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Dune Part Two: Who Exactly Is Florence Pugh's Princess Irulan?

The first official trailer for "Dune: Part Two," which will serve as a sequel to Denis Villeneuve's 2021 adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert's influential "Dune" novel, premiered online on May 3. One character this second "Dune" film will introduce is Princess Irulan, portrayed by Florence Pugh. News that "Dune Part Two" cast Pugh as Irulan began circulating as early as March of 2022. It wasn't until April 27, 2023 that fans eventually got their first look at Pugh's character courtesy of a Vanity Fair article.

While Irulan may be new to this adaptation of "Dune," she's a part of the first "Dune" book from its outset as a narrator of sorts. Each chapter of "Dune," readers will recall, kicks off with an epigraph taken from Irulan's writings, positioning her as a historian recounting the events that take place throughout "Dune."

That said, Irulan doesn't show up in person until near the book's closing. The brief insights into Pugh's version of Irulan available thus far suggest, however, that her character will play a larger role in "Dune: Part Two" than she does in the second half of Frank Herbert's "Dune."

Dune Part Two seems to be charting new territory with its approach to Princess Irulan

Roughly twenty seconds into the first official trailer for "Dune: Part Two," Florence Pugh's Princess Irulan alludes to secrets hiding on the planet Arrakis, speaking into what appears to be a recording device. This indicates that the film will acknowledge and incorporate Irulan's role as historian, known to readers of the first "Dune" novel through the excerpts of her writings that precede each chapter. Since these mark the only mentions of Irulan prior to her appearance during the book's final sequence, it seems that Pugh's character will play a more active role in the movie sequel's story than in its source material.

Director Denis Villeneuve hinted at Irulan's significance to "Dune: Part Two" in the profile of the film Vanity Fair published on April 27. "Her stake could not be higher because she's afraid that her father could lose the throne, could lose everything," Villeneuve said. Just as in the book series, Irulan's father is universal Emperor Shaddam IV, portrayed by Christopher Walken.

The villainous Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler) is likewise debuting in "Dune: Part Two" — fans of David Lynch's "Dune" will remember him as Sting's character. The threat he poses to Shaddam IV's rule, Villeneuve goes on to explain, will motivate Irulan in what appears to be a storyline altogether new to this telling of "Dune."