Anticipation is the mind killer! The epic conclusion of Dunes arrives on November 3, 2023, the date on which Dune: part two hits theaters. And thanks to the film’s first big trailer, we finally have a glimpse of how Denis Villeneuve’s epic will complement the story of the first. Dunes novel. Besides that sandworm and some timeline questions, the biggest news here is easily the three very important new characters, who are making their first appearances in Dune: part two.
We are talking about Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), Lady Margot (Léa Seydoux) and Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler). Here’s who each of these characters is in the context of Dunesand how each character will shake up the film version, Dune: part two. Sweet book spoilers ahead.
Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan
Sometimes considered a quasi-narrator of the first Dunes novel, Princess Irulan is the eventual legal wife of Paul Atreides After he takes over the entire universe at the end of the first book. In the novel, his future status is alluded to throughout the book simply because his epigraphs on the future history of Muad’Dib frame several chapters. In 2021 Dune: part oneIrulan does not appear, although Paul mentions that the Emperor “has daughters” when he tells Liet-Kynes that he has bigger plans than simply recapturing Arrakis.
In the new trailer, much of the narrative focus is presented by Irulan, which, again, is in keeping with the loose narrative framework of the first novel. In fact, we even see Irulan registration his reflections on the story of Paul Atreides, which in the distant future will be his legacy.
Of all the characters in Dunes, Irulan is the only one who is truly a successful writer and historian. Without it, history simply doesn’t exist, at least not the way we think about it and read it.
After the first book, and in the larger Dunes saga, Irulan is, in some ways, more essential than it first appears. By Children of Dune, his power and place in the rule of the galaxy extends far beyond the story of Paul Atriedes. No book spoilers here, but let’s just say if there’s a new movie or TV adaptation of the second and third Dunes novels – dune messiah And Children of Dune – then Florence Pugh would have a lot to do!
Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot
In the trailer for Dune: part two, Lady Margot’s role already seems larger than it was in the novel. Denis Villeneuve described her as a “secret agent”, and that’s because, in the book, Lady Margot is a Bene Gesserit with a secret mission. Technically, this mission is to get pregnant with Feyd, and thus create a possible backup super-baby. In Frank Herbert’s books, this plotline never really goes anywhere and serves mainly to demonstrate how many schemes take place outside of the action on Arrakis. In the new trailer, we see Margot getting closer to Feyd, so it’s possible what happens in the book will happen in the movie.
Léa Seydoux is the first person to play the character of Lady Margot since no other adaptation has ever included her. In the book, Margot is married to Count Fenring, another scheming politician, who is nominally aligned with Emperor Shaddam IV. But, right now, some fans are theorizing that Count Fenring’s role could be eliminated entirely. This would mean the role of Tim Blake Nelson (who is not revealed in the trailer) would be someone other than Count Fenring. Which, if true, would mean that Lady Margot’s role would be even more important in the absence of her stuttering husband.
Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha
The biggest revelation of Dune: part two The trailer is perhaps our first look at Paul’s ultimate nemesis, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. He is the nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), and like that character, and his brother, Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), he is bald. Previous Dunes the movies have made all the redheads of the Harkonnens. Now they are all bald.
The trailer doesn’t give us much of Feyd as a character per se, but rather, more idea from him. We know he’s a brutal and sadistic fighter, which we see mentioned several times in the trailer. The final knife fight between him and Paul Atreides (who ends the first book) is part of a tradition called “Kanly”, in which two houses are officially at war with each other; in this case, House Atreides and House Harkonnen. Basically, Paul and Feyd have to fight to the death for the story to actually end.
In the trailer, the most striking thing about Butler’s take on Feyd is the fact that he’s been seen in black and white multiple times. Tellingly, Lady Margot is also at one point. Could this be a flashback to the first time we see Feyd in the novel? About two years pass in the last third of Dunes, and so, it seems very likely that the passage of time will have to be addressed, one way or another. Fans therefore believe that the black-and-white style of these scenes is all about the unique atmosphere of Harkonnen’s homeworld, Giedi Prime – potentially showing the world through an infrared lens.
Denis Villeneuve compared this version of Feyd to “Mick Jagger”, which is telling as Jagger was the first actor considered to play Feyd in Jodorowsky’s ill-fated 1970s version. Dunes. That’s not to say the new Feyd will be unfaithful to the book. But it looks like it will be as intense as it looks.
Either way, whether he’s in flashback, black and white, color, or wielding a knife with Jagger-like moves, Austin Butler’s Feyd could top Sting’s memorable performance in David Lynch’s 1984 version of Dunes. Every breath he takes, we watch him.
Dune: part two in theaters November 3, 2023.
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