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Dune Part 2 Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Prior to the release of "Dune," it remained uncertain if the film would receive a sequel. The odds were completely stacked against Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the global box office, the pricey film was postponed numerous times. As the world slowly opened back up in 2021, the fate of the film industry seemed uncertain. In a bid to boost HBO Max subscribers, distributor Warner Bros. sent the film to the streaming service the day it was released in cinemas, effectively wiping away its full potential at the box office. Critics and pundits were already wary that audiences wouldn't show up for the moody and trippy sci-fi adaptation.

Nevertheless, the film went on to gross over $400 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo) against a budget of $165 million. Critically, the filmed fared well, as it currently holds a fresh 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Certain outlets felt that the film was inherently incomplete as it only adapted the first half of Herbert's epic. Four days after the film's release, Warner Bros. and production company Legendary Pictures officially greenlit "Dune Part 2," which will wrap up the first novel's storyline.

The sequel is currently on track to begin filming later this year and has already rounded out some of its key cast members. As production ramps up on the upcoming sci-fi sequel, fans might be wondering where Paul Atreides' (Timothée Chalamet) journey will take him next.

When will Dune Part 2 be released?

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have dated "Dune Part 2" for October 20, 2023 (via Deadline), two years after the first film hit cinemas and HBO Max simultaneously. Seeing as the sequel is still in pre-production, there's a chance that the film could be delayed due to myriad factors. Seeing as the sci-fi film uses extensive VFX to round out the strange world of Arrakis, it's possible the film could be pushed due to reasons outside of Warner Bros. control.

"Black Adam" producer Hiram Garcia recently revealed that his DC film, which is also distributed by Warner Bros., was recently delayed due to VFX houses being swamped with work. Could "Dune: Part 2" and other Warner Bros. productions be delayed because of the amount of VFX work needed? Only time will tell.

The upcoming film will receive an exclusive theatrical release, meaning fans won't be able to watch Paul Atreides avenge his father on HBO Max until the film has earned a decent chunk of change in cinemas. "Dune" did exceptionally well when it debuted on HBO Max. Samba TV (via Variety) reported that over 1.9 million U.S households saw the film at home during its first three days of availability. While the first film may have done well on the streaming service, director Denis Villeneuve was adamant against the film debuting on HBO Max. The director voiced his concerns numerous times leading up to its release (via Total Film Magazine), so we're glad the sequel will be seen the way Villeneuve intended.

Who will star in Dune Part 2?

Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Dune."

"Dune" featured one of the most impressive modern ensemble casts to be ever put on screen. Unfortunately, a decent portion of fan-favorite characters like Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) and Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) died in the film while protecting Paul and the rest of House Atreides. Of course, Villeneuve could employ the use of flashbacks to feature the two characters, as well as Dr. Wellington Yueh (Chang Chen), the medical expert who sold out House Atreides to the Harkonnen.

The good news is that key actors like Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), and Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck) are expected to return. The film concluded with Paul and his mother, Jessica, seeking safety in Fremen territory. While the native people of Arrakis were seen sporadically throughout "Dune," they'll be given more prominence in "Part 2." Chani (Zendaya) and Stilgar (Javier Bardem) will likely have more screen time in the upcoming sequel, with the former expected to serve as a co-protagonist.

On the villain front, audience members can also expect Dave Bautista and Stellan Skarsgård to return as nephew-uncle duo Count Glossu Rabban Harkonnen and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, respectively.

As for newcomers, two high-profile stars will be joining Villeneuve's dreary interpretation of Frank Herbert's world. Reports suggest that "Black Widow" star Florence Pugh has been tapped as Princess Irulan for "Part 2". The character only briefly appears in the novel so it remains to be seen if Villeneuve and the writing team will expand the heroine's role or simply feature the star in the film's finale. Another report teases that "Elvis" star Austin Butler is circling the role of the nefarious Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. As of this writing, it has not been explicitly confirmed if both rising stars will end up in the sequel.

What is the plot of Dune Part 2?

Seeing as the 2021 film followed the first half of Frank Herbert's novel, it's pretty much certain that "Part 2" will follow the second, stranger portion of the groundbreaking story. "Dune" wrapped up with Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica joining the Fremen, the native tribe of Arrakis. Denis Villeneuve briefly teased the sequel at this year's PGA Awards (via Deadline), saying, "It's the journey where Paul Atreides and his mother, Lady Jessica, make contact with the Fremen culture and meet with the Fremen."

Per the novel, Paul will become a messiah of sorts for the Fremen people and help them overthrow Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, the father of Florence Pugh's potential character. The sequel should also see Paul grieving after his father's death and becoming more confident in his abilities. He'll also start romancing Chani (Zendaya), a character he has been having visions about since the first film. Despite the character ready to tap into his softer side, Villeneuve made it clear at the PGA Awards that "Part 2" will focus on "Paul's journey against the enemy." And, eventually, Paul will end up riding a sandworm, which should make for some fascinating cinema.

Of course, Villeneuve, alongside co-writers Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts, did take creative liberties when penning "Dune" so it is possible that "Part 2" could differ from Herbert's laid-out plot.