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A Massive MCU Star Is On Track To Become Dune: Part 2's Princess Irulan

Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" drew in viewers with its star-studded cast when it made its long-awaited debut on the big screen in October 2021. Timotheé Chalamet and Zendaya headline an ensemble of well-known actors, including Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, and Stellan Skarsgård. It was this team of actors, as well as numerous expert crew members, who expertly brought the first half of Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel to life. "Dune" entered theaters as a heavy, 156-minute cinematic experience that does not actually finish the story told in the first installment of Herbert's sci-fi saga. Stylized as "Dune: Part One," it was clear that the end of the movie we saw last fall would be setting up an epic tale, not telling it in full.

Intriguingly, Villeneuve made "Dune: Part One" without a surefire guarantee that Warner Bros. would allow him to finish the story. The director was vocal in his concerns about the movie's box office potential amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a Warner Bros. strategy that saw their 2021 films released concurrently to streaming on HBO Max and in theaters for the first 31 days. In December 2020, Villeneuve wrote in Variety that Warner Bros.' decision to stream the film may have killed any potential for "Dune" sequels; fortunately, it didn't work out that way. "Dune: Part Two" was greenlit by Warner Bros. just three days after the film debuted in the United States (via The Hollywood Reporter).

A pivotal character is expected to appear in "Dune: Part Two," and, based on the latest reporting, Villeneuve isn't done adding A-list names to the franchise. Here's who may be taking up the mantle of this new, key role.

Florence Pugh is reportedly in negotiations to star in Dune: Part Two

In early March, Deadline reported that Florence Pugh is in talks to join the cast of "Dune: Part Two" as Princess Irulan, the daughter of the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. At the time of reporting, there has been no official confirmation of Pugh's involvement in the sequel. Pugh's casting would also reunite her on-screen with Chalamet for the first time since 2019's "Little Women," in the pair play sweethearts Amy and Laurie. Per Deadline, filming on "Dune: Part Two" is set to start later this year.

Pugh's reported casting places focus on an interesting part of the novel's adaptation for the big screen. While the character only appears in person toward the end of the novel, she serves as an in-universe historian of sorts in "Dune." Each chapter of the book begins with an epigraph attributed to Irulan's writings, which usually contain background information on the life of Paul Atreides or additional context for the story. Villeneuve's film does not adapt these epigraphs into its story, but Irulan is mentioned in passing as Paul (Timothée Chalamet) starts to form a plan to challenge the Emperor for the universe's throne as revenge for the attack on House Atreides.

Given that Irulan does not appear until the end of "Dune," it could be that Pugh's role functions in a similar capacity to Chani's (Zendaya) in the first movie, serving as a sign of what's to come for the franchise. Irulan plays a larger role in the sequel novel "Dune: Messiah," which Villeneuve has hinted that he wants to adapt to complete a "Dune" film trilogy (via Yahoo). Should Pugh be confirmed, Villeneuve is not only locking in a fantastic actress for the sequel — he could secure a near-guarantee for a third "Dune" film, too.