While Zendaya accompanied Timothée Chalamet for most of the Dune promotional tour as his opposite lead, viewers were disappointed to see that her character Chani only briefly appeared in the movie itself. Now, director Denis Villeneuve has promised fans in a chat with Variety that Dune: Part Two will rectify this issue by giving a much more prominent role to the Fremen warrior.
For Zendaya, I will say Part One was a promise. I know that we saw a glimpse of her in Part One, but in Part Two, she’ll have a prominent part. We will follow Timothée and Zendaya on their adventures in the desert. That’s the thing that excited me most about going back to Arrakis is to spend time with those characters again.
In Frank Herbert’s novel series, Chani is one of the leading figures that influence Paul Atreides in the path to fulfilling his destiny as the messiah of the galaxy. She also teaches him about the Fremen culture, which allows the prophecized Muad’Dib to earn respect and rise through their ranks.
Casting director Francine Maisler recently revealed that Zendaya was cast in part to add diversity to the ensemble, though she definitely must have done a screen test with Chalamet too, just to make sure that the two have enough chemistry to bring the star-crossed lovers to life in front of the cameras in a believable and suspenseful way.
Dune: Part Two will hopefully showcase just how believable when it flies to the theaters on Oct. 20, 2023.