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Dune: Part Two Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Plot And More Details

Frank Herbert's "Dune" is perhaps the most acclaimed sci-fi novel of all time, but thanks to its vast worldbuilding, political plotlines, and multitude of characters, many believed it was an unfilmable book. David Lynch gave it a shot in 1984, and ... well ... it's no "Mulholland Drive." The novel inspired two TV adaptations in the 2000s, but neither really captured the rich universe that Herbert had created. As a result, "Dune" fans lost hope in ever seeing Arrakis faithfully depicted on-screen.

Then, Denis Villeneuve came along.

In 2021, the French-Canadian filmmaker left us all picking our jaws off the floor with his adaptation of Herbert's beloved novel. This was everything we ever wanted from a "Dune" movie, and best of all, it was the first installment in a two-part series. Just like a hungry sandworm barreling through the desert floor, "Dune: Part Two" is on the way, bringing along plenty of Harkonnen soldiers, Bene Gesserit witches, and a blue-eyed Paul Atreides.

If you're wondering when you can see the second film or who will be populating its beautiful yet barren landscapes, never fear (it's the mind-killer) — we've got you covered. Read on for everything you need to know about "Dune: Part Two."

When will Dune: Part Two be released?

When Denis Villeneuve's first "Dune" film was released, movie theaters were in a precarious position. The pandemic was still going strong, so Warner Bros. made a controversial decision. In 2021, the studio released all its films into theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. Needless to say, a lot of filmmakers weren't pleased with this day-and-date strategy, including Villeneuve himself. Speaking with Deadline, he explained how he felt about "Dune" playing on a streaming site, saying, "I was sad because I thought I was abandoning people."

So when Warner Bros. and Villeneuve started talking about the follow-up film, the director insisted on an exclusive theatrical window. "For me, it was a non-negotiable condition," he told The Hollywood Reporter in October 2021, adding, "All movies need to have proper time in theaters. The theatrical experience is at the very heart of the cinematic language for me." 

Basically, if you want to watch "Dune: Part Two" online, you'll have to wait a while. But when can you see it play on the big screen? While it was originally meant to release on October 20, 2023, a series of events — including the SAG-AFTRA strike — led to the sci-fi sequel bouncing around all over the calendar. However, the movie now has an official release date. We'll finally return to Arrakis on March 1, 2024.

What is the plot of Dune: Part Two?

The first "Dune" ends with our heroes in serious trouble. Duke Leto Atreides and Duncan Idaho are dead, and the combined forces of the Emperor and House Harkonnen have driven Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica into hiding. Haunted by visions of messianic future and a mysterious woman, Paul eventually encounters the Fremen — the desert-dwelling people of Arrakis — and wins protection for himself and his mother after a vicious duel to the death. It's also here that meets the literal woman of his dreams, Chani, and the film ends with Paul joining the Fremen and plotting his next move.

"Dune: Part Two" will pick up immediately after the first film ended, with director Denis Villeneuve telling Vanity Fair, "It's not a sequel, it's a second part. There's a difference. ... There's no time jump. I wanted dramatic continuity with 'Part One.'" In other words, the second movie is going to hit the sand running, and it has quite a few plot threads to tie up. For example, we know that Paul will have to further prove himself to the Fremen. If he's to become one of them, he'll have to ride one of the monstrous sandworms we saw in the first film. Why? Because, as Villeneuve explained to Vanity Fair, "It's a rite of passage. It's the way you become an adult in the Fremen world. That is a very important part of their culture, and they respect the worms as half-gods, so they have a religious relationship with the worm."

What else is happening in Dune: Part Two?

Romance will be at the center of "Dune: Part Two," as the film will find Paul falling in love with Chani, the woman from his visions. And while she has (very blue) eyes for Paul, Chani is also concerned with the freedom of her people, as they've long been under the thumb of the Emperor and his colonizing forces. 

Speaking of the Emperor, the supreme royal will make his grand appearance in this film, as he maneuvers to keep the various warring factions under his control — notably House Harkonnen. These scheming spice miners have an alliance with the Emperor, and they'll both find themselves up against Paul, who wants serious vengeance for the death of his father and the fall of House Atreides.

As all that's going on in the foreground, we'll also witness the workings of the Bene Gesserit, the Machiavellian witches who basically bio-engineered Paul into existence as a superhuman savior. Thanks to their maneuverings, Paul is meant to become a messiah and new ruler of the Empire, but will our protagonist use his powers for good, or will his ascendance give way to a massive holy war? Yeah, there's a lot going on here, so get ready for an epic tale of revenge, romance, and riding really big worms.

Who is starring Dune: Part Two?

The first "Dune" featured an A-list cast, and many of those big names are coming back for the sequel. Timothée Chalamet is returning to play Paul Atreides, the young hero fighting for the very soul of Arrakis. He'll be joined here by Zendaya as Chani, the fierce Fremen warrior who's fighting for her people while falling in love with Paul. 

