A little less than two years ago, director Denis Villeneuve successfully astounded Dune fans around the world. Adapting the first half of author Frank Herbert’s beloved sci-fi novel, the movie brought the arid world of Arrakis to life in remarkable fashion, and it did so in a way that was incredibly faithful to the source material. Needless to say, we’ve been counting down the days since that film’s release waiting for the arrival of the sequel – and while said sequel is still a few months away from arriving in cinemas around the world, today we got an exceptionally special sneak peek at Dune: Part 2, and all signs point to us once again seeing a blockbuster that sticks close to the classic book that inspired it.
The annual Las Vegas convention for movie theater owners, CinemaCon, is in full swing this week, and this morning it was Warner Bros. turn to show off many of the exciting titles that the studio has on the way in the remaining months of 2023. This included a new trailer for The Flash, Ryan Gosling discussing his strange prep for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, and more, but arguably the most thrilling section of the presentation was the first ever footage from Dune: Part 2. The material was cut like a trailer, so the audience gathered in The Colosseum in Caesars Palace didn’t get to watch any full scenes, but the special preview did reveal that there are six key parts from the book that will be featured in the movie, and I’ve broken them down here.
Paul And Chani Grow Close
In Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Zendaya’s Chani had a relatively small part, mostly appearing in the context of being the girl of Paul Atreides’ dreams, but that’s changing in the sequel as she will have a much larger role to play. This is true to the books, as one of the key elements of Frank Herbert’s book is the growing bond and romance between Paul and Chani, and the CinemaCon 2023 footage provided an early look at what to expect. While not specifically adapting a scene from the book, the reel began with a scene of the two characters sitting together in the sand talking. Without specifically mentioning the planet, Paul tells her about his life on the water-rich world of Caladan – blowing her mind by telling her that there is so much of the stuff that you can dive into it, and it’s called “swimming.”
Princess Irulan Has A Narration Moment
One of the key characters from Dune that Denis Villeneuve opted to keep out of the first movie and save for the second is Princess Irulan, who is being portrayed in Dune: Part 2 by the exceptionally talented and popular Florence Pugh. Explaining exactly how she ends up fitting into the plot would be spoiler-y for those who haven’t read the book, but one interesting thing that the footage did was translate Irulan’s role as a kind of narrator for the story (in the book, chapters begin with excerpts from her writings). She wasn’t featured much in the CinemaCon 2023 material, but she does deliver an epic, myth-building line: “In the shadows of Arrakis lie many secrets, but the darkest of them all may remain: the end of House Atreides.”
Gurney Halleck Is Alive
In Dune, the fate of Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck is left undetermined, as he is last seen among many massive explosions during the Sardaukar invasion of House Atreides. That being said, fans of the book know that he manages to survive that incredible fight, and ends up reuniting with Paul and Lady Jessica while they are living with the Fremen. The Dune: Part 2 footage shown at CinemaCon didn’t exactly feature a lot of Gurney, but it did confirm his presence in the upcoming film with a single shot of his face where he looked quite pissed off and ready for revenge against House Harkonnen.
Paul Learns To Ride A Sandworm
As noted by Denis Villeneuve in his introduction to the footage, Dune: Part 2 is a war movie where the protagonists ignite a war against House Harkonnen following the fall of House Atreides – but before the epic gets to that point of the story, first Paul and Lady Jessica must ingratiate themselves among the Fremen (a process that we saw begin at the end of the first film). A massive part of this is Paul learning to ride Arrakis’ sandworms as the Fremen do, and the footage provided an excellent preview of this moment, with Paul setting a thumper to attract the massive beast, readying a pair of hooks, and nearly getting himself killed before successfully being able to set his feet and ride.
Lady Jessica Undergoes A Transformation
As far as character transformations are concerned, Paul’s is the big one in Dune as he takes on a leadership role among the Fremen (more on that in a bit), but Lady Jessica undergoes some major changes as well, and this important bit from the book seems to be included in Dune: Part 2. In the CinemaCon 2023 footage, there was a standout shot of Jessica throwing her head back and her eyes during a deep shade of blue, and while it can’t be confirmed based on the preview alone, it definitely appears that Jessica will experience the spice agony ritual that sees her become a Revered Mother of the Bene Gesserit.
Feyd-Rautha Looks Like A Lunatic
To be perfectly honest, there weren’t any moments in the Dune: Part 2 CinemaCon 2023 footage that specifically pointed to key scenes from the book featuring the villainous Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (played by Austin Butler), but he was prominently featured, and as such I feel compelled to write about him. All of the shots with the character were notably in high contrast black and white – a fascinating stylistic choice – and he appears to be bald and incredibly sinister a.k.a. he fits right in with the looks of his relatives (namely Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Harkonnen and Dave Bautista's Glossu "Beast" Rabban).
Paul Prepares To Lead The Fremen To War
In aligning themselves with the Fremen, Paul and Lady Jessica hope to lead the indigenous people of Arrakis in a fight against the villainous House Harkonnen and the treacherous Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV (played by Christopher Walken), and the first look at Dune: Part 2 provided a wonderful preview of where it’s all headed. The final shot from the footage featured Paul standing on a cliffside with his crysknife held up to his forehead with a vast army standing hundreds of feet below him in a canyon – everyone clearly ready for battle. And what a battle it should be.
With a stellar cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, and many more, Dune: Part 2 is easily one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the year, and it’s set to come out right in the heart of the fall – specifically on November 3. Be on the lookout for more of our coverage of the film and as well as all of the excitement that remains ahead at CinemaCon 2023, and preview all of the biggest titles set to come out in the coming weeks and months with our 2023 Movie Release Calendar.