

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Rebecca Dayan

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

(L-R) Yvonne Phillips, Indigo Phillips and Lou Diamond Phillips

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Christian Slater

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Hans Zimmer

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Samantha Bee

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Rebecca Ferguson

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Tanya Lapointe and Denis Villeneuve

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Marcello Hernandez

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Souheila Yacoub

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Neil deGrasse Tyson

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Dave Bautista

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Sofia Carson

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

Amelia Dimoldenberg

'Dune: Part Two' NY Premiere Red Carpet

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Dune

  • A Duke's son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father's evil nemesis to free their desert world from the emperor's rule.
  • In the distant year of 10191, all the planets of the known Universe are under the control of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV and the most important commodity in the Universe is a substance called the spice "MELANGE" which is said to have the power of extending life, expanding the consciousness and even to "fold space" ; being able to travel to any distance without physically moving. This spice "MELANGE" is said to only be produced in the desert planet of Arrakis, where the FREMEN people have the prophecy of a man who will lead them to true freedom. This "desert planet"of Arrakis is also known as DUNE. A secret report of the space "GUILD" talks about some circumstances and plans that could jeopardize the production of "SPICE" with four planets involved: ARRAKIS, CALADAN, GIEDI PRIME and KAITAIN, a world at least visually very alike to Earth and house of the Emperor of the known Universe. The "GUILD" sends a third stage navigator to KAITAIN to ask details from the Emperor and to demand him the killing of young Paul Atreides, son of the Duke Leto Atreides of CALADAN. — David del Real ---@DavidRealActor----
  • With the extraordinary property of folding the time-space continuum and even expanding consciousness, the rare substance called melange, or "spice," is the most valuable commodity in the known universe. In the year 10,191, Atreides and Harkonnen, two warring clans under the thumb of conspiring Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, fight for control. However, the coveted material exists only in the arid landscapes of the inhospitable, worm-infested desert planet, Arrakis or Dune. Now, against the backdrop of a sinister conspiracy and the murder of a beloved one, a gifted leader emerges, destined to command millions: the young son of Duke Leto Atreides, Paul. But can the inexperienced visionary harness the power of the mysterious dry moon and fulfil his destiny? — Nick Riganas
  • The desert planet Arrakis - we enter the year 10191 and the whole universe depends on the spice Melange which exists only on this dry and desolate planet. The natives of this planet await the arrival of their Messiah who will lead them into a holy war against the evil Harkonnen empire. This is the film adaptation based on Frank Herbert's cult novel. — Harald Mayr <[email protected]>
  • In the opening monologue, Princess Irulan ( Virginia Madsen ) explains that after the fall of the machine titans and the reclaiming of the universe by humans, the people established training programs to gain knowledge they had lost in their apathy. The two training regimens, each gender specific, enabled humans to establish knowledge in math and psychic abilities. The universe is dominated politically and economically by the rarefied spice melange, which extends life and enhances certain psychic powers. The Galactic Spacing Guild and its prescient alien navigators use the spice to "fold space" and safely guide interstellar ships to any part of the universe instantaneously. Melange can be obtained in only one place: the desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune. The inhabitants of Dune, a nomadic people called the Fremen, have a legend that tells of the coming of a messiah from another world. The year is 10,191. The Guild sends a navigator emissary to the planet Kaitain to discuss a threat to spice production with the emperor of the known universe, Shaddam IV ( José Ferrer ). The emperor confidentially shares his plans to destroy one of the noble houses, the Atreides. The popularity of Duke Leto Atreides ( Jürgen Prochnow ) has grown, and he is suspected of amassing a secret army wielding sonic weapons called weirding modules, making him a threat to the emperor. Shaddam's plan is to give the Atreides control of the planet Arrakis to mine the spice, then have them ambushed by their longtime enemies, the Harkonnens, who have ruled Arrakis and the Fremen for centuries through cruelty and terror. The navigator commands the emperor to kill the duke's son, Paul Atreides ( Kyle MacLachlan ), a young man who dreams prophetic visions of his purpose. The order draws the attention of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood (a training institution for women), as Paul is a product of their centuries-long breeding program which seeks to produce the superhuman Kwisatz Haderach. Gaius Helen Mohiam ( Siân Phillips ), a Bene Gesserit reverend mother who serves as an adviser to the emperor, plans a visit to meet with Paul. On the planet Caladan, watery homeworld of House Atreides, Paul cannot understand why the Harkonnens would give up their hold on Arrakis to the Atreides, but understands that the family must go there. Thufir Hawat ( Freddie Jones ), a mentat (a human computer trained in pure mathematics), tells Paul they are going because of the promise of a new army. Paul's tutor and mentor, Gurney Halleck ( Patrick Stewart ), tests him in the limits of hand-to-hand fighting in preparation for his manhood trials and discusses Paul's amazing abilities with Thufir. Paul dons a weirding module and battles with a fighter robot, easily disarming it. Paul's mother, Lady Jessica ( Francesca Annis ), is also a member of the Bene Gesserit, and serves as Duke Leto's concubine. The reverend mother arrives on Caladan to test Paul. Jessica is worried