Chani only briefly appeared in the first movie, but she'll be a much larger character here as her connection to Paul is key to the plot. As director Denis Villeneuve explained to Vanity Fair, "The epicenter of the story is this relationship." Of course, Zendaya isn't the only original actor returning to the tale. We'll also see Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Javier Bardem as Freemen leader Stilgar, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonnen, Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban, Stephen McKinely Henderson as Thufir Hawat, and Charlotte Rampling as Reverend Mother Mohiam.

Of course, the cast of "Dune: Part Two" will also feature a ton of new faces, including some of the most exciting names working in Hollywood today. The legendary Christopher Walken will portray Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, and his daughter, the savvy politician Princess Irulan, will be played by the one and only Florence Pugh. We'll also meet a brand new bad guy, the sadistic swordsman Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, played by "Elvis" Oscar nominee Austin Butler. You can also expect to see Léa Seydoux as Bene Gesserit member Margot Fenring and Souheila Yacoub as Fremen fighter Shishakli, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy and Tim Blake Nelson as unknown characters.

Who is directing Dune: Part Two?

Denis Villeneuve has had "Dune" on the brain for quite some time. He started storyboarding a potential film when he was just a teenager, and his cinematic dreams finally came true in 2021. Of course, he wasn't sure he was going to get to make both installments of his massive saga. As he explained to Yahoo! Entertainment, he wanted to film both movies one after the other, but the suits at Warner Bros. were a little bit hesitant. "I suggested to shoot two parts back-to-back, [but] it was too expensive," he said. "Because of the nature of the source material, the reputation of the book [it was like], 'Okay, let's do one, see what happens.'"

Fortunately, "Dune" was the 12th highest-grossing movie of the year — and remember, it was released on HBO Max the same day it hit theaters. So yeah, that's an impressive stat. The film earned massive critical acclaim and won six Oscars at the 94th Academy Awards. It also did well on streaming, so Villeneuve got his greenlight for "Part Two." Of course, "Dune" is far from behind the only beloved film of Villeneuve's career, as he's directed films such as "Sicario," "Arrival," and "Blade Runner 2049."

Speaking about "Dune: Part Two" at 2023's CinemaCon, Villeneuve got us all psyched with his description of the movie. As the director put it, "'Part One' is more of a contemplative movie. 'Part Two' is an action-packed, epic war movie. It is much more dense. We went to all new locations. I didn't want a feeling of repetition. It's all new sets. Everything is new."

Who is writing Dune: Part Two?

When your first film was a big success, you don't want to screw around too much with the recipe. That's why the screenplay for "Dune: Part Two" has been co-written by Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts, the duo who penned the first film and earned an Oscar nomination for their efforts (along with Eric Roth).

In addition to telling the story of the Fremen and House Atreides, Spaihts has spent quite a bit of time in worlds of sci-fi and fantasy. He wrote the 2011 alien invasion flick "The Darkest Hour," and he also penned the script for "Prometheus," the Ridley Scott "Alien" prequel that has both its fair share of supporters and detractors. And while he did write the widely reviled "Passengers," he also co-wrote one of the very best movies in the MCU — 2016's "Doctor Strange."

Interestingly, Spaihts was originally going to be the showrunner on a "Dune" TV show — "Dune: The Sisterhood" — but he eventually left the series to focus on writing the sequel with Villeneuve. However, there is a third screenwriter in the mix, one who was brought in to, um, "spice" things up a bit. Speaking with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Craig Mazin admitted he'd been brought in to take a pass at the script, explaining that he's being credited as "additional literary material" for his work. For those who don't recognize Mazin's name, you definitely know the TV shows he's created for HBO, as he's the showrunner for both "Chernobyl" and "The Last of Us."

Is there a trailer for Dune: Part Two?

Thanks to "Dune: Part Two" being delayed, we've been treated to three official trailers for the film — all of which are kind of mind-blowing. In the first trailer for "Dune: Part Two," we witness Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) maneuvering her way through the political landscape, and in stark black-and-white, we watch Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler) engage in a furious duel to the death. We see the Fremen gearing up for war, the Bene Gesserit working towards their enigmatic goals, and Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) preparing to ride a sandworm, which is a big deal for the Fremen and an even bigger deal for "Dune" fans.

The second trailer for "Dune: Part Two" emphasizes the romance between our two leads, showing that Chani (Zendaya) is caught between her feelings for Paul and her feelings for her people. The trailer also emphasizes the battle of belief, with everyone wondering if Paul is truly a messiah — including Paul himself. "All my visions lead to horror," he says. "Because you lose control?" asks Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). "Because I gain it," Paul responds. The second trailer also gives us our first glimpse of Christopher Walken's Emperor Shaddam IV, who seems to be a pretty menacing figure.

