As the new advertising campaign for Dune: Part Two has fans salivating, we take an in-depth look at the trailer to discern what fans can expect, what they’ll never expect, and what they’ll never see coming.
Here’s everything we noticed that surprised us in the official Dune: Part Two Trailer.
Christopher Walken Emerges as The Emperor
The absence of the Emperor of the Known Universe in the first Dune was a direct contradiction to both Frank Herbert’s original book series Dune as well as Lynch’s eighties version of the film. The reason for the reluctance to include the main obstacle to Paul Atreides and his Fremen disciples in the first Dune could have been to garner fan interest.
Many fans know that Dune is first introduced and explained by the Emperor’s daughter in the published book, as well as Lynch’s version, played by Virginia Madsen. It brings up an interesting quandary for fans: when will the Emperor’s daughter make her appearance, and will this prove a romantic and political foil for Paul – now known as “Muad’Dib” – as it did in Herbert’s book series?
Chani Takes the Lead as Warrior Queen
The 80s Dune presented Chani as a strong but baffled princess that hailed from the Fremen. Mistrustful at first, Chani grows to love Paul Atreidis and even gives him the idea of taking the mantle “Muad’Dib,” which many fans believe is the Fremen’s word for ‘Messiah.’ The 2000s Sci-Fi version of Dune corrected this misnomer – making it clear that a “Muad’Dib” is a resourceful, cute, and plucky member of the Rodentia species that thrives alongside sand worms on the desert moon of Arakkis.
While Sci-Fi’s Dune presented Chani as a reluctant war leader standing beside her man, the new Dune 2 trailer sees Chani (now played by the incredibly talented Zendaya) taking the lead against the invading Harkonnen, slicing through enemies ruthlessly while sand flies and Paul is left appearing slightly dumbstruck. This new, powerful, decisive, and aggressive Chani is the true character from Herbert’s Dune series – one that fans have been waiting for over four decades to see.
The Appearance of Feyd Rautha
As occurred in the second act of Lynch’s original Dune, the homicidal brother to psychopathic Rabban (Dave Bautista), Feyd, makes his first appearance. Originally played by Sting, Feyd’s appearance in the new Dune 2 trailer presents the younger brother of Bautista’s Rabban as an impish, bald, freaky knife-wielder.
This is fine, and although Herbert’s original Dune presented Feyd and Rabban as sporting copper-colored, thick messy hair – the bad guys here are all bald, from Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) to his twisted offspring Rabban (Bautista) and the newly introduced Feyd (Austin Bulter).
Not Your Father’s Dune
Forty years ago, David Lynch directed the first Dune. While the film left out the tedious 80-plus page treatment of walking through a desert, Lynch’s Dune left out deeply rich social norms of Arakkis – such as the quasi-religious obsession with water conservation as displayed in the fountain scene wherein Fremen are forced to scrounge for moist, disregarded napkins in their quest to obtain and sustain water. This was not present in the most recent Dune.
Twenty years ago, The Sci-Fi Channel (before becoming ‘Syfy’) released Frank Herbert’s Dune. This production gave fans a truer sense of the worlds of Dune while simultaneously denouncing the House Harkonnen hierarchy in an attempt to fully realized Herbert’s written material and create a more in-depth, visually appealing conceptualization of the franchise.
What Fans Can Expect From Dune 2
What fans could be surprised by in Dune 2 is (like in the first Dune) the appearance of non-canonical materials. Specifically, the first Dune featured an enormous black spider with human hands and a human face. The disquieting, disturbing, and disgusting creature has nothing to do with any prior film or the series whatsoever.
This mutant spider-man appears in Dune simply to be disregarded after a central character states that the hybrid is not dangerous. Fans were left to wonder…huh? The only logical explanation is that since Dune released around the same time as Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), and slightly after Miles Morales’ foray in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), this was a producer in-joke or a subtle criticism of Marvel’s beloved web-slinger, completely pointless though it might have been.
It may very well be that Dune 2 will surprise new enthusiasts alongside long-time fans with new, fresh material (such as an inexplicable man-spider) neither in the 1984 version, the 2000s version, nor the book series itself. Exciting? Perhaps. Does the possibility invite trepidation from hard-core series enthusiasts? Absolutely.
What was missing from the trailer? The emergence of Alia Atreides, Paul “Muad’Dib”s sister, is a particular highlight that fans are clamoring for. First portrayed by Alicia Witt in Lynch’s 1984 version, the product of Bene Gesserit (/ˈbɛniː ˈdʒɛsərɪt/) genetic manipulation will inevitably lead to (spoilers!) the death of Baron Harkonnen himself.
Taking this all with a grain of salt, it would do for those who enjoyed the original 1984 version, Sci-Fi’s 2000s run, and the 60s book series by Herbert to keep an open mind. From the Doctor Liet-Kynes character – originally played by Max Von Sydow, a white man, and now portrayed by the fierce Sharon Duncan-Brewster, a woman of color – emboldened fans of the Dune series can, of course, expect the unexpected.