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Dune: Part Two Trailer: Breakdown, Small Details, And Big Reveals

The "Dune: Part Two" trailer has finally arrived, bringing new characters, story teases, and gorgeous shots of Arrakis and the universe beyond. Denis Villeneuve's upcoming sequel will complete Frank Herbert's first "Dune" novel, following Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) as they join the Fremen after their family's betrayal at the hands of the Harkonnen clan. If the first movie was mostly setup and backroom political scheming, "Part Two" will be full-on revolution. The trailer also features about as much of Chani (Zendaya) as there was in the first film, foreshadowing her much, much bigger role in the second.

If you've read Herbert's novel, many things in the trailer will be familiar. There are new characters like the regal Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) and the villainous Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler), as well as some extended scenes set in the unnervingly gorgeous desert of Arrakis. Sandworms? Check. Ornithopters? Check. Scheming Bene Gesserits lurking in the shadows while plotting the millennia-long genetic future of the human race? Check and check. It's all here, it looks stunning, and it's coming to theaters on November 3, 2023. Let's break down the "Dune: Part Two" trailer and dig into all the story details, Easter eggs, and new characters.

A rift is forming between mother and son

Has there ever been a parent-child relationship in science fiction as dynamic as Lady Jessica and Paul? Remarkable for the time that it was written, Frank Herbert's characterization of Lady Jessica in "Dune" is nuanced and fully formed. Her motives to conceive Paul were absolutely motivated by her desire to bring about the Kwisatz Haderach while also loving Duke Leto desperately. But as close as she and Paul are in the first film, the cracks are beginning to show. The distance starts when Paul realizes how his Bene Gesserit lineage has affected him, but he still has a long way before achieving his destiny. The closer he gets, the more it will push him away from anyone who can understand him.

As much as Paul should cling to his father's way of life, he is already starting to slip. His visions have shown him that he will start a holy war. And if Duke Leto didn't believe in revenge, he certainly wouldn't believe in the genocide that Paul is destined to cause. This brings inner turmoil to the young Muad'dib. He rightfully doesn't want to be someone capable of unspeakable acts, but Jessica continues to push him. She tells him, "We gave them something to hope for." But Paul doesn't believe that is hope. And while his romance with Chani continues to grow, Paul will pull further from his mother's influence.

Jessica's undergoing the spice agony

In the trailer, we see Lady Jessica gasping for air and opening her eyes –- which are now the vibrant blue of the Fremen, something that usually indicates an addiction or prolonged exposure to "spice." Spice is an incredibly valuable narcotic in the world of "Dune" that is only found on Arrakis, though the blood seeping from Jessica's nose in this scene hints at a very specific source for her blue eyes.

It's likely that this scene is part of a "spice agony" — a ritual in which members of the Bene Gesserit voluntarily ingest a poison known as the "Water of Life" (a liquid harvested from sandworms that die from drowning) in order to transform into a "Reverend Mother." Although the Water of Life is fatal even in small quantities, high ranking members of the Bene Gesserit are able to transform the substance into a benign liquid with their mental powers. This incredibly painful transformation leaves them with blue eyes, and the torturous experience is thought to unlock a new level of power within higher ranking members of the Bene Gesserit.

There's even a possible glimpse of the Water of Life a few seconds earlier, held in a glass vial by a mysterious cloaked figure. The "spice agony" of Jessica will likely play a major part in her story throughout "Dune: Part 2," and this is the first glimpse we get of her face post-transformation.

Princess Irulan is setting the record straight

Princess Irulan Corrino is the eldest daughter of the literal emperor of the known universe, but more importantly, she's an avid journalist. It's a habit that she's carried from childhood into her adult years — anyone familiar with Frank Herbert's "Dune" saga should also be familiar with Irulan's work as a historian, as Herbert begins a significant number of his chapters with an epigraph from Irulan's in-canon professional writings.

Typically, the passage will frame a notable historical event as it officially happened, and then the subsequent chapter will depict that same event as it actually happened. And it's in this way that Irulan is technically a prevalent force within "Dune" without really being all that present for the events of the story — she doesn't actually show up until the end of the first book. The Warner Bros. films seem to be mirroring this by having Pugh's version of the princess make her debut in "Dune Part Two," but it also seems like her role has been expanded.