that her son may not live through the test. Mohiam tells Paul about the Water of Life, bile from the giant Arrakis worms, which no man has ever drunk and survived. Only the Kwisatz Haderach, the true messiah in whom the Fremen inhabitants have prophesied will lead them out of oppression, can drink it. With a deadly gom jabbar at his throat, Paul is forced to place his hand in a box which subjects him to excruciating pain, but he resists the urge to withdraw his hand (which would result in death) and passes the test to Mohiam's satisfaction. Meanwhile, on Giedi Prime, the industrial homeworld of House Harkonnen, the physically sick, deformed, and sadistic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen ( Kenneth McMillan ) plans his personal revenge by finding a traitor within House Atreides who will kill the Duke. He assigns his nephews Glossu Rabban ( Paul L. Smith ) and Feyd-Rautha ( Sting ) the task of crushing House Atreides after they have assumed control of the planet. Upon arriving on Arrakis, Leto is informed by one of his right-hand men, Duncan Idaho ( Richard Jordan ), that the Fremen have been underestimated; they exist in vast numbers and could prove to be powerful allies. Paul and Leto meet with Dr. Kynes ( Max von Sydow ) a spice mining leader who takes them by aircraft to a remote area where they witness a giant worm attacking a spice mining ship, a "crawler". Faced with the destruction of the mining facilities, Duke Leto orders the giant crawler evacuated rather than risking lives by trying to save the precious spice ore, and even saves many of the workers by bringing them on his shuttle before the facility is destroyed, earning him the trust and recognition of Dr. Kynes and the rest of the Fremen workers. But before the Duke can establish an alliance with them, the Harkonnens launch their attack on Arrakis and House Atreides. While the Atreides had anticipated a trap, they are unable to withstand the Harkonnen attack, which is aided by the Emperor's elite troops, the much-feared Sardaukar, and by the Baron's traitor within House Atreides itself, Dr. Wellington Yueh ( Dean Stockwell ). Yueh plans revenge on Baron Harkonnen for the death of his wife. Captured, Leto dies in a failed attempt to assassinate the Baron using a poison gas capsule planted in his tooth by Dr. Yueh; with his vision fogged by drugs, Leto kills the baron's aide Piter De Vries ( Brad Dourif ) instead. With Piter dead, Captain Iakin Nefud ( Jack Nance ), the baron's head of security, takes over Piter's duties as the baron's valet and aide. Dr. Kynes is captured and abandoned in the desert to die. Thufir is forced to take over as director of spice mining for the Harkonnens, while Rabban becomes de facto governor of Arrakis. Paul and Jessica, who is pregnant by Duke Leto, escape into the deep desert, where they manage to join a band of Fremen led by Stilgar ( Everett McGill ). Paul adopts the title of Muad'Dib, and the Fremen suspect he is the leader they have been waiting for. Paul teaches the Fremen (who are formidable warriors) a new form of combat using the weirding modules and begins targeting mining production of spice to stop its flow. Stilgar trains Paul in Fremen traditions, and Paul rides his first sandworm. The Fremen's Bene Gesserit reverend mother has aged and Jessica drinks the Water of Life to replace her. The poisonous water causes her to go into convulsions and premature labor, her eyes bleed, and the transmutation of the sacred water awakens her knowledge. Jessica's daughter Alia ( Alicia Witt ) is born prematurely, but has blue-tinted eyes because of the spice and the knowledge imparted by the Water of Life. Within two years she grows rapidly into a young girl with great powers. During the war against the Spacing Guild, the Fremen, with Paul as their leader, effectively halt spice production on Arrakis. The Guild warns the emperor that he must intervene; they fear Paul will take the Water of Life. During a skirmish, Paul meets his former mentor Gurney Halleck, now a smuggler, who surrenders and immediately joins Paul and the Fremen to continue the war and maintain the strangle-hold on spice production. Paul begins a romance with Chani ( Sean Young ), the daughter of the leader Dr. Kynes (known to the Fremen as Liet). After a vision, Paul can no longer see his future and decides to drink the Water of Life. Paul goes into the desert with Chani and a cadre of bodyguards, drinks the Water of Life, and enters a coma-like state. Awakening literally and figuratively, he is transformed and gains control of the sandworms of Arrakis and the secret of the planet: water kept hidden in huge caches by the Fremen can be used to permanently destroy the spice. Paul also possesses the ability to see the future and, more importantly, the present when he gazes into space and sees the Emperor's plan; a huge invasion fleet above Arrakis has been amassed to regain control of the planet and the spice. Paul announces to his Fremen army that an enormous sandstorm is coming and will provide the perfect opportunity to take back their planet. When the emperor arrives on Arrakis, he executes the incompetent Rabban for failing to remedy the spice situation. The Baron arrives and is shocked at seeing the severed head of his nephew at the Emperor's feet. Before he can explain the situation, Alia is brought in as a hostage, and she delivers a message: Paul is coming for them. Paul launches a final attack against the Harkonnens and the emperor at the capital city of Arrakeen, using atomics to blast out a wide section of the shield wall protecting the city from the ravages of the desert. Paul leads the raid, riding through the breech with the Fremen on sandworms. After a climactic and fierce battle, where casualties are heavy on both sides, Paul and the Fremen warriors defeat the emperor's legions of Sardaukar, while Alia slashes the Baron with her gom jabbar and sends him into the maw of a sandworm. Afterward, Paul, Stilgar, Gurney, Alia, Jessica, and their army confront the captive emperor, Princess Irulan, and their staff. Paul is challenged to a duel with daggers by the psychotic Feyd. After a short but brutal fight, Paul stabs Feyd through his neck and uses his vocal powers to explode his internal organs. Paul faces the defeated emperor, relieves him of power, and announces an era of peace for all of humanity. Storm clouds gather and it begins raining on Arrakis for the first time in the planet's existence. Alia declares, "And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!"

