Dune Part 2 is reportedly close to adding MCU star Florence Pugh to its all-star cast.
According to multiple outlets, including Variety (opens in new tab) and The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) (THR), Pugh is on the cusp of joining the sequel to Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic. If Pugh signs onto the follow-up to Dune, she's expected to portray Princess Irulan Corrino, the eldest daughter of Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and another love interest of Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides.
Interestingly, Dune Part 2 will see Chalamet and Pugh reunite on screen for the first time since 2019's Little Women remake. The pair played Theodore Laurence and Amy March, respectively, in Greta Gerwig's celebrated period drama – a far cry from the sci-fi nature of Dune and its in-development sequel.
Dune Part 2 is expected to start shooting in summer 2022 ahead of a possible October 2023 release. However, as THR reports, Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine could scupper those plans. Large segments of Dune were filmed in Hungary and, given it borders Ukraine, the ongoing war potentially presents a sizeable shooting schedule dilemma.
Should Pugh join Dune Part 2's ranks, it'll be the second big film franchise she'll have appeared in since 2020. The British actor became an overnight Marvel movie star in 2020's Black Widow, with Pugh delivering a stand-out performance as Yelena Belova, Natasha Romanoff's younger sister. Pugh recently reprised that role in Hawkeye on Disney Plus and, while she's expected to return in other Marvel Phase 4 projects, it's unclear where we'll see Belova turn up next.
As for Dune, Villeneuve's latest flick was a major hit among fans and critics alike. The sci-fi movie earned over $400 million at the global box office – a solid haul, given that the film simultaneously launched in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22.
Dune will also look to add to its sizeable 34 award haul later this month. Villeneuve's visionary film is up for another eye-watering 129 prizes on the 2022 awards circuit, including 10 Critics Choice Awards, 10 Academy Awards, and 11 BAFTAs. The movie returns to HBO Max on Thursday, March 10 for a limited time, too, as part of its award season push.
For more Dune-based content, check out our chat with Villeneuve about the film's development. Alternatively, read our in-depth feature with Dune's behind-the-scenes crew to find out more about bringing the world of Arrakis to life.
Analysis: Pugh's casting could lead to more Dune spin-offs
Spoilers follow for the ending to Frank Herbert's Dune novel.
Pugh's likely casting as Princess Irulan offers an intriguing insight into the future of Warner Bros' live-action movie series.
Dune: The Sisterhood, an HBO Max prequel show that focuses on the Bene Gesserit, is still thought to be in the works. But, the potential addition of Pugh's Princess Irulan to Dune Part 2 also sets up the prospect of a third Dune movie.
In Frank Herbert's seminal novel, Princess Irulan only has a bit-part role to play in proceedings. When Emperor Shaddam cedes the galactic throne to Paul Atreides, Shaddam also promises Princess Irulan's hand in marriage to Paul. Princess Irulan has a more prominent role in Dune Messiah – Herbert's follow-up to Dune.
It would a strange move to cast Pugh as Princess Irulan in Dune Part 2 if the character has as small a role as her book-based counterpart. It would make more sense, then, if Pugh was hired with one eye on the future – i.e. a third Dune movie.
Villeneuve has gone on record (per Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab)) to say he wants to make three Dune films, so this looks like an likely outcome. Of course, a third film will depend on audience demand for one. But, given how well Dune was received, and the hype surrounding Dune Part 2, we'd be surprised if Warner Bros. called it a day after two films.