Dune 2 Director Says the Movie’s Real Hero Is Not Who You Think



  • Chani emerges as the true hero in
    Dune: Part Two,
    according to director Denis Villeneuve.
  • Meanwhile, Lady Jessica is revealed as the most powerful character, with her decisions driving the unfolding story in a dangerous way.
  • Changes made to the 1965 source material by Villeneuve enhance the romance and emotional depth of Paul and Chani’s relationship in the sci-fi sequel.

Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides is not the real hero of Dune: Part Two… it’s Zendaya’s headstrong character, Chani. And it’s not easy to argue that fact given Paul’s transformation into the Muad’dib, who decides to wed Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) at the film’s conclusion. In a recent interview, director Denis Villeneuve reveals that the Freman warrior, Chani, is, in fact, his “secret weapon” in the sci-fi sequel to 2021’s Dune. Villeneuve told Empire:

“Chani is my secret weapon in this story. She is the one who helped me to bring the movie to where I wanted it to be. There’s a precise moment in the movie where suddenly you feel that her perspective on the story becomes the main one. I thought that to bring a new perspective on what Paul is becoming, to use Chani would be absolutely perfect. That’s why all the movie’s built into their relationship and the build of trust between them, and why Chani becomes slowly attracted to Paul.”

Villeneuve continued by elaborating on how his changes to author Frank Herbert’s 1965 source material made Paul and Chani’s relationship seem even more romantic within the confines of the cliff-hanging ending to Dune: Part Two. Villeneuve said in the same interview:

“I think it’s much more romantic. It’s much more emotional. We can relate to that. He has to do a political move, and it’s a feudal world, so in order to get power he will take Irulan’s hand, but the way he expresses it in the film is much more romantic. I think from Chani’s perspective, she is destroyed by the fact that Paul is going towards Irulan, but much more by the fact that he becomes a colonizing figure, something he said to her he would never do.”

Lady Jessica Is the Most Powerful Character

There are plenty of powerful villains in Dune: Part Two, who try and stand in Paul Atreides (Chalamet) way. Unfortunately, for those attempting to oppose the boy-turned-Muad’dib, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) turned out to be the most formidable of all the sci-fi sequel’s characters. And Denis Villeneuve dished on the changes Paul’s mother underwent from Frank Herbert’s novel to the latest big-screen adaptation. Villeneuve said in the same interview:

“She’s the most powerful character in this story. In the book, she kind of disappeared and I always thought that was strange. The tension between them is the tension that the movie’s about. She represents a form of power that is very dangerous. Because of Jessica’s decisions, the whole story is unfolding in front of our eyes. I thought it was quite interesting to keep her on screen and to follow her and to see the pulling of the strings in the shadows.”


Dune: 8 Key Characters Who Were Cut From the Movies

Denis Villeneuve’s two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune is pretty faithful to the book, though a handful of characters were left out.

Fans don’t seem to have a problem with Villeneuve’s changes to the source material, as Dune: Part Two has amassed $512.6 million worldwide since beginning its theatrical run on March 1. Plus, with an “A” CinemaScore, an RT Tomatometer rating of 93% and a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 95%, it’s clear that the vast majority of critics and cinephiles alike are onboard for Villeneuve’s cinematic vision.



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