Dune 2 - What We Know So Far

"Dune" fans have been waiting for decades for a proper adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic 1965 science fiction novel (with apologies to David Lynch's 1984 attempt). And after Denis Villenueve's "Dune: Part One" premiered on October 22, 2021, all signs indicate that fans are happy with the effort. The critics have been mostly positive in their reviews, with "Dune: Part One" coming in at 84% Fresh among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 91% Fresh among the fans.

The box office numbers are equally impressive. As reported by Variety, "Dune: Part One" brought in $40 million domestically during its three-day opening weekend, making it the top movie in the U.S. — and that was despite the fact that Warner Bros. also released the film on HBO Max on the same day. Internationally, "Dune: Part One" has already raked in an impressive $220 million.

All those results indicated that "Dune: Part Two" was likely to happen, and now we know that it definitely will. That's even more of a relief to fans, since "Dune: Part One" only covers the first half of Herbert's story. Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming "Dune" sequel.

What is the release date for Dune 2?

Luckily for "Dune" fans, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures didn't wait long to announce that "Dune: Part One" is officially getting a sequel. Just one week after its premiere in theaters and on HBO Max, the companies announces that "Dune: Part Two" is happening, and that it will officially premiere on October 23, 2023 (as reported by Deadline).

Warner Bros. and Legendary also announced that unlike "Dune: Part One," the followup won't be getting a day and date release, with the film available both in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. Instead, "Dune: Part Two" will be treated to a more traditional theatrical release window. So, if you want to watch "Dune: Part Two" on HBO Max or another streaming platform, you'll have to wait the typical 90 days. This decision is most likely a reflection of the world returning to relative normalcy by October 2023, when the COVID-19 will (hopefully) be in the rearview mirror.

Who is in the cast of Dune 2?

Based on their roles in the original novel, most of the surviving cast of "Dune: Part One" will presumably be back. That includes Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Zendaya as Chani, and Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonnen.

Most of the surviving secondary characters will probably be back too, like Javier Bardem as the Fremen leader Stilgar, Josh Brolin as the former House Atreides weapons master Gurney Halleck, Stephen McKinley Henderson as House Atreides' Mentat Thufir Hawat, Dave Bautista as Baron Harkonnen's brutal nephew Rabban, and Charlotte Rampling as the current Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam.

There are also several characters who were mentioned in "Dune: Part One" but didn't appear onscreen, and presumably they'll be making their debuts. The first likely candidate is Emperor Shaddam IV, who plays a major role in the plot of the sequel (see below). There's also his daughter, Princess Irulan, who later becomes Paul's wife. Then there's Feyd-Rautha, the violent heir to House Harkonnen who was played by Sting in David Lynch's 1984 version. Finally there's Alia, Lady Jessica's daughter, who will be born during the events of "Dune: Part Two."

What is the plot of Dune 2?

Warning: Spoilers for "Dune: Part One" and "Dune: Part Two" ahead

Since "Dune: Part One" covers the first half of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, naturally Part Two will cover the back half, picking up where the first film left off.

"Dune: Part Two" will begin with Paul, Lady Jessica, and their new Fremen allies beginning their war to overthrow the new overlords of Arrakis, House Harkonnen. Paul will begin to realize his destiny as the Kwisatz Haderach, the prophesied messiah-like figure whom the Bene Gesserit foretold would bring peace to the planet. Also, Paul and Chani will have a son, Paul II. 

The story will begin with Paul leading the Fremen in raids on the Harkonnens' spice production facilities, which will stall the galactic spice market. This will force Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV to personally intervene in the conflict, officially joining forces with the Harkonnen to destroy Paul and the Fremen. (Shaddam IV had previously plotted with the Harkonnen to destroy House Atreides in the first place.)

Meanwhile, Lady Jessica drinks the Water of Life in order to become a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. She's also secretly pregnant with Paul's sister Alia at the time, and the Water of Life makes Alia essentially an adult from the moment she's born. When Shaddam IV and Baron Harkonnen capture Alia, Paul leads the Fremen in an assault on their stronghold, riding sandworms into battle. In the end, Paul forces Shaddam IV to abdicate the throne and becomes emperor himself. 

However, the Fremen become so fanatical in their devotion to the Kwisatz Haderach that they don't stop their religious jihad even after Paul becomes emperor. That story could potentially fuel even more "Dune" sequels — but let's not get ahead of ourselves.