Dune: Part Two release date, how to meet the cast in Abu Dhabi and plot

The wait for the highly anticipated sequel is almost over – here's what you need to know about the blockbuster of the year

Timothee Chalamet, left, and Austin Butler star in the Dune sequel. AP
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Never fear, for fear is the mind-killer. Dune: Part Two, one of the year's most highly anticipated films, is almost here.

And it's heading to the UAE before hitting cinemas worldwide, with Abu Dhabi hosting its Middle Eastern premiere on Sunday.

While the screening will be by invitation only, director Denis Villeneuve and stars Josh Brolin and David Bautista are to walk the red carpet before the screening at Vox Cinemas, The Galleria Maryah Island. Fans will have a chance to meet the team that brought Frank Herbert's beloved novel to life, a large part of which was filmed in the emirate.

Fan registration details for the red carpet have not been announced, but are expected soon.

The film is a sequel to Dune (2021), which stars Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson.

Dune: Part Two is set to release in the UAE and across the Middle East on February 29. Tickets are expected to be made available for presale next week.

Here’s what else to know ahead of the film’s release.

Dune's stellar ensemble

Dune has one of the most talented and varied casts of recent times. The sequel grows that murderer's row, with new names adding some star power after a few heavy-hitter characters, such as Jason Momoa's and Oscar Isaac's, met their demise in the first film.

Chalamet once again takes the lead as Paul Atreides, with Ferguson as Paul’s mother Lady Jessica. Josh Brolin portrays Gurney Halleck, Paul’s mentor and trainer.

Stellan Skarsgard is once again the main villain, taking the role of Baron Harkonnen, with Dave Bautista as his nephew Glossu Rabban.

Zendaya plays Chani, a young member of the Fremen who take in Paul and his mother.

Newcomers to the franchise include Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, an enforcer for the Harkonnens; Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan; and Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam. They're joined by Javier Bardem, Lea Seydoux, Charlotte Rampling and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

The story

Dune is based on the 1965 novel by Herbert and tells the story of a planetary battle for resources set in a galaxy that rid itself of computers. In the book, it is explained that religious zealots called Butlerians waged a war against robots and sentient machines.

These events took place 1,000 years before the events of the first film, in which House Atreides, led by Duke Leto, is selected to take over the rule of Arrakis. The planet is rich with "spice”, a valuable commodity used to heighten awareness.

There is a problem, however. House Atreides is replacing House Harkonnen and its leader Baron Harkonnen as the rulers of Arrakis. The transition is not consensual and the Harkonnen remain determined to return and claim the throne.

During all this, the young Paul begins to learn more about himself and what he can do. He is introduced to a mysterious sisterhood called the Bene Gesserit who test him to see if he is the chosen one they prophesied would one day come.

On Arrakis, Paul and his family experience a sneak attack by the Harkonnens, forcing him and his mother to flee and seek assistance from the Fremen, who live in the dunes of Arrakis.

The first film ends with Paul being accepted within the Fremen, and setting his sights on reclaiming the planet from the Harkonnens.

UAE filming locations

The first and second Dune films were partially shot in Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter to portray the arid desert of Arrakis. Abu Dhabi took a greater part of the second film's production.

"What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There’s a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerising," Villeneuve previously said about his time filming the first Dune.

"There’s also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city, it's like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film.”

Filming also took place in Jordan’s Petra region, Italy and Hungary.

Box office

Dune was released worldwide in October 2021 after Covid-19 lockdowns delayed it. It had a budget of $160 million and made back more than $400 million. Dune: Part Two was made on a smaller budget of $122 million.

Updated: February 15, 2024, 3:59 AM