Dune: Part Two: Plot Recap, New Cast Members & Terms to Know

Dune: Part Two: Plot Recap, New Cast Members & Terms to Know

Dune: Part Two, the highly anticipated sequel to 2021’s blockbuster adaption of Frank Herbert’s beloved, massive novel Dune, is finally here. Greenlit by Warner Bros. Pictures shortly after the first film’s release and clocking in at nearly three hours of total runtime, the second half of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the classic 1965 science fiction novel is already pulling in rave reviews.

The Dune universe is vast, and it’s easy to forget what happened in a movie that was a big as Dune: Part One. We put this watch guide together to help you get back up to speed and get ready for Dune: Part Two.

And, you can brush up with 2021’s Dune: Part One on DIRECTV.


Dune Part 2 Movie PosterDune: Part Two will release in theaters nationwide on March 1, 2024. It will likely be a few months after its initial theater release that Dune: Part Two will be available to stream.


Please note: this recap contains spoilers about the first Dune film.

Dune: Part One starts out with the story’s young protagonist, Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), traveling with his family, the rulers of House Atreides, from his pristine ocean home world of Caladan to the inhospitable desert world Arrakis after the Emperor of humanity instructs his father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), to take over planetary mining operations from the sinister Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and his crew.

Arrakis is home to a rough climate, massive subterranean sandworms that pose a constant threat to mining operations and the lives of those living on the planet, and a secretive native population known as the Fremen.

On top of that, Paul starts having some mysterious and pretty disturbing visions about a potential terrible future as soon as he is on the planet. Additionally, the Bene Gesserit, a group of powerful, plotting women with mystical powers, have taken a keen interest in him.

As the family explores the planet and sets up shop, it becomes clear that despite being given control of the sole source of the most valuable commodity in the universe – the mind-augmenting substance known as “spice” – the Atreides’ assignment was actually part of a plot between the Emperor and Baron Harkonnen to expose and eliminate them. This would allow the Emperor to rid himself of a potent rival in Duke Leto while making it seem like the result of routine inter-house warfare.

Leto is captured and dies during the Harkonnen’s attack, but Paul and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), a member of the Bene Gesserit, are spared during the assault at the command of the matriarchal group’s leader, the Reverend Mother.

That, as it turns out, is because Paul is suspected of being a powerful messiah-like figure uniquely capable of leading humanity to the better, more prosperous future the Bene Gesserit desire. Who knew?

The pair end up stranded in the desert with Leto’s warrior-aide Duncan (Jason Momoa) and local scientist Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster). The group is pursued by Harkonnen’s soldiers and the Emperor’s elite troops, and Duncan and Kynes epically sacrifice themselves to help Paul and Jessica escape. The pair are rescued by a group of Fremen that includes Chani (Zendaya), a young woman that Paul saw in his visions.

The Fremen’s leader, Stilgar (Javier Bardem), allows them to live, but one of the Fremen thinks that’s the wrong call and challenges Paul to a duel, which he wins. We’re left with Paul and Chani staring out over the Fremen’s territory on Arrakis, where other Fremen can be seen riding on the backs of the killer sandworms. Yes, you read that right.


Dune: Part One was all about scene-setting and world-building. Paul Atreides, wronged by the Emperor and the Harkonnens, now has his revenge motive. We now know he possesses a unique power and that he can use it to prevent the awful events of his premonitions. He’s officially in with the Fremen and ready to ride some worms. And that’s just the first half of this adaptation Herbert’s tome.

Part Two is where things start to get really … well, spicy, for lack of a better term. The one thing Emperors tend to care about is keeping control of their empire. That’s exactly what Paul intends to target in his quest for vengeance, and Part Two will chronicle his rise to power as revolutionary leader as he embarks upon a struggle with the potential to change the course of the universe.


