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Zendaya’s Character Plays a Much Larger Role in Dune: Part II and Messiah


Summary

  • Zendaya’s character, Chani, will play an important role in both
    Dune
    sequels, despite limited screen time in the 2021 film.
  • Director Denis Villeneuve expands Chani’s character in the big-screen adaptation to align with the original novel’s intentions.
  • Fan-first IMAX screenings of
    Dune: Part Two
    will hit theaters on Sunday, February 25.



Denis Villeneuve didn’t have any intention of benching Zendaya. As it turns out, the character of Chani (Zendaya) doesn’t have as large a role in the second half of author Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel, Dune. This is not the case in Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two. Expanding Chani’s role in Part Two will undoubtedly spill over into the future sequel, Dune Messiah. And just as Herbert’s Dune novels intended and eventually did, the film adaptations will reveal that there is more tragedy than triumph at the heart of these compelling stories. Villeneuve said in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly:

With humility, I hope that this adaptation is closer to Frank Herbert’s original intentions. I used Chani’s character to do so. I gave her a different agenda, and used her to bring a different perspective to the story.


Villeneuve also told EW:

“In the second part of the book, Chani and Lady Jessica are a bit more in the background — which I didn’t like, because I am absolutely in love with both characters. I felt it was more meaningful to give them more substance and presence, their own agendas.”

While Zendaya’s screen time in 2021’s Dune was quite limited, the actress receives practically as much to do in the film as the main character, Paul Atreides, who is portrayed by Timothée Chalamet. The sequel follows the 15-year-old character’s rise from heir to the House Atreides to Muad’dib. However, unlike the source material, fans can expect Zendaya’s Chani standing by Paul’s side much more than in the book, as their love story unfolds.



The Chosen One

Warner Bros.

In addition to being flanked on-screen by Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet had the luxury of working with Florence Pugh and Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two. For those who have read the novel — no spoilers here — both Pugh’s character Princess Irulan and Butler’s Feyd-Rautha play integral roles thanks to the bladed duel teased in the trailers between Paul and acclaimed gladiator Feyd-Rautha. Chalamet said of working with these three actors in the same interview:

“They’re superpower actors. They know instinctively how to exist in a movie of this size and really bring a strong presence, while also keeping the naturalism alive and believable. That’s something I feel like I achieved more on this one, where on the first one it was a new skill set for me.”


Related

Dune: Part Two Director Responds to AMC Theatre’s Infamous Sandworm Popcorn Bucket

AMC Theatres infamous Dune: Part Two popcorn bucket gets hilarious response from Denis Villeneuve

Early reviews from the critics praise the sci-fi sequel, and Dune: Part Two boasts a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97% against 145 reviews, at the time of this writing. And on Sunday, February 25, special IMAX fan-first screenings will be held at theaters across the country. Visit Fandango’s official website to find nearby locations and showtimes.

Dune: Part Two
opens exclusively in theaters on March 1. And fans can whet their appetites by checking out a special featurette, which shows Austin Butler’s bewildering transformation into the “psychotic” Feyd-Rautha below:




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