Dune 2 Trailer Breakdown: Feyd-Rautha, Princess Irulan, Lady Margot and Giedi Prime
Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya are back on planet Arrakis in Dune: Part Two, and if it’s possible Denis Villeneuve’s vision is more epic than before.
When director Denis Villeneuve and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that they were breaking Frank Herbert’s massive science fiction classic, Dune, into two films, fans with long memories approved. But then who could really forget what happened when David Lynch attempted to smoosh the story into two hours back in 1984? Nonetheless, those same fans felt a pang of anxiety when it was revealed that unlike how Peter Jackson adapted The Lord of the Rings, Villeneuve would be filming Dune: Part One and Dune: Part Two separately. In other words, to see the climax of Herbert’s epic vision, where the mighty Shai-Hulud sandworms went to war and empires bled, we’d need to wait on the box office of Part One—and at least several years for Dune: Part Two.
Let those who lacked faith be struck down by the Kwisatz Haderach, because Dune: Part Two really and truly is almost here, and we now have the first trailer to prove it. Filled with stunning sights of gladiatorial arenas on planet Giedi Prime and the palaces of planet Kaitain, Villeneuve is opening up Herbert’s vision of a universe ruled by the Imperium in Dune: Part Two. If you’ve not watched the trailer yet, give it a look below:
Now that you’re all caught up, we have broken down the most intriguing character reveals and plot teases for what lies in wait across the sands of Arrakis…
Florence Pugh’s Princess Irulan Sees All
One of the most intriguing developments at the top of the Dune: Part Two trailer is our introduction to Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, the prized daughter of Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino (who will be played by Christopher Walken, although he doesn’t seem to be in the trailer). From the royal libraries of the center of Imperium power, planet Kaitain, Irulan muses, “In the shadows of Arrakis lie many secrets, but the darkest of them all may remain… what if Paul Atreides was still alive?”
This is a signal that Irulan and her father will be much more active characters in Dune: Part Two than they are in the book. It also might suggest a new framing device. When we had our first glimpse of Dune: Part One two years ago, one of the most immediately striking elements was Villeneuve removed Herbert’s framing device wherein Irulan chronicled the life and times of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet)—albeit from a distance, suggesting this story happened many years in the past. Instead of focusing on the colonizers, however, Villeneuve began Dune from the point-of-view of the colonized via Chani (Zendaya) narrating the Fremen’s sense of oppression on the desert planet of Arrakis. It seems Part Two might return to the novel’s framing device, and the academic obsession Irulan has with Paul Atreides.
The first movie teased her already when Paul mused to Dr. Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) that he could subdue House Harkonnen’s attack on his family by marrying the emperor’s daughter. It was a cheeky suggestion (especially since the emperor was complicit in the attack) and it obviously did not happen. Still, these two seem destined to meet as teased in this trailer by Irulan’s interest in the secrets of Arrakis. These are secrets she might become intimately familiar with before the movie ends.
Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, the Future of House Harkonnen
Here is the one that a lot of folks have been waiting for: What would Elvis Presley look like if he was raised by the most demonic feudal system in the universe? It’s a bold creative choice, too, by Villeneuve to have Austin Butler’s Feyd-Rautha Rabban of House Harkonnen appear as a bald, vampiric prince of darkness.
Feyd-Rautha is the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and the apple of his eye. In the last film, we met the Baron and Feyd’s older brother, Glossu “the Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista), the latter of whom the Baron has situated to replace the dead Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) as ruler of House Arrakis. However, that is merely a stopgap to give the Fremen a tyrant to loathe. The Baron is really grooming (in more ways than one) young Feyd to be both his successor as Baron, as well as the ostensible king of Arrakis.
The trailer likewise hints at just how decadent House Harkonnen has become on their homeworld of Giedi Prime. As with the novel, one of Feyd’s early scenes shall at last visualize the gladiatorial arenas where Feyd gets his jollies fighting prisoners to the death before a cheering crowd (like the Roman Emperor Commodus). Yet lest you think this is a fair fight, know that his enemies are discreetly wounded and roughed up before the fights… and that many of them at this point are prisoners-of-war who served House Atreides before the attack on Dune.
Feyd-Rautha is Paul Atreides’ doppelgänger: a young, handsome, and popular man of the people who just happened to be raised in the most malicious and incestuous family within the Imperium. These two have got to meet!