We’re welcoming back plenty of familiar faces in Dune: Part 2, with Chalamet, Ferguson, Skarsgard, Zendaya, Bardem, Dave Bautista (as Glossu Rabban) and Josh Brolin (as Gurney Halleck) reprising their roles from the first film, but there are plenty of A-list actors joining the stellar cast as Villeneuve expands Herbert’s rich Dune universe on the big screen:

Christopher Walken makes his Dune debut as the Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe, Shaddam IV. Walken’s character will face the wrath of Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, who now has a serious bone to pick with him.

Florence Pugh will play Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter. Paul and Irulan enter a political marriage, sparking a love triangle between Paul, Irulan and Chani. Irulan’s mother is also a member of the Bene Gesserit.

Léa Seydoux has been cast as Margot Fenring, another powerful member of the Bene Gesserit.

Austin Butler steps into the role of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, Baron Harkonnen’s evil nephew and heir-apparent to House Harkonnen.


And here are a few of the most important settings and terms to know before embarking on the long journey that is Dune Part One and Part Two.

Arrakis: The desert planet Arrakis is the main setting of Dune, and where most of the action happens. It’s the only place in the universe where the critically important spice melange is found. Without the spice, humanity could not engage in interstellar travel.

Arakeen: The capital city of Arrakis, where the Harkonnens attack and destroy House Atreides. It’s protected from sandworms by the Shield Wall.

Bene Gesserit: A secretive, matriarchal order dedicated to guiding humanity to a better future. The Bene Gesserit have trained themselves to influence and control people, live longer than the average human and see the future. They run a breeding program intended to eventually produce a powerful being who can carry out their ultimate plan.

Caladan: The Atreides family’s home planet, which they have to leave when they’re sent to Arrakis.

Fremen: The native inhabitants of Arrakis who live in the desert and have adapted to the planet’s harsh conditions. Paul Atreides joins this group after fleeing the Harkonnen assault on Arakeen.

Galactic Padishah Empire: The overarching governing body that controls the known universe, headed by the Padishah Emperor. Despite being the highest form of authority in the Dune universe, the Empire shares power with the Houses and groups like the Bene Gesserit.

Giedi Prime: The home planet of the Harkonnens. It’s a heavily industrialized place with harsh living conditions for its inhabitants imposed by House Harkonnen.

Houses: The houses control territory, engage in trade and occasionally fight each other in the Dune universe. The major houses are Atreides, Harkonnen, Corrino and Fenring.

Sandworm: Known as “Shai-Hulud” to the Fremen, these massive worms burrow through the sand of Arrakis. They’re attracted by vibrations in the sand, and when they die, their decomposing bodies mix with other subterranean substances, then rise to the surface where they become spice.

Spice: Also known as spice melange, it’s the most valuable substance in the universe and a power psychoactive drug.

Spacing Guild: A powerful faction that controls space travel within the Empire.

Stillsuit: A specialized suit that helps people survive on Arrakis by making sweat and urine potable.


Director Denis Villeneuve has been quoted saying he’s interested in producing a third Dune movie, and the script for that film, entitled Dune: Messiah is already being written.

Villeneuve has, however, also been quoted saying that he’ll need some time off between Dune: Part Two and any future third installment.


Dune: Part Two will be exclusively in theaters upon its release, but you can get up to speed by watching Dune: Part One on DIRECTV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is 'Dune Part 2' directed by?

Denis Villeneuve, who also directed the first film. Other Dennis Villeneuve films include sci-fi heavy hitters like Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival.

Where was 'Dune Part 2' filmed?

Dune: Part 2 was filmed in Budapest, Jordan, Italy and Abu Dhabi.

How long was the original 'Dune' novel?

About 800 pages.

The content is featured on is editorial content brought to you by DIRECTV. While some of the programming discussed may now or in the future be available affiliates distribution services, the companies and persons discussed and depicted, and the authors and publishers of licensed content, are not necessarily associated with and do not necessarily endorse DIRECTV. When you click on ads on this site you may be taken to DIRECTV marketing pages that display advertising content. Content sponsored or co-created by programmers is identified as "Sponsored Content" or "Promoted Content."