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Dune: Part Two review: Denis Villeneuve's science-fiction sequel is jaw-droppingly weird

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two

A remarkable proportion of Denis Villeneuve's epic science-fiction sequel, Dune: Part Two, is about giant worms racing through the desert at breakneck speed. They do it so often, in so many key scenes, that you may eventually find yourself asking how it's possible. What exactly is propelling these enormous legless, eyeless monsters? They don't wiggle like snakes, and worms aren't generally known for their swiftness, so how do creatures as big as bullet trains manage to move as fast as bullet trains, too?

The answer is that you just have to shrug your shoulders and go with it. And the same goes for almost everything else in Dune: Part Two. After about an hour, it becomes clear that the filmmakers have abandoned logic and clarity, but once you accept that it isn't going to make much sense, you can stop worrying, and wallow in one of the most jaw-droppingly weird pieces of art-house psychedelia ever to come from a major studio.

More like this: - Argylle is a 'shoddy' Bond pastiche - 'One of the best films of 2023' - The Color Purple is a joy to watch

Adapted from the second half of Dune, Frank Herbert's influential 1965 novel, the film begins where the last one left off back in 2021: in the desert. Timothée Chalamet returns as Paul Atreides, an interstellar aristocrat whose family has just been massacred by the evil Harkonnens: Stellan Skarsg å rd is the Marlon Brando-ish Baron, and Dave Bautista is the brutish enforcer who murders so many of his own employees that he makes Darth Vader seem like Santa Claus.

Paul and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) are now hiding out with the Fremen, the native tribespeople of the planet Arrakis, including their doughty leader (Javier Bardem, providing some much-needed down-to-Earth jollity) and a young warrior, Chani ( Zendaya , who does lots of frowning). There is a good chance that the Fremen will help Paul fight back against the Harkonnens, but first he has to win their trust. And that, as you may have guessed, entails learning how to ride on the back of a gargantuan worm, like an illegal train surfer.

The film has so many grand themes, and such a powerfully doom-laden atmosphere, that it more than justifies the price of a cinema ticket

One odd aspect of Dune: Part Two is that Paul's desert sojourn is the film's main plot, although there are plenty of subplots to make up for it. There is some cryptic chatter about the blue "water of life" which looks like toilet cleaner, there are some mystical visions and dream sequences, and there is some political and religious debate about whether Paul is the Messiah promised by the Fremen's ancient prophecies. Meanwhile, on another planet, Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh have a few conversations as the galactic emperor and his daughter, with Léa Seydoux as their slinky sidekick. And on yet another planet (I think), Austin Butler turns up as a new Harkonnen baddie.

