A big role like the head of an entire galaxy needs a big-name actor to fill it. Luckily, it looks like Dune: Part Two is going to deliver on this front. Deadline brings word that Christopher Walken has joined the cast of the upcoming sequel as the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.
The emperor was mentioned throughout the original Dune as the one who tasked Duke Leto Atreides and his family with relocating from Caladan to Arrakis. In Frank Herbert’s novel, it was also revealed that he was threatened by the Duke’s rising popularity within the Imperium, and only ordered his family’s move to provoke the ire of Arrakis’ previous stewards in House Harkonnen, who had been locked in a bitter feud with House Atreides for centuries. Shaddam also commands the fanatical soldiers in the Sardaukar army, who disguised themselves as Harkonnen agents during the family’s siege on Arrakis in the previous film.
Walken won’t be the first actor to embody Shaddam onscreen. In 1984, José Ferrer played the role in David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune. Year’s later, Giancarlo Giannini brought the character to life in SYFY’s Frank Herbert’s Dune miniseries. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson also fleshed out the emperor’s backstory in their Prelude to Dune trilogy of novels, which chronicled Shaddam’s ascension to the throne.
Walken most recently appeared in the BBC series The Outlaws, which aired on Amazon Prime in the U.S. He also had a main role in Apple TV+’s Severance. Aside from Walken, the new film will introduce two other new characters. Florence Pugh will co-star as Shaddam’s daughter, Princess Irulan. Additionally, Austin Butler is a lock to play Baron Vladimir Harkonnen’s nephew, Feyd-Rautha. Denis Villeneuve is also returning to direct the sequel from a script he co-wrote with Dune collaborator Jon Spaihts.
Dune: Part Two will hit theaters on October 20, 2023.
Do you think Walken is a good choice to play the emperor in the sequel? Give us your impressions in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Dune (Penguin Galaxy)
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.