Are you ready to return to sand-swept Arrakis? You will be upon viewing the first batch of images from Dune: Part Two. The second instalment of Denis Villeneuve's gargantuan sci-fi opus, adapted from Frank Herbert's classic novel, steps up the spectacle and the number of characters by importing several new A-listers into the mix.
Chief among them: Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan (whose retrospective testimonials are interspersed throughout Herbert's book) and recent Oscar nominee Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha. The former is the daughter of Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV (set to be played by the as-yet-unseen Christopher Walken). The latter is the fearsome nephew of the scheming Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) who is set to go head-to-head with our hero, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet).
All of the above are showcased in several handsome new shots along with returning faces Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Paul's mother and a member of the Bene Gesserit sect; the thought-to-be-dead Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), Paul's taciturn weapons master; and Chani (Zendaya), a member of the indigenous Arrakis Fremen whose escalating spiritual and physical connection with Paul (remember, he's seen her in his dreams) helps fuel this second instalment.
You can also make room for saga newcomer Lea Seydoux, playing Bene Gesserit member and the Emperor's confidante Lady Margot; Javier Bardem as Fremen leader Stilgar; and Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban, another of the Baron's nephews whose rivalry with Feyd Rautha complicates the internecine conflicts within House Harkonnen.
Centrally, Dune: Part Two pivots around Paul's ascendancy to the role of the prophesied Arrakis messiah. Accepted on one level as the fabled Freman 'Mahdi', the spiritual leader who will guide the oppressed indigenous peoples to freedom, Paul must also grapple with his implicit Bene Gesserit heritage.
As the first male-born member of the order, Paul's status as the 'kwisatz haderach' transcends the sun-scorched environment of Arrakis to determine the fate of the entire universe. Both Paul and Lady Jessica's fates are set to get even more dramatic with fans anticipating Villeneuve's staging of the pivotal 'Water of Life' sequence (we won't give anything else away). Oh, and there are a lot more sandworms in this instalment. A lot more.
At this year's Las Vegas CinemaCon, Villeneuve debuted the first trailer for the movie and subsequently described Dune: Part Two as "an action-packed, epic war movie". He added: "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."
“In the first movie, Paul is a student,” said Chalamet of his character, Paul Atreides. “We really see Paul Atrides become a leader … become a redeemer of the Fremen people in a sense.”
When it comes to the new villain Feyd Rautha, bald of pate and jacked in physique, he's viewed by Villeneuve as an "Olympic sword master crossed with a psychotic serial killer".
Evidently, there is still a tremendous amount of lore and character interplay to reconcile with before the Dune saga (at least this one based on the first book) reaches its spectacular conclusion. It remains to be seen if Villeneuve will remain with the saga to helm Dune: Messiah, although he's expressed enthusiasm for doing so.
Prepare to be awed when Dune: Part Two is released on November 3rd. Stay tuned for the all-important reveal of the trailer.