He is not even sure she really exists, but a young woman with the luminous blue eyes is beckoning Paul Atreides as his family prepares to journey to a hostile, but economically vital, alien world. Timothée Chalamet’s character in Dune begins as soft, privileged, and scared. (That’s why Jason Momoa’s veteran brawler Duncan Idaho teases him about his skinny frame in the new trailer.) But the woman with the blue eyes sees potential in Paul. Others with much grander and more manipulative schemes do too, but she’s the one who helps him see it in himself.
Given that she’s such an ethereal presence in Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel and, presumably, in filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation, it’s surprising how front-and-center Zendaya’s mystery woman is in the new trailer. We see Chani dressed in battle armor and the moisture-preserving “stillsuits” that allow humans to survive on the blistering desert world of Arrakis. We see her smiling, exposed to the elements in a more relaxed, windblown robe. And we see the two of them together, each with the azure eyes that signify exposure to the mind-expanding spice that is plentiful on Arrakis and makes it such an important galactic battleground.
Paul’s father and mother, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) have been dispatched to oversee the spice mining operations, which are under constant threat from the subterranean behemoths known as sandworms. But their rule is also threatened by the House of Harkkonen, (led by Stellan Skarsgård and Dave Bautista) who are a tribe of brutal conquerers who want the planet and its unique natural resources for themselves.
Zendaya’s Chani is part of the Fremen, the closest thing Arrakis has to an indigenous human population. Led by Javier Bardem’s Stilgard, the Fremen choose to live in the inhospitable wild rather than in the climate-controlled complexes of the spice-seeking colonizers. The trailer is only 3 minutes and 39 seconds long, but for those who know Herbert’s story (or, at least, the first half of the book that the movie covers) it actually covers quite a bit.
It will seem more mysterious to those unfamiliar with the story, but like Chani does herself in those dream missives to Paul, it hints at big, impressive things to come.
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