Long live the fighter! —

Christopher Walken is an evil emperor in latest trailer for Dune: Part 2

"He who can destroy a thing has the real control of it."

Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides is ready to fight in the new trailer for Dune: Part 2.

Warner Bros. has dropped a second eye-popping trailer for Dune: Part 2, the second part of Denis Villeneuve's visually stunning, ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel. Part 1, released in 2021, grossed over $400 million globally against a $165 million budget, earned critical acclaim (you can read the largely positive Ars review here), and snagged six Oscars. If this new trailer is any indication, Part 2 promises to be just as powerful.

As reported previously (also here and here), Herbert's novel Dune is set in the distant future and follows the fortunes of various noble houses in what amounts to a feudal interstellar society. Much of the action takes place on the planet Arrakis, where the economy is driven largely by a rare, life-extending drug called melange ("the spice"). Melange also conveys a kind of prescience and makes faster-than-light travel practical. There's betrayal, a prophecy concerning a messianic figure, giant sandworms, and battle upon battle as protagonist Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) contends with rival House Harkonnen and strives to defeat the forces of Shaddam IV, Emperor of the Known Universe.

Part 1's finale left Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), presumed dead in the harsh desert of Arrakis, having fled their home when Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) betrayed the Atreides family and killed Paul's father, Leto (Oscar Isaac). They were taken in by the Fremen, the planet's native inhabitants, who include Chani (Zendaya), a girl who had been appearing in Paul's dreams/visions.

All the surviving principles from Part 1 reprise their roles in Part 2: Chalamet, Zendaya, Ferguson, Skarsgård, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, Charlotte Rampling as the Reverend Mother Mohiam, and Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat. New cast members include Christopher Walken as Shaddam IV, emperor of House Corrine; Florence Pugh as his daughter, Princess Irulan; Austin Butler as Harkonnen's younger nephew, Feyd-Rautha, the presumed heir on Arrakis; Lea Seydoux as Lady Margot, a Bene Gesserit who is close with the Emperor; and Souheila Yacoub as a Fremen warrior named Shishakli.

The first trailer dropped in May after being unveiled in an exclusive sneak peek during CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The highlight was a sequence showing Paul's first ride on a sandworm—basically waterskiing across the sand, in defiance of Stilgar's advice to keep things simple and avoid fancy moves. It's a major rite of passage in Fremen culture, and the scene demonstrated that, in Part 2, Paul is well on his way to becoming Muad'Dib, prophet of the Fremen.

The new trailer opens with Paul offering to fight with the Fremen against their common enemy, though not everyone welcomes his inclusion. "This world is beyond cruelty," he says in a voiceover. "You've been fighting the Harkonnens for decades. My family's been fighting them for centuries. They were massacred alongside my father." Chani, too, plans to fight, not for Paul, but for her people.

There's also a reunion with Halleck, who urges Paul to exploit the growing belief that he is a prophet to his advantage. Paul is reluctant "because all my visions lead to horror"—not because he loses control but because he gains it. Meanwhile, Shaddam IV learns that Paul is still alive, and we witness the brutality of Feyd-Rautha as he demonstrates his lethal knife-fighting skills. And love blooms between Paul and Chani ("I will love you as long as I breathe") even in the midst of war.

Dune: Part 2 hits theaters on November 3, 2023.

Listing image by Warner Bros.

Channel Ars Technica