The spice is nice, and so is the cast.
Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) is the latest director to tackle the imposing challenge of adapting Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel Dune to the big screen. Most fans would agree that neither the 1984 adaptation by David Lynch nor the 2001 TV miniseries truly capture the greatness of the source material. But if nothing else, Villeneuve certainly has a talented cast backing him up for the project, which is expected to start production this year.
Now that many of the film’s central heroes and villains have been cast, we’ve put together a quick breakdown of all the actors confirmed for the Dune reboot so far. You’ll also find here the basics of each character, for those who might not be familiar with this sprawling sci-fi saga. The spice must flow!
Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) will star as Paul Atreides. While young and naive, Paul is already a gifted scholar and warrior whose very existence threatens the balance of power in the galaxy in the far-off future of Dune. Paul is forced to grow up quickly when his family encounters major hardships in their move to the desert planet Arrakis (a.k.a. Dune). It falls on Paul to unite the free tribes of Arrakis against the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV and restore the honor of House Atreides.
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) will play Lady Jessica, mother to Paul and concubine to Duke Leto Atreides. Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit religious order and helps Paul nurture his fledgling psychic abilities as their family moves to the planet Arrakis. Jessica’s relationship with her order is strained after her failure to bear Duke Leto a daughter, but the Bene Gesserits still take a keen interest in Paul and his latent superhuman potential.
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) has been cast as Duke Leto Atreides, the leader of House Atreides and the newly minted ruler of the spice-rich planet of Arrakis. Leto is a wise and benevolent leader in a galaxy where such men are few and far between. As the story begins, Leto struggles to seize his new opportunity on Arrakis while knowing full well that his promotion will only intensify his family’s rivalry with House Harkonnen.
Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) will play Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the ruler of House Harkonnen and a bitter rival of Duke Leto. Harkonnen is as cruel and vindictive as Leto is noble and just. Despite losing control of Arrakis to House Atreides, Harkonnen sees the shake-up as an opportunity to eliminate his rival once and for all.
Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049) will play Glossu Rabban, a nephew of Baron Harkonnen. Often referred to by his nickname, “The Beast Rabban,” Glossu is every bit as cruel and sadistic as his uncle. However, he lacks Harkonnen’s keen intelligence.
Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is in talks to play Chani, a girl who first appears as a recurring presence in Paul’s dreams. Chani is the daughter of Imperial Planetologist Liet-Kynes and a member of a nomadic Fremen tribe on Arrakis. Chani is instrumental in helping Paul learn the ways of the Fremen and seize his destiny as an intergalactic revolutionary.
Charlotte Rampling (Red Sparrow) has been cast as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, the leader of the Bene Gesserit religious order. Reverend Mother Mohiam is an intimidating figure with a disdain for anyone she deems not “truly human” (in other words, those without the will to overcome pain and achieve their fullest potential). She has her own plans for consolidating her order’s power, plans which may hinge on Paul’s growing superhuman abilities.
Javier Bardem is in talks to play Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe who take in Paul and his mother. He eventually becomes a general in Paul’s army.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.