For those unfamiliar, it’s quite a cliffhanger to leave audiences on, but Dune: Part Two gives us the rest of the story that started it all.
Like Andy Muschietti’s IT movies, the second film wasn’t filmed back-to-back with the original, which led to some concern about whether or not the planned two-part adaptation would be completed, but Warner Bros greenlit the sequel shortly after the release of Part One in October 2021. With a $400-million global box-office total and six Oscars to its name, Villeneuve’s film did a bit better than David Lynch’s 1984 cult-classic take.
Read more: The many failed attempts to adapt Dune
There’s not long left to wait now though, and while book readers will already know what’s in store, Dune: Part Two will hold some surprises for those who haven’t gone back and peeked at the rest of the story.
With spoilers for Part One, here’s what we know about Villeneuve’s sequel so far…
When will Dune: Part Two be released?
Dune: Part Two will be released in UK cinemas and Imax on 15 March.
The film was originally set to be released in November, 2023, but it was delayed amid the Hollywood strikes. Judging by its epic runtime, it looks like it’ll be worth the wait though, with the sequel clocking in at two hours and 45 minutes - a whole 10 minutes longer than Part One.
Filming took place between July and December 2022, and the first trailer was shown at CinemaCon 2023 to a handful of press and theatrical distributors.
“Part Two is an epic war movie, much more dense,” Villeneuve told the audience. “We visited Arrakis. We visit new locations; everything is new in the film. In the first movie, we shot 40% in IMAX — this time it’s full IMAX.”
What are the reviews like?
Following a handful of early screenings in the UK and USA, early first reactions for Villeneuve's Dune sequel have surfaced like rogue sandworms - and unlike rogue sandworms, their arrival has been warmly welcomed.
While full reviews are still MIA, it sounds like this return trip to Arrakis was worth the wait. "Blown away by #DunePartTwo," said Total Film's Jordan Farley. "it even more immersive, tactile and emotional than Part One. The clarity, heft and scale of the action is staggering."
Think I may love #DunePartTwo more than the first film... the whole middle section in which Austin Butler shows up looking like a marble stature come to life/one half of a Mappelthorpe pictorial is fucking amazing. pic.twitter.com/WhMsL9GcAc
— David Fear (@davidlfear) February 15, 2024
#DunePartTwo is not only Denis's magnum opus; it's the definitive sci-fi epic of a generation. A tragic tale of blind fanaticism & corruption. A spectacular, soulful, awe-inspiring masterclass of aesthetics & mood beautifully echoing Paul's turbulent journey. Left me speechless! pic.twitter.com/Vw61IKIGWr
— Griffin Schiller (@griffschiller) February 15, 2024
Denis Villeneuve sticks the landing with #DunePartTwo, a fascinating, terrifying character study told on a gloriously grand sci-fi scale.
Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya are INCREDIBLE in it, the set pieces are jaw-dropping, & the supporting cast elevates all the rest. It's great. pic.twitter.com/bjJZJYSFvN
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) February 15, 2024
Many were comparing the sequel's size and scope to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, specifically its battle-packed middle story The Two Towers.
DUNE: PART TWO is a triumph. Even more immense than the first, but much more intimate — Denis Villeneuve manages to streamline the more alienating second half of the book into a riveting, action-packed epic. TWO TOWERS-level mastery of battle sequences. Zendaya is the star. pic.twitter.com/gUYD6g3onN
— Hoai-Tran Bui (@htranbui) February 15, 2024
Collider's Steve Weintraub praised the film's "filmmaking" and "brilliant score," adding "My only complaint is I wish it was longer." Meanwhile, others commended its technical achievements.
In a shock to no one, I absolutely loved #Dune2. Incredible filmmaking. Brilliant score. Entire cast was excellent. My only complaint was I wish it was longer. Not joking around. The movie is 2hr and 40 min(?) and I would have been happy to watch another hour. pic.twitter.com/6PZmfQTEAH
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) February 15, 2024
#DunePartTwo is an audio/visual triumph on par with (relatively speaking) 'John Wick 4' or 'Avatar 2'. Strong performances, some clever action beats but, like DUNE 1, it's a 2.5-hour film that mostly runs out of story at the 90-minute mark and jogs in place til the climax. pic.twitter.com/lNBjHDL0l1
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) February 15, 2024
#DunePartTwo is a giant epic, a masterclass of crafts from Greig Fraser’s exceptional photography to Patrice Vermette’s magnificent world building. Denis Villeneuve has delivered his magnus opus directing one of the best sci-fi films for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/Vvfs8YeFIi
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) February 15, 2024
Is there a trailer for Dune: Part Two?
With its release date closing in faster than a rogue sandworm, fans are getting more and more sneak peeks at what they can expect from Dune's continuation.