Dune: Part Two

Director: Denis Villeneuve Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh Run time: 2hr 46m

There's certainly a lot going in Dune: Part Two, then, but Paul himself doesn't do much except hang around with the Fremen, so viewers may soon come to understand why Luke Skywalker left Tatooine in the first hour of Star Wars: it turns out that there's only so much sand that you want to look at. In a cast stacked with an absurd number of contemporary cinema's finest actors, it's Butler who steals the show as a vampiric sadist with some of the strutting rock'n'roll sexiness that the actor had in Elvis – and in many ways, he is more of a protagonist than Paul is.

Unfortunately, no one else makes much of an impression. That is, they make an impression, visually, because they're so gorgeous and their costumes are so dazzlingly ornate – in the future, it seems, everyone will dress as if they're Janelle Monáe at the Met Gala – but no one in Dune: Part Two is a distinctive or rounded individual.

The romance between Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) is key to the story (Credit: Warner Bros)

The romance between Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) is key to the story (Credit: Warner Bros)

Villeneuve and his co-writer, Jon Spaihts, just don't give any of the characters enough interesting things to say or do, despite the 166-minute running time at their disposal. The heart of the film is, supposedly, the romance between Paul and Chani, but it's so underdeveloped that it's impossible to care whether or not they will live happily ever after. And who knows if they do live happily ever after, anyway? Dune: Part Two takes us to the end of Herbert's first Dune novel, but numerous plot strands are left hanging, presumably in the hope that they'll be tied up in Dune: Part Three.

You might expect a big-budget space opera to exhilarate you and move you, and on those terms Villeneuve's sprawling, pretentious folly has to count as an abject failure. But if you want to feel awestruck, that's another matter. Proudly grave and portentous, the film has so many grand themes, and such a powerfully doom-laden atmosphere, that it more than justifies the price of a cinema ticket. The alien rituals and languages are so detailed, and the otherworldly design is so elaborate, that at times it really does feel as if you're watching the product of a distant civilisation. Some viewers will be driven up the wall, and out of the cinema, but others will be spellbound. Everyone will agree that it's light years away from the average Hollywood blockbuster.

In the 1970s, the visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky planned to make his own Dune film , and one of the people he employed was HR Giger , the Swiss artist who would go on to design Alien. Their project collapsed, but parts of Dune: Part 2 seem just as monumental, lavishly bizarre and downright disturbing as anything that Jodorowsky and Giger can have had in mind.

Dune: Part Two is released on 1 March.

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movie synopsis dune

Screen Rant

“robot lady & wonka fall in love”: josh brolin’s alt dune 2 synopsis might even win over skeptics.

Dune: Part Two star Josh Brolin offers up an alternative synopsis for the upcoming sci-fi film - which might win over even skeptics of the movie.

  • Dune: Part Two star Josh Brolin offers an alternative perspective on the upcoming sci-fi movie.
  • Brolin teases the film by referring to characters with humorous alternate names based on their roles in other movies.
  • Despite its joking nature, Brolin's description hints at a complex and real, intriguing storyline featuring romance, conflict, and suspense.

Dune: Part Two star Josh Brolin offers up an alternate synopsis for the upcoming sci-fi movie, which may be able to convince even the most adamant skeptics to watch it. The movie is set to adapt the second half of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, which sees Paul Atreides taking up the helm of a prophet for the Fremen. The story also includes a key focus on new characters as well, such as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen and Emperor Shaddam IV.

Now, Brolin has posted a video to Instagram, teasing the upcoming Dune: Part Two with a different perspective on what the film is about.

The actor, who plays Paul's former mentor Gurney, refers to the film's characters using different roles its stars have had , including calling Zendaya's Chani " Robot Lady " in reference to her outfit at the movie's premiere. Check out Brolin's description of the film below:

DUNE 2 release is less than TWO WEEKS!!! Robot Lady and Wonka fall in love. Then Elvis tries to f*** it all up while his bad dad floats in a pool of pond scum. The WWE dude from Gardians gets super p****d while Midsommer hottie puts the eyes on Wonka Obi Wan just after his Mom gets caught taking LSD in a sandy bathroom. Chigurh still doesn't like the guy from The Goonies. I mean who doesn't want to see all that on IMAX??? The pandemic is over. Strikes have come and gone. F*** it. It's time to commune again and experience that amazing feeling of when the lights go down, you have your hand deep in your Popcorn worm, and DUNE 2 consumes you. HAVE FUN. JB

Paul and Lady Jessica in the desert in Dune

Dune 2 Cast Guide: Every New & Returning Character

What to really expect from dune 2.

