When the first part of the movie “Dune” announced, the sequel was already anticipated. But, the Dune director Denis Villeneuve surprised everybody by confirming that Zendaya will be the lead star in the sequel.
Zendaya’s character Chani will be the protagonist in the second part of the film, the role which was earlier filled by Timothee Chalamet’s character Paul Atreides.
While speaking with the Italian magazine Venerdì di Repubblica, director Villeneuve expressed his excitement and eagerness to start working on the new journey of Dune’s sequel. Talking about Zendaya’s role in the movie, “I’m honoured to present on-screen two talents [Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya] that are so explosive and I can’t wait to shoot the second part of Dune to get them back together.”
Confirming Zendaya to be the lead character, “Knowing that in the next chapter Zendaya will be the protagonist of the story,” Villeneuve explained his plans for Zendaya’s Chani to the outlet.
However, this does not mean that Dune part 2 is confirmed. The sequel of Dune is not yet officially confirmed. Villeneuve shared his part as a mere idea of what he would like if Dune 2 were to be made.
Dune is set to have its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 3rd September, 2021. Subsequently, the movie will be released theatrically in the United States in 3D on 22nd October. Set in the future world, the story of Dune is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel.
As explained by Warner Bros, “A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.”
The synopsis of the film by IMDb states, “set far in the future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary fiefdoms are controlled by noble houses that owe allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino. The novel tells the story of young Paul Atreides (heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and scion of House Atreides) as he and his family relocate to the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the spice melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe.”
IMD explained that the story of Dune “explores the complex and multilayered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, the fate of Paul, his family, his new planet and its native inhabitants, as well as the Padishah Emperor, the powerful Spacing Guild, and the secretive female order of the Bene Gesserit, are all drawn together into a confrontation that will change the course of humanity.”
As mentioned above, the role of the lead Paul Altreidis has been played by Timothee Chalamet. Zendaya, on the other hand, stars opposite Chalamet as Chani, a mysterious girl who first makes her appearance in Paul’s dream world.
Meanwhile, Chani is actually the daughter of an Imperial Planetologist Liet-Kynes. She is a member of a nomadic Fremen tribe on Arrakis, who helps Paul to learn the ways of the Fremen and eventually emerge as an intergalactic revolutionary.
However, as per the novel by Frank Herbert, Chani plays a prominent role in the second part of the story, when she introduces/teaches Paul and his mother Lady Jessica the ways of the Fremen.
Besides, with Zendaya potentially being the protagonist in the sequel- Dune 2, fans are looking forward to what Villeneuve has in his mind. Some people welcome the idea of Zendaya’s Chani being protagonist, while others are not exactly happy with the potential storyline.
Replying to the announcement shared by Dune Info’s Twitter handle, a fan wrote, “Huh? Zendaya is far more important, yes, but I think protagonist is a stretch. Unless of course, they’re tying this in with a part 3 – Dune: Messiah” Meanwahile, another fan who welcomed Denis’ thought wrote, “This is the best thing I’ve read all year. Just this line by Denis. Hope.”
On the other hand, some people feel that even if Chani aka Zendaya becomes the protagonist, it doesn’t mean Timothee aka Paul would lose the prominence. A Twitter user shared, “I think she’ll (Zenday/Chani) definitely be a major player in part 2 but I think Paul will still be the lead.”
Meanwhile, another Dune followers, who apparently has read the novel too compared director Villeneuve’s idea to that of the novel. “Protagonist? Last time I read dune she dies very early…i get it by looking at the trailers seems like she already is… They are trying to get zendaya fans to go see dune but she probably gonna have 10 minutes screen time.. Lol..” read the tweet by the person.
Other than that, some people believe that this could be the filmmaker’s way to attract Zendaya’s fans and followers. Besides, Zendaya certainly is the praised one with her recent Emmy Award win for HBOS’s “Euphoria.” A Dune follower tweeted, “Her (Zendaya/Chani) role should be pretty big n the 2nd half. But not the actual lead. Its a call out to her fans because they are gonna be letdown if they think her role is more than it is in the 1st film.”
Zendaya, on the other hand, hasn’t addressed the announcement yet. However, the 24-year-old actress is currently making the best out of her career. She recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work in HBO series “Euphoria.” Besides, Zendaya is all set to retrieve her role MJ in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is scheduled to come out in December 2021. Additionally, the Disney’s “Shake It Up” star has also voiced for Lola Bunny in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”
Additionally, Zendaya is also in the cast of a biopic based on Spector’s memoir called “Be My Baby,” in which she will portray Ronettes frontwoman Ronnie Spector.