Léa Seydoux’s Lady Margot Fenring Pulls the Strings
The extended, knotty feudal system of Dune expands further with our first introduction to Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring. Like Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Lady Margot is a Bene Gesserit trained in their dark arts to be a companion to nobility. Unlike Lady Jessica, Margot actually was able to marry her lord, Count Fenring, who was the failed governor of Arrakis at one time before Duke Leto Atreides was “gifted” the desert planet.
Villeneuve’s first film left out a plot detail wherein Lady Margot left a coded warning to Lady Jessica to search for a traitor within her midst on Dune. However, Margot appears to have a much bigger role than even what’s on the written page in Dune: Part Two. In both film and novel, she is sent to Giedi Prime to seduce Feyd-Rautha so that the Bene Gesserit can obtain his DNA for their breeding program. It appears we will see how successful Lady Margot is at the mission, judging by the trailer (image below).
She also appears to play a larger role on Arrakis. Could she be assuming a more active role in the Bene Gesserit’s judgments of Jessica? And speaking of Jessica….
What Is Going on with Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica?
One of the most provocative images in the trailer is of Rebecca Ferguson’s face covered in tattoos of vaguely Arabic-inspired text. She also now has spice-tinged eyes. If you don’t want to be spoiled, skip onto the next section, but if you’d like an explanation of what this means…
In Dune: Part Two, Lady Jessica’s Bene Gesserit training becomes both her greatest advantage and most terrible curse. As teased in Part One, the inhabitants of Arrakis were conditioned by stories of prophecies to anticipate a messiah that roughly matches Paul’s description. That is because a Bene Gesserit was sent to Arrakis thousands of years ago (as they were to many vital planets) to implant this false religion through stories of prophecy.
However, this ancient and long gone Bene Gesserit also bastardized her own teachings by becoming an unauthorized Reverend Mother to the Fremen. Technically, there is supposed to be only one Reverend Mother in the universe at a time, and we already met this generation’s sanctioned mother supreme, Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling).
But upon being assimilated into the Fremen culture, Lady Jessica learns she is expected to assume the roles of the Fremen’s Reverend Mother, who pass down their genetic memories from one generation to the next by drinking the poisonous Water of Life (image below).
This is essentially a body fluid extracted from dying sandworms. After drinking it, Lady Jessica endures a psychedelic reckoning with the Fremen’s past, the full implications of which we will not get into here. But afterward, she has fully entrenched herself in Fremen ideology and culture, and is herself a Reverend Mother equal in power to that of her teacher, the Reverend Mother Mohiam.
Paul Atreides, the Messiah
When Frank Herbert first began developing the novel Dune, his original vision of Paul Atreides looked much more like a one-to-one appropriation of T.E. Lawrence, the British officer who took on an almost religious fervor while participating in the Arab Revolt during World War I. Some would say Lawrence also had a messianic complex. Through years of revision and reworking the story though, that became more literal for Herbert, who decided to explore the phenomenon of enduring world religions springing from the desert by way of Paul Atreides.
We get a hint of this in the trailer, which is centered around the first time Paul ever rides a giant sandworm. In fact, judging by the trailer it will be a much more epic moment than even in the book where despite Paul having an increasingly important role among the Fremen (I even imagined him having his own messianic beard while reading it), being able to call and commandeer a Shai-Hulud is considered child’s play to the Fremen.
Paul finally doing it is treated more as him completing a formality than a moment of religious awe. Either way, inch by inch Paul has a profound effect on this society and reaches the point where he is commanding it almost like a cult leader, as gleaned in the above image.
Christopher Walken’s Emperor Shaddam IV on Arrakis
Once again, if you don’t want too many major plot points spoiled, I’d advise skipping this section.
… Still here? Cool, because the trailer also teases a climax book fans have been waiting to see adapted in all its full glory (apologies to fans of Lynch’s ’84 film). At the end of Dune, Emperor Shaddam IV and the entire imperial court journeys to Arrakis for a war they mistakenly believe will be a skirmish. Instead it decides the fate of trillions.
I believe this is teased by the shot of a vast number of ornithopters on Dune. They appear to be headed for a giant mountain that I believe is the Shield Wall outside the capital city of Arrakeen. The natural, geological wonder is what protects a portion of the planet from coriolis storms and sandworms (hence where they built a city). And it’s also the site of where the battle to decide the fate of Arrakis begins.
We also have a hint of how it ends in the below photo when two silhouetted men meet before a sunset, each with a crystknife in hand. This is Paul and Feyd, and their duel will decide whether House Atreides has a future.
Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Dune: Part Two opens in theaters on Nov. 3.