Timothee Chalamet in ragtag attire wearing a respiration device in his nose while crossing the desert in Dune: Part One.

While Brolin's description of the movie is a joking summary of what to expect, it's also not wrong when comparing it to what the film is actually about. As Paul gains favor with the Fremen, who believe him to be their prophesied savior, Lisan al-Gaib, he also forms a romantic relationship with Chani. However, the Harkonnens and Padishah Empire still want the spice of Arrakis for themselves, prompting a major conflict for the film to explore.

While Dune: Part Two still holds plenty of mysteries , the film seems like it will continue to faithfully adapt Herbert's novel for the big screen. This includes major parts from the book that induct Paul into the ways of the Fremen, such as riding the planet's giant sandworms. It will likely also delve deeper into his clairvoyance, revealing what his future holds depending on the path he chooses.

Given director Denis Villeneuve's plans for a trilogy, it's possible Dune: Part Two will set up Dune 3 , which would be based on Herbert's sequel novel Dune: Messiah . This means that, as wild as Brolin's humorous interpretation of the film is, it's not the end of the story that might be told. However, it still does a good job at hyping up the film as the story of the first novel comes to a close onscreen.

In addition to a possible Dune 3 , a TV prequel, Dune: Prophecy is set to be released on Max in late 2024.

Source: Josh Brolin /Instagram

Dune Part 2 Poster Showing Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Zendaya as Chani Holding Daggers

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two is the sequel to Denis Villeneuve's 2021 film that covers the novel's events by Frank Herbert. The movie continues the quest of Paul Atreides on a journey of revenge against those who slew his family. With insight into the future, Atreides may be forced to choose between his one true love and the universe's fate. 

IMAGES

  1. Dune: Part 2 Synopsis Promises Paul Atreides' Warpath of Revenge

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  2. Dune: Part Two

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  3. More shots from the new Dune movie / Boing Boing

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  4. DUNE (2021) Movie Posters: Timothée Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Rebecca

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  5. Dune 1984 Imdb

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  6. Dune

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COMMENTS

  1. Dune (2021 film)

    An attempt to assassinate Paul with a hunter-seeker fails. Yueh betrays the Atreides and disables Arrakeen's shields, allowing the Harkonnens and Sardaukar to invade. He incapacitates Leto, planning to exchange him for his wife, who is the Baron's prisoner.

  2. Dune: Part One (2021)

    A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, "Dune" tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people.

  3. What Dune is about, in fewer than 900 words

    Power in the galaxy is a three-way balancing act between the Spacing Guild, who hold a monopoly on faster than light travel; the Padishah Emperor, who controls a fanatical army of Space Spartans...

  4. Dune: Part One (2021)

    18 8 Play trailer 2:35 38 Videos 99+ Photos Action Adventure Drama A noble family becomes embroiled in a war for control over the galaxy's most valuable asset while its heir becomes troubled by visions of a dark future. Director Denis Villeneuve Writers Jon Spaihts Denis Villeneuve Eric Roth Stars Timothée Chalamet Rebecca Ferguson Zendaya

  5. Dune movie review & film summary (2021)

    Timothée Chalamet leans heavily on callowness in his early portrayal of Paul Atreides, and shakes it off compellingly as his character realizes his power and understands how to Follow His Destiny. Oscar Isaac is noble as Paul's dad the Duke; Rebecca Ferguson both enigmatic and fierce as Jessica, Paul's mother.

  6. Dune (2021 film)

    Directed by Denis Villeneuve Written by Eric Roth Denis Villeneuve Jon Spaihts Produced by Mary Parent Cale Boyter Joe Caracciolo Denis Villeneuve Budget $165 million Box Office $401.8 million Dune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) is a movie adaptation of Frank Herbert 's original novel of the same name.

  7. Dune explained

    You could say that Dune is a progenitor of Star Wars, with a young protagonist - in this case Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) - who struggles with a destiny he doesn't fully understand while...

  8. Dune

    Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and...

  9. Dune: The Complete Guide To The Characters, Plot And More

    Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of the ocean planet Caladan, accepts a relocation to the harsh desert planet of Arrakis - known colloquially as Dune - to oversee the mining of the all-important spice...

