Dune: Part One has proven to be a spectacular success, and Dune: Part Two is now on the way. Director Denis Villeneuve now has the responsibility of adapting the second half of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, which is packed with all kinds of esoteric mysticism.
We can't wait to see how the ambitious and accomplished Villeneuve will bring this particular saga to a close. There are also several important book characters who didn't appear in Dune: Part One, but whose presence is necessary to resolve the narrative of Dune: Part Two.
Here are those characters and the actors we propose should play them.
1. Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV
Proposed actor Mads Mikkelsen
Referred to in Dune: Part One, but never seen, the Padishah Emperor, ruler of the Imperium, wields a lot of power in the Dune universe. Or, at the very least, he appears to – in reality, Shaddam Corrino IV is being steered by the machinations of the Bene Gesserit. Nevertheless, he was responsible for sending House Atreides to its doom on Arrakis, spurred on by his jealousy over the influence of Duke Leto's (Oscar Isaac) family. We, therefore, need an actor who can be a mixture of conniving, commanding and somewhat pathetic, a contradictory mixture to be sure. We plump for Mads Mikkelsen, off the back of his creepy yet ultimately powerless villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, not to mention his compelling performances in the likes of The Hunt and Another Round, where he commands the attention with the slightest of gestures.
2. Feyd Rautha
Proposed actor Taron Egerton
Feyd Rautha is one of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen's (Stellan Skarsgard) nephews, the other being Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista). In Dune: Part Two, the Baron's twisted manipulation of House Harkonnen fuels the advance of the story, as the devious Feyd is both tempted with power, and set up as a stooge by his evil uncle. It's all part of the Baron's plan to restore spice production under his own house, which has stalled thanks to the disruptive efforts of Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet) and the Fremen. Feyd is a character requiring a performer who is youthful yet muscular, someone who can convincingly go toe-to-toe with Chalamet in the ultimate showdown. On the basis of his Instagram page, we reckon Taron Egerton could bring the muscle – and we already know he has the acting chops as evinced by the likes of Rocketman.
3. Princess Irulan
Proposed actor Anya Taylor-Joy
The Padishah Emperor's daughter, Princess Irulan will likely only make a brief appearance in Dune: Part Two, should Denis Villeneuve remain faithful to the book. Her destiny becomes intertwined with that of Paul Atreides, and she becomes more significant in the next story, Dune: Messiah, which Villeneuve has already pledged to adapt. Anya Taylor-Joy has delivered a range of arresting performances that showcase a level of glamour and steely determination (The King's Gambit; Last Night in Soho), which surely makes her perfect for the role of Irulan. Plus, it's a great way of locking in a talented young actor for even more substantial appearances in future Dune movies.
Proposed actor Julia Butters
Talented young actor Julia Butters more than held her own against Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. She would appear to have the pluck and pizazz to portray Paul's preternaturally gifted sister Alia, born to Bene Gesserit member Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). That said, 12-year-old Butters may well be too old to play Alia – at the end of Frank Herbert's original Dune story, Alia is four, and with the 12-year jump onto the events of Dune: Messiah, she turns 16. Maybe Butters would be better suited to the role of Alia in that particular film, should Villeneuve get around to making it. As for who could play Alia in Dune: Part Two, we're open to suggestions – it's a tricky role to cast.
5. Count Fenring
Proposed actor Benicio Del Toro
Count Fenring is a complex character with a lot of backstory, and requires an actor who can embody these murky depths. The ever-ambiguous Benicio del Toro, who worked with Villeneuve to sublime effect on 2015's Sicario, has the perfect malevolent, mysterious aura to do justice to the character. Fenring is an assassin, Mentat, advisor to Emperor Shaddam IV, a eunuch and a failed 'kwisatz haderach', the very superbeing into which Paul Atreides is transforming. The unreadable Del Toro would be perfect for assaying a character whose many specialties exist in the shadows.
Can't wait to take another trip to Arrakis? Click here to book your tickets for Dune: Part One and don't forget that Dune: Part Two is set for release on 20th October 2023.