Dune: Part Two Cast Discuss The Evolutions Of Their Characters

The most anticipated sequel of 2024 is almost with us.

Dune: Part Two has already earned comparisons to The Two Towers in the scope of its battle sequences, with many going as far to say it belongs next to The Empire Strikes Back in the sci-fi sequel pantheon. That sets expectations dauntingly high – but we trust in director Denis Villeneuve and the starriest cast alive to make lightning strike twice, after their beloved first Arrakis adventure made adapting the infamously unadaptable source material feel effortless.

Ahead of the release, we got a chance to hear from Villeneuve and his star-studded ensemble at a recent press conference ahead of the London World Premiere, where they re-introduced us to this world and their characters’ place within it, and outlined how Part Two expands upon the first.

“I never left Arrakis”

“When Part One was finished, we wanted to bring this into the world as quickly as possible; it’s a second part, and not a sequel. My big ambition was that last time, I had the chance to create this world, but this time, I had a second chance to make something even better by revisiting it” – Denis Villeneuve on how the film came together.

“Paul has a continuous growth”

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“In the first film, we see that Paul is a privileged young man; the son of a Duke, literally sheltered behind royal walls. But over the course of his journey in that movie, and the personal tragedy he faces, he starts growing from that.

“In this film, Paul Atreides is becoming the man he was always destined to be, and in ways he doesn’t want to be, whilst overcoming his fear for love and where his place lies with the Fremen. The first movie was just laying the foundation for this” – Timothée Chalamet on Paul’s character arc across the two movies.

“She’s got such a fire inside her”

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“I love Chani because she’s got such a fire and such a passion inside of her. We know that strength manifests in different ways, and hers is through her heart; everything she does is motivated by a fierce protection of the people she loves and cares about.

“What’s interesting about this is that she doesn’t believe in Paul in the way everyone else does. It’s difficult for her to open up to the concept of loving him, she can’t conceive that she could allow into her life the pain that he represents.

“The emotions are heavier and mean more, because of how difficult it is for her to allow herself to believe in him. Not as a Messiah, or a prophecy, but as a person” – Zendaya on the emotions that define Chani’s journey.

“I’ve never played anybody like this before”

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“There’s so much noise elsewhere in the movie – be it vocal passion or love, or just volume – coming from some of the most powerful people in this world, that I thought it would be interesting to have someone who is the complete flip of that amongst them. Somone who is calm, thoughtful and completely still.

“In that change of demeanour alone, it shows such a difference in riches and upbringing, and I loved the idea of being able to play with that calmness. I’ve never played anybody like this before; I’m used to playing opinionated, bolshy women, and it was a pivot to represent someone like this, even if they are equally as powerful” – Florence Pugh on the unique nature of Princess Irulan.

“He feels like he’s lost everybody, and in his mind, he has”

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“The first part is an introduction, where Gurney taught Paul about the resilience and resourcefulness he’d need for survival. When you pick up with him here, and they’re reunited, there’s an incredible joy to be found.

“He feels like he’s lost everybody, and in his mind he had, but there’s a light that’s reignited in him when he sees Paul again and realises he’s survived. He sees him not just becoming a man and maturing, but surpassing anything he could have ever imagined, which he’s proud to support and witness.

“It’s like what I’ve experienced with Timothée, watching his trajectory from a 23-year-old to now” – Josh Brolin on Gurney’s evolution alongside Paul.

“She’s a fundamentalist… in a spiritual and loving way”

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“I can never answer whether a character I play is good or bad. I believe we’re all quite selfish human beings, and the thing I love about Lady Jessica is that she follows her belief to the point of being a fundamentalist, a word we’re scared of because there’s a connotation that means harming other people, but she’s a fundamentalist in a spiritual and loving way.

“She acts like she fully believes in what she’s created and nothing can get in the way of it – but whether that’s truthful, I don’t know, it’s all part of a grander picture” – Rebecca Ferguson on the moral slipperiness of Lady Jessica.

“It’s like playing chess”

Warner Bros

“This character is Paul’s shadow self – they’re both sides of the same coin in a way. The challenge was that to shadow darkness was so different from anything I’ve ever had to play, because it’s so different from myself and what I would allow myself to do.

“There’s something very powerful about playing someone who always thinks eight steps ahead, it’s like playing chess. He has such an intense vision for his beliefs, and he’s unwavering from those; it’s actually very empowering to play someone like that, even if we see them from outside, and how it can be less than joyful” – Austin Butler on the similarities between Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen and Paul Atreides

Dune: Part Two is released in UK cinemas on Friday, 1st March.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.