Book Irulan did as she was told and nothing more, a passive participant in her own life (this is specifically in reference to Book One Irulan, by the way — what she does later in the series is another story entirely) but Movie Irulan seems to be actively asking questions and seeking answers, and that's just not something the source material features. Is Denis Villeneuve planning to tie Irulan more closely into the main plot, or will she simply be setting up future story arcs?

Either way, no one in their right mind would cast Florence Pugh and not let her explore the space.

Chani is worried about Paul's first ride

The longest section of the "Dune: Part Two" trailer shows Paul's first ride on a sandworm. We see him place a thumper in the sand and prepare for the massive creature's arrival. And then, we see him ride. Over the montage of preparation, one line from Chani plays: "Have you ever had a dream about your first ride?"

This is a more somber question than it might seem. At the point of his first ride, Paul has had many visions of the future, and they're not all hopeful ones. Chani is asking if he's foreseen how his first ride will go, and, implicitly, if he knows whether or not he will survive. In the novel, Paul is a bit nervous to ride the worm, but he also knows that he's much older than most Fremen when they do so for the first time. The exchange in which Stilgar (Javier Bardem) warns Paul about how to ride is also pulled straight out of the book.

Feyd-Rautha is coming for Paul

The "Dune: Part Two" trailer shows us Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler) in all his bald, treacherous glory. The great foil to Paul Atreides in the "Dune" novel, Feyd-Rautha is the nephew and intended successor of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). He appears a little earlier in Herbert's version of the story, but because the first "Dune" book covers a number of years, it makes sense that we're only seeing him now, in "Part Two."

Feyd bears the same drab, reptilian look as the rest of his vicious family, and some of his scenes in the trailer are shot in full-on black and white. These scenes mainly depict him participating in the gladiator arenas on Giedi Prime, the homeworld of his "noble" family glimpsed briefly in the first film. We also see his interactions with the Bene Gesserit Lady Margot Fenring (Léa Seydoux), who knows much about Feyd's family history and genetic significance.

Later on, we see what appears to be a shot of Feyd facing off against Paul, with the latter uttering the Fremen challenge, "May thy knife chip and shatter." If you've read the book, you'll know what this moment leads into.

Lady Margot is here to carry out the Bene Gesserit's complex plans

The trailer gives audience members their very first glimpse at Margot, Lady Fenring. The character did not appear at all in the first half of "Dune," but will be played by Léa Seydoux in the second film. Though she truly becomes a major character later in the book series, it seems her part in Villeneuve's film may have been expanded from Herbert's original novel.

Margot is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a powerful order that's matriarchal in nature (and who lie in part behind the dethronement of House Atreides on Arrakis, in conjunction with House Harkonnen). They have a breeding program through which they preserve their bloodline, and hope to mate Margot with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. This will give the organization a leg up, as they'll have a member of House Harkonnen fully in their control, doubling the amount of power in their possession. 

Book fans know that Margot's fate and Paul's are closely intertwined, and that ultimately Paul's rise will precipitate Margot's fall. Of course, this adaption of "Dune" might switch things around a bit, but for now, it's quite clear that Margot is here to stay.

The Bene Gesserit are still pulling the strings

House Harkonnen has been a shadow on House Atreides, but if you thought the Baron was bad, just wait for his deranged nephew, Feyd-Rautha. Practically unrecognizable as a bald warrior with pale skin, director Denis Villeneuve told Vanity Fair, "Austin Butler brought to the screen something that would be a cross between a psychotic, sociopath serial killer and Mick Jagger." This is featured briefly in the trailer as Feyd-Rautha duels in a gladiatorial area, observed by Lady Margot. The connection between the two characters is significant, considering Margot's role as another Bene Gesserit. Established in the first film, the Bene Gesserit were intent on bringing about the messiah through their meticulous breeding program that took centuries to put into place.

Had this gone to plan — and had Paul been born a girl as he was supposed to — things would have been a lot different. Lady Jessica was ordered to only bear girls so her daughter would eventually marry Feyd-Rautha. Their child would have been the Kwisatz Haderach, but Jessica jumped the line a generation too early. Now Paul is rising as the messiah of Arrakis, cutting out the Harkonnens completely. But the Bene Gesserit will continue to plot Bene Gesserit things, and it doesn't appear they are giving up on the Harkonnens quite yet — the trailer briefly shows the two seemingly leaning in for a kiss.

