Dune 2 Just Spoiled One of Its Top Secret Characters


This Dune article contains spoilers.

After ingesting the Spice Melange, Guild Navigators working for CHOAM gain precognitive abilities, allowing them to chart paths for interstellar space travel, making Arrakis, the only source of Spice, the most important planet in the galaxy. Such is the premise of Frank Herbert‘s Dune novels, which inspired the 2021 blockbuster and Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sequel, Dune: Part Two.

In the first movie, the Spice enhances young Paul Atreides’ burgeoning prescience. That effect gives Paul visions of his future leading the Fremen with Chani at his side. But it also tells him things about others, as he reveals to his mother Jessica, “I know you are pregnant.”

We here on Earth don’t have access to the Spice of Arrakis or the powers it endows. So if we want to see the future about movie releases or casting decisions, we have to rely on leaks and speculation. So when Anya Taylor-Joy showed up at the Dune: Part Two premiere, we all got a look at the future.

Taylor joined returning members of the cast, including Timothée Chalamet as Paul, Rebecca Ferguson as Jessica, and Zendaya as Chani, as well as new additions, such as Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen and Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan.

Taylor-Joy’s presence on the stage (and what she’s wearing) all but confirms that she’s been cast as Alia Atreides, the sister Paul foretold in the the aforementioned scene. Alia’s secret role in the film is something we’ve long suspected, even if she was never teased in any of the trailers. Rumors of Taylor-Joy’s casting first began to circulate days before the movie’s world premiere in London when a credit for Dune: Part Two appeared on her Letterboxd profile before being quickly taken down.

Taylor-Joy finally confirmed the news this week.

“This is a dream come true,” Taylor-Joy said of being cast in the film during a live interview on WB’s TikTok (via Variety). “The books are incredible, but with this cast and with Denis, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

As Jessica’s daughter, Alia becomes a member of the Bene Gesserit, the religious order with even more power than CHOAM. However, because Jessica drank the Water of Life — a liquid that highly-trained Bene Gesserit consume when they become Reverend Mothers, giving them all of the memories of their genetic ancestors — she has the consciousness of an adult, even in the womb. While that genetic memory makes Alia an abomination among other Bene Gesserit, it also makes her a powerful ally to Paul, particularly in the second Herbert novel, Dune Messiah.

As a baby with the mind of an adult (in fact, many generations of adults), Alia poses a challenge to anyone trying to adapt Herbert’s work. To the surprise of no one, David Lynch got around it by leaning into his weird instincts and casting a nine-year-old Alicia Witt as Alia and overdubbing her voice. The 2000 Syfy channel miniseries Frank Herbert’s Dune just asks child actor Laura Burton to play an adult-minded character to unconvincing effect.

At 27, Anya Taylor-Joy is significantly older than her predecessors in the role. But as demonstrated in Last Night in Soho and The Witch, she excels at playing ethereal qualities. So even if we get an aged-up Alia in Dune: Part Two, hardly the only strange thing in the movie or the only divergence from the source material, Taylor-Joy as a performer can certainly embody what makes Alia so strange to both audiences and the Bene Gesserit.

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see her in the role until Dune: Part Two hits theaters on March 1.

The post Dune 2 Just Spoiled One of Its Top Secret Characters appeared first on Den of Geek.

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