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Dune 2 looks incredible because the first movie did all the work

Muad’Dib arrives

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two wearing a Freman stillsuit and staring at the camera with his glowing blue eyes
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two.
Image: Warner Bros.
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Paul Atreides and the Fremen are ready to wage war in the latest trailer for Dune: Part Two. But for all the epic moments the trailer includes, it’s easy to forget what exactly is going on and how we got here — after all, this is the second part of a story that first started back in 2021.

Thankfully, there are a few easy explanations to help you get ready for Dune: Part Two and to know just how great this movie already looks. Dune: Part Two is set for release in theaters on Nov. 8, but before that, here’s everything you need to remember to make the most of the new trailer:

What’s happening with Timothée Chalamet in the Dune: Part Two trailer?

Lady Jessica’s (Rebecca Ferguson) tattooed face peeking out from under a shawl in Dune: Part Two
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in Dune: Part Two.
Photo: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures

To answer this question, we’ll have to start with a brief recap of the first movie, just like Chalamet’s narration in this new trailer does: Paul Atreides (Chalamet) came to a new planet, Arrakis, only to watch the death of his father and the downfall of his empire at the hands of House Atreides’ sworn enemies, House Harkonnen, who took possession of Arrakis’ vital spice mines. But after escaping to the harsh and unforgiving sands with his mother, the Bene Gesserit adept Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Paul has found new allies: the Fremen. The indigenous desert-dwellers are more savvy and advanced than the rest of the Empire thinks, and they could have the power to throw House Harkonnen off Arrakis for good. That’s something Paul would very much like to help them with.

Meanwhile, Paul is also coming into his own as Muad’Dib, the Fremen’s long-prophesied messiah. While he is quick to point out to his new Fremen girlfriend, Chani (Zendaya), that the prophecy is more like a story than a fact, it is true that greater exposure to the spice in the wilds of Arrakis is awakening Paul’s ability to see the future — and he’s having trouble adjusting to it.

Who are Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken playing in Dune: Part Two?

Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan Corrino in Dune: Part Two
Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan Corrino in Dune: Part Two.
Photo: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Christopher Walken, seen only briefly in this trailer, is playing Emperor Shaddam IV, the ruler of the Padishah Empire — and the one who gave permission to Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) to kill the Atreides family and take over Arrakis. In other words, he’s not a likely ally for Paul in his quest to take back the planet.

Florence Pugh, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a wild card. She plays Princess Irulan Corrino, heir to the galactic empire, and she seems to have more than a bit of grudging respect for Paul.

No matter what the end result is in the movie, these two characters spend most of this trailer far away from the arid climate of Arrakis, coolly discussing what’s to be done about the Fremen problem, though we can expect them to have a slightly more hands-on role in the action in the full movie.

Who is Austin Butler playing in Dune: Part Two?

Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune 2, screaming in black and white with a shaved head
Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two.
Image: Warner Bros.

With succession and family legacy playing such a huge part in this latest Dune film, it should come as no surprise that Austin Butler plays Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the nephew and chosen successor of Baron Harkonnen. Feyd-Rautha and Paul are pretty natural enemies, all things considered, and based on the trailer, they certainly seem destined for a battle at some point or another.

So, what is actually happening in the Dune: Part Two trailer?

Stilgar (Javier Bardem) wearing body armor, a scarf, and a nose tube while looking to his left in Dune: Part Two
Javier Bardem as Stilgar in Dune: Part Two.
Photo: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures

The trailer starts out with Paul describing the events of the first movie, before we get a brief look at where all the chess pieces are at on the board.

Paul is with Chani and the Fremen, and they’re plotting to take down the Harkonnens using their superior knowledge of Arrakis, and its sandworms — which Paul can now ride, like all the other Fremen warriors. Baron Harkonnen is preparing his nephew, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, to face Paul in battle, defeat him, and eventually take over the seat of House Harkonnen. Emperor Shaddam IV hears news of this impending battle far away as he treats with Princess Irulan, and the two discuss what will be done with the troublesome but valuable Arrakis and its new savior.

Among all of this other plotting and scheming, we also see plenty of snippets of the fighting to come, which includes Chani kicking a lot of Harkonnen ass and Feyd-Rautha’s excellent hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, Paul begins to realize that his mission in life may be much bigger than just Arrakis, though that’s more a tease for future movies than it is for this one.

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