Maker hooks are Fremen tools for desert power

The planet of Arrakis is a foreboding and hostile place, even for those who possess the technology to move among the stars. Desolate, barren, and sparsely populated, Arrakis requires specialized skills and knowledge to be able to survive effectively. Although the planetary colonists of the varying noble houses struggle to cultivate the powerful chemical known as Spice, Arrakis' indigenous population known as Fremen are well adapted, and they utilize several novel technologies that allow their people to flourish.

Among their most notable items are Maker Hooks, which are featured prominently at the start of the trailer for "Dune: Part Two." These pairs of hooks are utilized by Fremen to mount and steer the giant creatures known as sandworms, and even though Paul is told not to show off during his first attempt at riding, he's clearly quite effective at it. Within Fremen culture, Maker Hooks are important because riding a sandworm for the first time act as a rite of passage for young Fremen. Fremen are able to use the Maker Hooks to steer a sandworm by hooking into gaps in the sandworm's plating, which causes the creature to instinctively move in the opposite direction. Even though it looks like Paul is having fun riding a sandworm in the trailer for "Dune: Part Two," this action means much more then just a simple skill in the eyes of the Fremen.

A misguided Gurney is seeking revenge

"Dune: Part Two" will feature many characters on the hunt for Paul Atreides. As Princess Irulan's voiceover questions his fate after the Harkonnen attack, we get a glimpse of Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) looking through a pair of space binoculars. Denis Villeneuve and company have snuck in some clever editing here, as much of Gurney's story in the sequel will revolve around finding Paul and getting revenge on someone he thought he could trust.

Even before the Harkonnen attack, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) knew there was a traitor among House Atreides, narrowing the possibilities to a few suspects. For a moment, he believed Lady Jessica could be the culprit, given her Bene Gesserit status, and Gurney followed his lead. Although audiences know Yueh (Chang Chen) was the traitor, Gurney hasn't learned that information, continuing to believe that Lady Jessica aided the Harkonnens. When we pick up with him in "Dune: Part Two," he's one of the few survivors of the attack, searching for Paul and vowing to get his revenge on Jessica for what he believes she did to House Atreides.

While Gurney didn't have much to do in "Dune," with even his fan-favorite song getting deleted, he plays a significant role in the story's second half as one of Paul's major allies.

Lady Jessica's tattoos represent a prophecy fulfilled

Once the door to Paul's potential opens, it cannot be closed. His visions start simply at first, with dreams of a game-changing Chani. But more and more, he opens his mind thanks to the spice on Arrakis and soon knows things he wishes he didn't. His destiny is revealed, as is his mother's fate. Before Jessica even confirms that she's pregnant in "Dune Part One," Paul tells her of the baby she will have. In his mind, he sees Jessica's blue-within-blue eyes and the facial tattoos that she will have in the future. Jessica's future will be realized in "Dune Part Two," as she finally dons the tattoos that Paul prophesized. Though we can't say what the tattoos mean, we can give a pretty accurate guess. Jessica has built her life around the Bene Gesserit and fulfilling the prophecy of the Kwisatz Haderach. Referred to as a "weirding woman" by Stilgar, she still holds to her teachings.

"Those tattoos are linked with the prophecy," Villeneuve told Vanity Fair in a first look at the film. "We see that there's a darkness, a very specific darkness in her eyes. Lady Jessica is one of the masterminds of 'Dune.' She's trying to play her own agenda. The meaning of that look would be unveiled in 'Part Two.'" Just as Paul comes to terms with his place in the universe, so too does Jessica.

Paul has mastered The Voice

There are many mysterious forces and powers in play throughout the galaxy of "Dune." Paul himself is the product of a long line of genetic selection for the express purpose of creating a superhuman being capable of uniting and leading humanity into a golden age of peace and prosperity. This breeding program, led by the mystical organization of the Bene Gesserit, means that each successive generation possess greater acumen with their mental powers. Although the Bene Gesserit are exclusively female, Paul represents a departure from the normal convention, but he's still trained extensively in the sisterhood's powers and skills.

One of the most notable Bene Gesserit powers is known as "The Voice." This skill was used in "Dune" by both Lady Jessica and Paul to escape their assassination attempt, and it allows the practitioners to essentially order and mentally dominate most individuals — the "Jedi Mind Trick" most assuredly took its inspiration from "The Voice." However, in the final moments of the trailer for "Dune: Part Two," Paul is seen addressing an assembly of Fremen, and although the music swells, one can almost hear a hint of The Voice's distinct auditory cue. This means that there is a potential that Paul uses The Voice to rally the Fremen.