A new trailer for the film was released in December 2023, which showed more of the drama that is in store for Paul and the people of Arrakis. Take a look below.
Released in late June, the film's second trailer gave us our first look at Christopher Walken's Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino, while showing us a bald Austin Butler in action. Take a look below.
The first trailer for Dune: Part Two, first shown at CinemaCon, reveals Paul riding a massive sandworm, features a voiceover from Florence Pugh's Princess Corino, and gives us our first look at Austin Butler's Feyd-Rautha in action.
Read more: Dune: Part Two debuts trailer selling it as an “epic war movie” at CinemaCon (The Hollywood Reporter, 3 min read)
In early May, the rest of the world finally got a glimpse of this sand-set sequel when the first Dune: Part Two trailer was released online, and shown in front of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in cinemas.
Dune: Part Two cast
Most of the surviving characters from Part One are back in Part Two, starting with Timothée Chalamet as Duke Paul Atreides. “In the first movie Paul Atredis is a student…we really see Paul Atreides become a leader here,” Chalamet said at CinemaCon.
Rebecca Ferguson is also back as his mother, Lady Jessica, but this time she is covered with 'face tattoos'. Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgård returns as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and Dave Bautista reprises his role as Glossu Rabban, his nephew and lieutenant.
Zendaya had a briefer-than-expected role in Part One as Chani, the Fremen woman who appears in Paul’s visions and then turns up in the desert at the finale, but she’s back too, with a much meatier role this time around.
“She’s not just in dreams this time,” Zendaya said at CinemaCon. “I only got a small time to find out who she was [in Part One]… These are still two young people who are trying to grow up, fall in love and leave, being a warrior for your people.”
Javier Bardem is back as Fremen leader Stilgar. Also returning in Part Two are Josh Brolin, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Charlotte Rampling.
The second half of Villeneuve’s adaptation will also introduce a host of new characters, led by Elvis star Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, Baron Harkonnen’s other nephew and his chosen heir.
This is the character unforgettably played by Sting in David Lynch’s version, and he becomes a big antagonist to Paul at this point in the story.
"It was a privilege for me to bring Austin on board to ask him to play some kind of Olympic sword master, mixed with a psychotic serial killer," Villeneuve said. "And I'm very proud of what he brought to the movie."
Higher up in the chain of command, we also meet Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter, and Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot, another member of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood like Lady Jessica.
As for the Emperor himself, Shaddam IV of House Corrino finally shows his face, and is played by none other than Christopher Walken.
Behind the scenes, Part One writer Jon Spaihts is back on scripting duties. Many of the Oscar-winning crew are returning too, including cinematographer Greig Fraser, editor Joe Walker, production designer Patrice Vermette, costume designer Jacqueline West, and of course, composer Hans Zimmer.
Bring on the “anti-groove”!
*Warning: Dune Part Two cast spoilers below*
Following the movie’s European premiere in February 2024, a surprise cast member was revealed - with Dune: Part Two also boasting a performance from Anya Taylor-Joy.
Without getting into any spoilers details, she’ll play a major character who is key to the franchise. Want to find out who? Better book your cinema tickets.
Dune: Part Two plot
In the absence of a “previously on Dune” section, the second will pick up where the first left off, with House Atreides in ruins and Paul and Jessica on the run in the deserts of planet Arrakis with the native Fremen tribe.
You may also remember that Paul is plagued throughout Part One by visions of a holy war waged across the universe in his name. In one of those two prophecies we mentioned, the Fremen believe he is the Lisan al-Gaib, (“the Voice from Another World”) the prophet who will lead them to paradise.
Meanwhile, his mother believes he is the Bene Gesserit’s messiah, the Kwisatz Haderach, born a generation early. As you might guess, this complicates matters.
And so, Part Two will see Paul try to avert an all-consuming civil war, while also getting to grips with his new powers and seeking revenge on the Harkonnens for destroying his family. In turn, the Harkonnens need to kill Paul and his mother to cover up the Emperor’s role in the Atreides’ downfall, which later brings Feyd-Rautha and Irulan into the picture.
Oh, and Dune: Part Two is far from the end of the story. The Dune saga spans at least six novels by Herbert, published between 1965 and 1985, with various follow-ups by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
While this will wrap up the first novel, Villeneuve says he envisioned three Dune movies. If Part Two does well at the box office, he also hopes to adapt the sequel, Dune Messiah, handing the franchise off to other filmmakers. Warner Bros is also prepping a spin-off TV series, Dune: The Sisterhood, for HBO Max.
The future of the series after Part Two remains to be seen, but for now, there’s another extra-large serving of spice and sandworms coming up.
Dune: Part Two will hit cinemas and IMAX on 15 March.