Dune 2 Trailer Reveals a Major Change to the Entire Sci-Fi Saga

The trailer shakes up the book as Denis Villeneuve confirms he's writing the third movie.

Chani and Paul in the 'Dune: Part Two' trailer
Warner Bros/Legendary
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How much does Chani actually believe in Paul Atreides? In the explosive new trailer for Dune: Part Two, Chani and Paul’s relationship takes center stage. As the future-tense power couple who will eventually rule the universe, the trailer not only expands their relationship beyond the pages of Frank Herbert’s novel, but also foreshadows a tragedy to come.

Or does it? In a tonal shift from the source material, Chani says two things that could alter the course of the Dune movies forever, sending a hypothetical third film to a place that could deviate substantially from the relevant book, Dune Messiah. As fans absorb the trailer for Part Two and Denis Villeneuve writes the screenplay for Part Three, it’s possible the future of Arrakis could suddenly change in a big way.

In the trailer, Chani tells Paul, “You’ll never lose me as long as you stay who you are.” Later, she speaks to a large group of Fremen, saying, “This prophecy is how they enslave us.”

Taken together, those two bits of dialogue foreshadow the idea that Paul will not remain who he is, and on some level Chani is right about the prophecy not being great for the Fremen in the long term. The Bene Gesserit seeded the prophecy on Arrakis generations ago, and Paul and his mother weaponize it to rally the Fremen. In the novel, and likely in the movie too, Paul will vacillate on whether he’ll fully commit to this path, and by the time of the third book, Children of Dune, he returns as “The Preacher” to criticize the decisions he made.

There are shades of the Preacher in Chani telling the Fremen the prophecy could hurt them. And centering Chani as being against some of Paul’s teachings could be a way Dune: Part Two tweaks the novel and possibly sets up a different path for the third film, a movie version of Dune Messiah.

At CCXP 2023 in São Paulo, Braz director Denis Villeneuve said the following about the possibility of a third film, which would fully adapt the second novel:

“[Dune Messiah] is being written right now, the screenplay is almost finished but it is not finished it will take a little time. I don't know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis - but my dream would be [to] go a last time on this planet that I love.”

We’re going to speculate further, but book spoilers are ahead.

Paul looks toward an uncertain future.

Warner Bros/Legendary

As the shortest of the six Dune novels written by Frank Herbert, Messiah ends in tragedy: Chani dies in childbirth as Paul’s twin children, Leto II and Ghanima, are born. But if Dune: Part Two gives Chani more agency than the novels did, it suddenly feels possible her fate could change. Again, Chani’s frustration toward the end of this trailer gives off major Preacher vibes. But Chani isn’t alive in the third book, and Villeneuve seems to have made it clear he only wants to adapt one more novel into a film.

If a hypothetical Dune Messiah were to be made, and the character of Chani was substantially different than in the novels, it’s easy to imagine a modified ending in which she lives. It would be a more modern take on the character, and Zendaya is a big-name star you’d want to keep around for marketing purposes. If Villeneuve is setting up a trilogy that captures the spirit of the books but alters a few details, Dune: Part Two could be setting up a modified story for Chani, one in which she has more tension and conflict with Paul, and perhaps, in the end, outlives him.

Dune: Part Two hits theaters on March 1, 2024.

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