The spice must flow! Christopher Walken has joined the cast of Dune: Part Two, Denis Villeneuve’s continued adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel. The first installment was released last year to great acclaim, setting up Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) fulfilling his destiny as the Lisan al-Gaib/Kwisatz Haderach, the legendary messiah of the desert planet Arrakis.
The veteran actor will be portraying Emperor Shaddam IV. While unseen in the first film, the all-powerful ruler was established as a forbidding presence, being in league with House Harkonnen in the quest to sabotage House Atreides.
Considering that one of Dune’s most memorable scenes was of the emperor’s elite forces being anointed with blood and listening to throat singing before going into battle, expectations are going to be high for when we see the man himself. José Ferrer played the emperor in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune, which compressed the notably lengthy book into a single film.
Walken recently appeared on the Apple TV+ dark comedy/thriller Severance, which coincidentally featured his character Burt finding a secret room full of plants in a very Dune-like move. He’s also part of the ensemble cast of the BBC series The Outlaws, the first season of which was just made available in the US.
Alongside Chalamet, Dune stars anticipated to return include Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem. Other newcomers are Florence Pugh, who will be playing the emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan, and Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, a Harkonnen heir and Paul’s sworn enemy.
Dune: Part Two is set to go into production later this year. As of March, Villeneuve said that the script was “mostly” complete, and his co-writer Jon Spaihts is already looking forward to the possibility of adapting the second book in the series, Dune Messiah. The film is anticipated for an October 2023 release.