The third trailer for "Dune: Part Two" really emphasizes the size and scope of the film. We're getting a true epic here, and with the swelling music and incredible visuals, it feels comparable to films like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Braveheart." Near the end of the trailer, we see an awesome shot of three sandworms charging into battle, and couple that with the incredible chemistry between Paul and Chani — as well as the true barbarity of Feyd-Rautha — and the third "Dune" trailer just might be the best of the bunch.

What was it like filming Dune: Part Two?

If you like practical effects and real-world locations, then you're going to love "Dune: Part Two." At 2023's CinemaCon, Timothée Chalamet spoke about the look of the film, assuring everyone that a sequence involving Paul Atreides riding a massive sandworm was actually done with real effects. We absolutely cannot wait to see what a practical sandworm looks like, and honestly, we're now just as excited to watch the behind-the-scenes footage as we are the movie.

As for the setting, the film was shot on location in Jordan and Abu Dhabi, which will help the world of Arrakis feel like an actual planet, as opposed to the green screens of something like, say, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." However, this posed problems for the filmmakers, as they only had a brief amount of time during the evening to capture scenes in just the right kind of light.

"There's kind of, like, a ticking timer," Zendaya told Vanity Fair. "You kind of feel like, 'Okay, we got here, but we have maybe an hour to get this." As a result, they had to do the same scene across multiple days, although this did allow them to hone their performances and capture the exact emotions they were looking for. By the way, this was all shot on IMAX cameras. While the first film relied on IMAX cameras for 40% of the footage, cinematographer Grieg Fraser (who won an Oscar for the first "Dune" and also shot "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Batman") went IMAX all the way on this one.

What is Dune: Part Two rated?

When the first "Dune" was released in 2021, the film came along with a rating of PG-13. And the follow-up will follow that same path. Yep, "Dune: Part Two" is rated for "sequences of strong violence, some suggestive material, and brief strong language." The violence is to be expected, as Paul Atreides does battle with the House Harkonnen. And since "Part Two" is more of a love story — with plenty of sexual tension between Paul and Chani, as well as Margot Fenring and Feyd-Rautha — that's probably where the suggestive material comes into play.

Will there be a Dune: Part Three?

Here's the thing about Frank Herbert — the man wrote a lot. He penned six complete "Dune" novels during his lifetime, and even more of his work was published after his death. With that many books in his bibliography, there's a lot of material you could possibly adapt, especially since Denis Villeneuve's first two "Dune" movies are drawing from the original novel alone.

Fortunately for fans, it seems Villeneuve is very interested in a trilogy. Deadline reported in June 2023 that Villeneuve and screenwriter Jon Spaihts want to adapt Herbert's second "Dune" novel, "Dune Messiah." In August 2023, the director confirmed as much to Empire, saying, "If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream."

But what would the threequel be about exactly? Well, for those who don't know — spoiler alert — Herbert's "Dune" ends with Paul becoming the new emperor, and in "Dune Messiah," his reign has unleashed holy war upon the galaxy. Talking with The Playlist in 2022, screenwriter Jon Spaihts elaborated on all this, saying, "'Dune Messiah' is a very interesting book, which in some ways deconstructs 'Dune' and plays as a cautionary tale, even more than 'Dune' does, about the dangers of blending religion and politics, the hazards of following charismatic leaders, and the dangerous struggle that's always alive between the individual and institutions." 

Spaihts also explained that while "Part Two" will feel like a satisfactory finale, there will be a few elements in the movie hinting at "Part Three." Getting us even more excited, Hollywood insider Jeff Sneider reported that he'd heard "Dune Part Three" had already been given the go-ahead, and it's possible we'll see it in 2027. So if the sequel leaves you wanting more Arrakis, don't worry — we'll very possibly see Paul's story play out in even grander fashion in the future.

Where to watch Dune

Trust us — if you haven't seen "Dune," it's one of the very best movies of 2021. Also, if you have any desire to watch the sequel, you'll definitely need to go back and check out the first installment in the series. "Dune: Part Two" will pick up immediately after the first film, and a whole lot went down in that 2021 movie. 

Of course, maybe you've already visited the spicy world of Arrakis, and you can't get enough of Hans Zimmer's killer score, Rebecca Ferguson's incredible portrayal of Lady Jessica, or Oscar Isaac's glorious beard. Either way, if you're looking for the film. we can send you in the right direction. If you feel like streaming "Dune," the Denis Villeneuve movie is available on Netflix and Max (formerly known as HBO Max). If you'd rather rent the feature film, it's available on Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

Of course, if you want to dig even further into the history of "Dune," you might want to try out David Lynch's 1984 effort. Unfortunately, Lynch's version tries to cram everything into one movie, and the result is very, very messy. Of course, the film's set design is amazing, and the cast is impressively eclectic, with names like Kyle MacLaughlin, Patrick Stewart, Brad Dourif, and Virginia Madsen. Plus, where else can you see a red-haired Sting jumping around like a madman while waggling a knife and screaming at the top of his lungs?

If that sounds up your alley, you can stream the original "Dune" adaptation on Max or rent it on Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.