With new Dune footage and a new trailer around the corner, it’s high time the people of Earth were reintroduced to the sci-fi blockbuster’s heroes and villains.
This week, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures released a series of new posters featuring the characters Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), Chani (Zendaya), The Baron (Stellan Skarsgård), Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), and Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa). Another new Dune poster featured all the heavy-hitters gathered, together with the phrase: “It Begins.”
But what begins? If you’re a fan of the books or following the rumors about Dune’s possible ending, you know these posters are hiding spoilers. More than that, these posters imply we’re getting a sequel! Let’s dig in. Possible spoilers ahead for Dune (2021). Spoilers for the Dune novels follow.
Dune character posters — explained
Eight new character posters have been officially released in the US, though a ninth poster — featuring Dr. Yueh (Chan Chen) has been floating around on Reddit and Twitter. These one-sheets don’t represent every character in the film, but the poster drop does present a pretty big cross-section of the major players, specifically the “heroes” of House Atreides. Paul’s entire family is well-represented. Duke Leto (Oscar Issac) is his father, and his mother is Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Meanwhile, Gurney (Josh Brolin) and Duncan (Jason Momoa) work for Paul’s family. Chani (Zendaya) and Stilgar (Javier Bardem) are Paul’s allies once he and his mother are exiled into the desert. The Baron (Stellan Skarsgård) is better-known as Baron Harkonnen, the main antagonist of Dune. Imagine Jabba the Hutt combined with Emperor Palpatine, and you’ve got the Barron.
Basically, the character posters seem to say: Here’s our royal space family, their helpers, and the bad guys.
But the posters exclude a few key characters, such as:
- Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun) a Fremen who will battle Paul, possibly in the film’s finale
- Liet-Kynes (Sharon Duncan Brewster), a pivotal climatologist on Arrakis, likely Chani’s mother
- Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), one of Baron Harkonnen’s enforcers
The posters hide spoilers from the books
If you’ve read the Dune books, then you know plenty of these characters will not make it to a possible sequel. Duke Leto dies midway through the first novel, and Duncan Idaho will almost certainly die in this film, too.
Other than via social media, the Dr. Yueh poster hasn’t been widely circulated. Why? It’s possible that the larger spoiler about Dr. Yueh — that he betrays House Atreides — is being concealed.
Do the posters confirm a Dune sequel?
Although she’s featured prominently in the character posters, rumors suggest that Zendaya is barely in the film. Although the role of Chani is hugely pivotal in the novel, the new movie seemingly only adapts roughly the first half of Dune, so it makes sense we might not see Chani until the end of this film. (That said, Paul does have visions of Chani prior to meeting her IRL, so there’s that.)
Still, the new poster featuring a bunch of the cast together says clearly, “It Begins.” And Chani is clearly a big part of this marketing push. If Dune is the beginning, that implies we’ll get an “ending,” right?
If Denis Villeneuve’s Dune really does only adapt half the book, then fans — new and old alike — will demand a sequel. It seems that, through these confident and beautiful new posters, the studios behind Dune are putting their money where their spice is.
In the US, Dune hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021