Recapping the Dune saga so far ahead of Dune: Part Two's release in March

Our Sci-Fi Season screening of Dune this February is the perfect primer for Dune: Part Two. Return to Arrakis and bask in director Denis Villeneuve's extraordinary vision of a future riven with dynastic conflict and messianic potential.

Dune is the first instalment in Villeneuve's epic two-part Frank Herbert adaptation. The movie fills the screen with wondrous sights and sounds and is screening at Cineworld in both immersive IMAX and multi-sensory 4DX. Plus, it's accompanied by a 10-minute preview of the feverishly anticipated Dune: Part Two – who could ask for more?

Whether you've seen Dune once, twice or 10 times, the lore is complex, and you may need a refresher on the saga so far. Scroll down and bring yourself up to speed.


Introducing Arrakis

  • In the distant future, the desert planet Arrakis is the only known source of the valuable Spice Melange
  • The spice is mined on Arrakis and coveted by the Spacing Guild for its psychotropic abilities 
  • Spice is key to interstellar travel, allowing Spacing Guild Navigators the ability to guide starships to traverse space instantaneously and safely
  • House Harkonnen is the current steward of Arrakis and is engaged in a bitter war with the indigenous Fremen over the spice reserves
  • Fremen warrior Chani (Zendaya) has borne witness to the Harkonnens' cruelty against her people

Introducing House Atreides

  • Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is heir presumptive to House Atreides, which is currently ruled by his father Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac)
  • Paul is haunted by visions and dreams of a mystery girl, subsequently revealed to be Chani
  • House Atreides occupies the temperate, watery climate of the planet Caladan
  • Paul's mother is Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), a seer, Duke Leto's concubine and member of the secretive, all-female Bene Gesserit sect
  • House Atreides has been summoned by Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino (unseen in this movie) to take up stewardship of Arrakis
  • Duke Leto suspects a trap but must follow through with his duty

Introducing the Bene Gesserit and the 'kwisatz haderach'

  • The Bene Gesserit are ruled over by the Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling), truth sayer to the Emperor
  • The Bene Gesserit has been engaging with a centuries-long breeding program to bring about the 'kwisatz haderach', a messianic superbeing with the power to unite the known universe
  • Mother Mohiam tests Paul's preternatural awareness via the gom jabbar test, in the process discovering that Paul is more than he seems
  • Mother Mohiam suspects that Paul is the 'kwisatz haderach' and is enraged with Lady Jessica for producing a male heir

Introducing House Harkonnen

  • House Harkonnen, home world Giedi Prime, is ruled over by the cruel and gluttonous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) who moves around via floating 'suspensors'
  • In league with the Emperor, who fears the influence of House Atreides, the Baron has made a deal to betray Duke Leto and his family once they arrive on Arrakis
  • The Baron plans to achieve this with the help of the Emperor's elite death squad known as the 'Sardaukar'
  • The Harkonnens will then resume their stewardship and spice harvesting with the Baron's brutish nephew Glossu 'Beast' Rabban (Dave Bautista) supervising the operation on the ground

Arrival on Arrakis, spice harvesting and the worms

  • Duke Leto, Paul, Lady Jessica and their entourage arrive on Arrakis and take up residency in the walled city of Arrakeen
  • They are introduced to scientist and Justice of the Peace Dr. Liet-Kynes (Sharon Duncan Brewster) who has extensive familiarity of Fremen rituals
  • The Fremen are distinguished by their vivid blue eyes, which come about from excessive spice ingestion
  • They also wear 'stillsuits' that replenish the body's water supply amid the deadly Arrakis heat
  • The Fremen have developed a special 'sand walk' that allows them to cross the desert without attracting the attention of the worms
  • Liet-Kynes introduces Leto to the practical realities of spice harvesting, including the rampaging Arrakis sandworms that grow to several hundred metres long
  • The worms are both feared and worshipped by the Fremen and referred to as 'Shai-Hulud' (translated as 'Old Man of the Desert')

House Harkonnen betrays House Atreides

  • Following a failed assassination attempt on Paul's life, House Atreides is betrayed from within by Dr Wellington Yueh (Chang Chen)
  • Baron Harkonnen has coerced Dr Yueh in exchange for his wife's life; however, Yueh slips a poison capsule to Duke Leto while he is incapacitated 
  • When Baron Harkonnen later taunts Duke Leto, the latter bites into the capsule, killing the Baron's retinue and severely injuring his nemesis in the process
  • Paul's new weapons master Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) leads the Atreides forces in an assault against the Harkonnens and the Sardaukar, and is presumed dead
  • Paul and Lady Jessica are flown into the desert where it is presumed that the brutal environment will kill them in a matter of hours
  • However, Paul demonstrates crude mastery of 'the voice', a Bene Gesserit ability to bend an individual to one's will, and both he and Lady Jessica escape

Paul Atreides, Lady Jessica and the Fremen

  • Paul and Lady Jessica reunite with House Atreides warrior, and Paul's former weapons master, Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa)
  • Duncan was part of the advance party to Arrakis and has been studying the Fremen carefully, including the location of their secretive 'sietchs' (hiding places located amid rocky outcrops away from the worms)
  • Duncan is later killed by the Sardaukar, forcing Paul and Lady Jessica to flee into a Coriolis storm; both he and his mother survive when Paul learns to subconsciously flow with the elements, causing them to successfully crash-land their ornithopter ('thopter') craft
  • After escaping the worms, Paul and Lady Jessica find their way to the sietch named Tabr of Fremen tribal leader Stilgar (Javier Bardem) with whom Duke Leto had earlier tried to broker a truce
  • It's there that Paul discovers Chani is the woman he has been seeing in his dreams, and he senses that a 'way' is being laid out for him
  • In a trial of ritual combat, Paul defeats Fremen fighter Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun) and he and his mother are accepted into Sietch Tabr)
  • Paul then vows to lead the Fremen against the Harkonnens, promising to realise his destiny as the 'mahdi' (chosen one) for whom the Fremen have been waiting

Are you ready to return to Arrakis in Dune: Part Two? Click the link below to book your tickets for the movie, which arrives on March 1st.