Dune 2: Casting Every Major New Character For The Sequel – Screen Rant

Dune 2 has some major roles to fill – if it gets the greenlight. Here’s who would be perfect for Princess Irulan, Alia Atreides, and more.
WARNING: Potential spoilers for Dune and Dune 2 based on the books.
If and when Dune 2 gets the green light, there will be a number of new characters to be cast in major roles for the Dune sequel.  Timothée Chalamet is set to star as Paul Atreides, heir to House Atreides and son of Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). When the Atreides are called to take stewardship over the planet Arakkis, also known as Dune, they are put directly in the crosshairs of a massive conspiracy that will see them in direct conflict with their mortal enemies, House Harkonnen, and the emperor himself, Shaddam IV.
The planet Dune is the only location of Spice Melange in the known universe, a coveted resource that allows for Space Folding (long-term intergalactic travel). The conflict over Spice will begin to play out in Villeneuve’s film, but the director is only adapting the first half of Herbert’s seminal novel, leaving much out for a potential sequel. Dune: Part 2 has yet to receive the greenlight from Warner Bros. and its release is contingent on a few factors, including how well the first movie does at the box office and how it performs on HBO Max while it streams one month after its release on October 22.
Related: How The Success of Dune’s Reboot Will Be Decided By One Side Character
Even with a sequel still up in the air, it’s worth noting that there are several major characters that would need to be cast for Dune 2. One of those is the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, whose presence will presumably loom large over the first film even though he’s not appearing. Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter, will also feature in the second film. A new member of the Atreides family will also become a prominent figure in a potential sequel, as Lady Jessica gives birth to Paul’s sister, Alia, in the second half of Herbet’s novel. Lastly, Feyd-Rautha, a member of House Harkonnen, will be introduced as a new antagonist for Paul to take on. Here’s everyone we think could be cast in Dune 2.
Princess Irulan is a key character in Herbert’s universe. At the end of Dune, Paul ends up defeating Irulan’s father and becoming the Emperor of the known universe himself with the caveat that he must marry Irulan to ensure his rule is not threatened. Irulan also serves as a narrator of sorts, chronicling Paul Atreides’ life and becoming a historian of his galaxy-altering reign. Irulan was previously played by Virginia Madsen in David Lynch’s Dune after Helena Bonham Carter dropped out of the role. She was also played by Julie Cox in the 2000 and 2003 Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) adaptations.
With Irulan taking on a prominent role in the second half of Dune and its sequels, Villeneuve will want to cast a formidable actress opposite Chalamet and Zendaya, who plays Paul’s Fremen lover Chani. Anya Taylor-Joy is the first actress that comes to mind for the role of Irulan. As one of the most exciting young actresses working today, Taylor-Joy has proven time and time again that she can deliver a layered and engaging performance in any project. From showing off her action chops in the maligned New Mutants to her critically acclaimed turn in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, Taylor-Joy could make for the perfect Irulan.
Still, there’s one actress who could possibly make an even better Irulan. Hunter Schafer’s credits may be limited, having only starred in HBO’s Euphoria, but it’s clear that she, too, has what it takes to craft a well-rounded and complex character with her turn as Jules. It would also reunite her with Euphoria co-star Zendaya, bringing a new dynamic to the pair that is rooted more in conflict than romantic entanglement. Seeing Schafer spread her wings in a blockbuster franchise like Dune could also give the fledgling actress the perfect opportunity to launch what already looks to be a promising career.
Related: Why Dune Was Always Destined To Be A Divisive Movie
While the Padishah Emperor, ruler of the known universe, isn’t a major character appearance-wise, his presence is felt throughout the novels. Threatened by the Atreides’ power, he sets in motion the conspiracy that ends up destroying Paul’s family and leading Timothée Chalamet’s character down the path to being a messiah of sorts. As Irulan’s father, he also becomes inextricably linked to Paul after he marries Irulan. The Emperor is also heavily involved in the climax of Herbert’s novel, making the role an integral part of Dune 2.
While previous adaptations have aged up the Emperor considerably, the character actually appears much younger than he has onscreen. Seeing as he has a regal, but threatening presence, both Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba seem like perfect actors to take on the role. Fassbender certainly has shown an air of evil superiority in roles like Magneto in the X-Men films and Alien prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Similarly, Elba has shown off his ability to play a hardened villain after starring as Bloodsport in this year’s The Suicide Squad. As the role of the Emperor doesn’t require too much of a time commitment, it shouldn’t be difficult to get either actor to pop in and film a few scenes for what could be an epic conclusion to Villeneuve’s two-parter.
Feyd-Rautha is another member of House Harkonnen, nephew of Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Vladimir and the person whom the Baron wants to take over Arakkis when the Harkonnens destroy House Atreides, which may or may not happen at the end of the 2021 Dune movie adaptation. The climax of Herbert’s novel sees Paul and Feyd face off in a deadly and brutal duel, one that decides the fate of the planet. Feyd was previously played by Sting in Lynch’s 1984 adaptation, while Alejandro Jodorowsky nearly cast Mick Jagger in his failed adaptation that was in the works in the 70s.
One musician turned actor that immediately comes to mind for the role of Feyd is former One Direction-er Harry Styles. Although his credits are slim – having only starred in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk – the pop star will appear in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling in 2022 and is currently filming My Policeman opposite The Crown breakout Emma Corrin. Styles’ casting would certainly continue the tradition of casting musicians in the role, but there’s one actor who may be an even better fit.
Related: How Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Could Kickstart The Next Big Sci-Fi Franchise
As another option, Elliot Page in the role of Feyd would give the actor the perfect chance to flex his villainous muscles. Page currently stars in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, but he has proven to have a sinister side to his acting after starring in indie film Hard Candy as a teenager who torments a predator played by Patrick Wilson. Like the Emperor, the role of Feyd is brief, and getting an actor like Page or Styles in the role would not only bolster the star power of the potential sequel, but it could also make for an exciting final battle between Chalamet and a truly interesting actor.
Alia Atreides may be the most difficult role to cast in Dune 2. Born in the second half of the novel, Alia comes out of the womb with prescient abilities after Lady Jessica drinks the Water of Life (the bile of a young sandworm) while she is pregnant with Alia. Not only is she born with abilities similar to Paul’s, but she becomes a major character in the second half of Dune and the following books. Still, Alia is practically an infant during the events of Dune though she later goes on to kill Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and help Paul take back the planet of Arakkis.
Villeneuve and co. will likely age Alia up for the sequel, but how much remains to be seen. If they want to keep Alia relatively young, it’s possible that they could cast Brooklynn Prince in the role. Prince is currently 11 years old and she garnered acclaim for her turn in The Florida Project when she was just 7, proving that she certainly has the ability to carry the weight of a hefty role like Alia. If Villeneuve decides to go a little older there are considerably more options, though.
Mckenna Grace, who recently starred in James Wan’s Malignant and The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, is 15 years old, but aging Alia up to a young pre-teen can be explained away in the film quite easily after Dune. Similarly, Mackenzie Foy, who is currently 20, could convincingly play a young teen. Considering that Alia will likely find herself in the center of much of the action in Dune 2, it would make a lot of sense for her to be a little bit older than her book counterpart.
More: Dune’s Sequel Chances Show How Important Streaming Is Now
Graeme Guttmann is a news writer and editor for Screen Rant. With a love for all things pop culture, he watches just about everything from the biggest blockbusters to reality shows like Real Housewives and Love Island. He currently resides in Boston, MA where he is an MFA candidate at Emerson College for creative writing. You can follow him on Twitter @cryptograeme for pop culture commentary and random musings about pop music and just about anything else.


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