The first trailer for Dune: Part Two is packed with excitement.
There are glimpses of the villainous Feyd-Rautha played by Austin Butler, a greater role for the intriguing Princess Irulan played by Florence Pugh, and the action-packed second half of Paul Atreides’ quest for revenge. However, the standout moment is when Paul rides a sandworm for the first time.
Sandworms are the monstrous creatures that rule the planet Arrakis and provide the precious resource of spice melange. While Imperium houses mine the spice on Arrakis and see sandworms as a pestilence, the native Fremen venerate them.
Wormriding is a pivotal rite of passage for the Fremen. In Dune: Part One, Paul and Lady Jessica have been accepted into the Fremen tribe, and the film closes with a glimpse of a wormrider in the distance. Now, in Dune: Part Two, we get to see Paul’s own attempt at wormriding.
The trailer’s longest sequence shows Paul preparing to ride the worm using a thumper, which creates slow rhythmic vibrations in the sand. Meanwhile, Stilgar advises him to be simple and direct, without trying to impress anyone. This scene sets the stage for Dune’s uniquely dark twist.
In the Dune: Part Two trailer, Paul Atreides rides a sandworm with ease despite Stilgar’s advice to be simple and direct. The Fremen people see him as their prophesied messiah, the Lisan al Ghaib, who will “know their ways as though born to them”. This Chosen One narrative is what we expect from many movies, but Dune subverts it by revealing that the prophecy was planted by the Bene Gesserit, a religious sisterhood with magical powers.
The Chose One Narrative
Bene Gesserit have carefully manipulated bloodlines for centuries to create the Kwisatz Haderach, the superbeing who would lead the Fremen to freedom. The Chosen One is not decided by fate but by the Bene Gesserit’s genetic engineering. Stilgar looks at Paul with awe mixed with apprehension and fear, suggesting that Paul’s ease at riding the sandworm confirms he’s the prophesied messiah, but also revealing the unique way Dune undercuts the Chosen One narrative.
In the Dune universe, Paul Atreides is the chosen one, or the prophesied Lisan al Gaib, and destined to save the oppressed people of Arrakis. However, Paul is aware that his position as the chosen one is not decided by fate but by genetic engineering by the Bene Gesserit. Paul deeply resents being forced to be the chosen one, but as we see in the Dune: Part Two trailer, he accepts his fate and commands an army of zealous Fremen.
Author Frank Herbert intended Dune to be a rejection of the Chosen One narrative. He wanted to explore the messianic convulsions that afflict human societies and reject the idea that superheroes are good for humans.
Instead of a simple story of good triumphing over evil, Dune takes the chosen one down a much more interesting and complex path. The Dune: Part Two trailer alludes to this complexity when Lady Jessica reasons that they gave the people hope, but Paul furiously responds that it is not hope.
So, despite the moment of triumph, don’t expect a happy ending. Dune grapples with the question of what it takes for a hero to become a villain.
Dune: Part Two will exclusively release in cinemas on November 3rd. The movie might also have an exclusive festival debut ahead of the theatrical release