It certainly isn’t who any of us expected, but in a development we’re already willing to embrace with open arms, Christopher Walken has been cast as Emperor Shaddam IV in Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated Dune sequel.
The villainous character plays a major role in the original Frank Herbert novel, but as you may recall, did not make an onscreen appearance during the Academy Award-winning initial instalment of the Timothee Chalamet-led space opera. The build-up, however, promises to be worthwhile.
“The story resumes where Part I left off, with Paul Atreides (portrayed by Timothee Chalamet) fighting alongside the Fremen to free the desert planet of Arrakis from the grips of House Harkonnen,” explains The Hollywood Reporter.
“Walken will play the ruler of the known universe who initially sends the Atreides family to Arrakis in order to cause their downfall. In the continuation, he and the baron terrorise the populace and must contend with the rebellion. Jose Ferrer played the part in the 1984 movie adaptation by David Lynch.”
Christopher Walken joins the all-star cast of Dune which currently features Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and more – all of whom are set to reprise their respective roles – in addition to recently-confirmed newcomers Florence Pugh and Austin Butler.
Pugh takes on the role of Emperor Shaddam’s daughter, Princess Irulan, who’s destined to marry Chalamet’s Paul Atreides for political reasons; while Butler takes on the nephew of Baron Harkonnen, Feyd-Rautha, who’s being groomed to rule Arrakis and on a direct collision course to oppose Paul.
Dune: Part II is currently slated for an October 20th of 2023 release date.