  10. Dune (2021)

    Dune. Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is a member of the royal family on his home planet. When he has vivid dreams of a girl (Zendaya) on the spice planet Arrakis, he begs soldier Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) to allow him to tag along on his mission to the dangerous planet. However, Duncan doesn't feel the boy is ready.

  11. 'Dune' Explained: What It's About and Why You Should Care

    Set on far-away planets in the distant future, "Dune" is a sci-fi fantasy epic that rivals "Game of Thrones" or "The Lord of the Rings." Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert,...

  12. Dune Movie Explained: What to Know About the Classic Sci-Fi Novel

    Posted: Oct 21, 2021 1:23 pm Dune is one of the most beloved and celebrated science fiction novels ever published. It's also an incredibly dense book, with many rival factions and characters set...

  13. DUNE: PART ONE (Story + Lore) EXPLAINED

    HELP ME MAKE MORE VIDEOS: - https://www.patreon.com/FilmComicsExplainedDune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) is a 2021 American epic science fiction film ...

  14. Dune: Part Two (2024)

    Dune: Part Two: Directed by Denis Villeneuve. With Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem. Paul Atreides unites with Chani and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family.

  15. 'Dune' 101: Everything You Need to Know Going Into the Sci-Fi Epic

    A romance with a Fremen woman named Chani and universe-shaking shenanigans ensue, as an all-out war for control of Arrakis and its spice breaks out, with Paul's burgeoning mental powers at the ...

  16. Dune: Part Two Review

    In that respect, Dune: Part Two's considerable expansion of the story's scope and splendor positions the movie as a Two Towers for the 2020s, a middle chapter that doubles down on the quirks ...

  17. Dune: Part Two

    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.

  18. Dune: Part Two : Release Date, Trailers, Cast & More

    Dune: Part Two Trailer #2 (2024) Watch on. It finally happened. After one feature film adaptation and many attempts to turn Frank Herbert's Dune into a critical and financial success, director Denis Villeneuve, Legendary, and Warner Bros. Picture did just that with 2021's Dune. The film wowed people with its vision of the distant future and ...

  19. Dune: Part Two

    Dune: Part Two - Only in theaters March 1, 2024. The saga continues as award-winning filmmaker Denis Villeneuve embarks on "Dune: Part Two," the next chapter of Frank Herbert's celebrated novel Dune, with an expanded all-star international ensemble cast.The film, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2021's six-time Academy Award ...

  20. Dune: Part 2 Synopsis Promises Paul Atreides' Warpath of Revenge

    Dune: Part Two will pick up where the first film left off and continue the adaptation of Frank Herbert 's 1965 acclaimed novel. The synopsis tells us that Paul Atreides ( Timothée Chalamet) joins ...

  21. Dune: Part Two review

    T he second part of Denis Villeneuve's monumental Dune adaptation lands with a sternum-juddering crash; it's another shroom of a film, an epic sci-fi hallucination whose images speak of ...

  22. 'Dune: Part Two': Everything to Know

    Warner bros. entertainment. Dune: Part Two picks up right where the first Dune film left off and is based on roughly the second half of Herbert's science fiction novel. According to the film's ...

  23. 'Dune: Part Two' review: Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya ...

    If David Lynch's 1984 "Dune" movie raced through the book, the second half of director Denis Villeneuve's version at times moves as if it's walking in sand, figuratively as well as ...

  24. 'Dune: Part Two' New York Red Carpet Premiere Photos ...

    Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment's official synopsis for Dune: Part Two reads: "This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the ...

  25. Dune (1984)

    Summaries A Duke's son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father's evil nemesis to free their desert world from the emperor's rule.

  26. Go behind the scenes of 'Dune: Part Two' with this stunning ...

    Written by Dune: Part Two producer Tanya Lapointe and Stefanie Broos, The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two explores the filmmaking process behind Denis Villeneuve's latest film.The book features ...

  27. Dune: Part Two review: Denis Villeneuve's science-fiction sequel ...

    In the 1970s, the visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky planned to make his own Dune film, and one of the people he employed was HR Giger, the Swiss artist who would go on to design Alien. Their project ...

  28. "Robot Lady & Wonka Fall In Love": Josh Brolin's Alt Dune 2 Synopsis

    Dune: Part Two star Josh Brolin offers an alternative perspective on the upcoming sci-fi movie.; Brolin teases the film by referring to characters with humorous alternate names based on their roles in other movies. Despite its joking nature, Brolin's description hints at a complex and real, intriguing storyline featuring romance, conflict, and suspense.