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Answering all your pressing Dune inquiries – Monomaxos

Dune: Part Two has arrived! Following a lengthy delay (attributed to the dual SAG and WGA strikes) and a meticulously orchestrated marketing strategy that featured captivating initial glimpses, teasers, and a dazzling mesmerizing fashion exhibit Extravaganza as part of a promotional excursion, the subsequent segment of Denis Villeneuve‘s enthralling science fiction saga is finally making its way to theaters.

While many ardent enthusiasts of dune that I am acquainted with revisited Villeneuve’s part One or delved back into Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel in anticipation of its Second part, I, Kara Warner, charted a different course: I opted for a fresh perspective. In simpler terms, I did not view part One and refrained from delving into Herbert’s literary works – not due to a calculated scheme, but simply because I missed the premiere of part One in theaters and had no intention of watching it on my 42-inch television screen.

I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Second part: The visuals were as breathtaking as anticipated, and the ensemble cast delivered commendable performances. Nonetheless, a few inquiries lingered in my mind regarding the characters, their realm, planets, politics, breathing apparatus, and the rationale behind Timothée Chalamet‘s character sporting an array of names. For amusement’s sake, I compiled a list and forwarded it to my colleague, Anthony Breznican, our in-house dune specialist. Always amicable and genuinely informative, Anthony addressed even the most frivolous queries with grace, adding the following disclaimer: “I managed to furnish responses to the majority of these inquiries.” Some necessitated research, while others… well, I fashioned responses on the spot. Venture through our exploration of dune questions and corresponding answers below. Oh, and a word of caution, the first segment encompasses substantial spoilers for dune. The second installment contains major spoilers for Dune Part Two.


Where/when do we exist in time?

It’s somewhat nebulous, but dune unfolds in a period thousands upon thousands of years ahead, where humanity has embarked on voyages to settle distant planets. This era is so remote that what we might perceive as a distant future actually represents the antiquity of the characters within Dune.

What galaxy is this?

It coincides with our galaxy – as far as I am aware. Frank Herbert’s glossary for the novel denotes that Arrakis, the desert world, is positioned as “the third planet of Canopus,” a star in our own Milky Way. Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky, lingers at a distance of approximately 310 light years, visible solely from southern latitudes. A 1899 publication titled Star names and their meanings penned by astronomer Richard Hinckley Allen posits that the term Canopus likely originates from an ancient Egyptian phrase denoting “golden earth” – a striking connection on Herbert’s part or an intriguing coincidence considering Arrakis’s nature.

What exactly is “spice”?

This exceedingly rare mineral, exclusive to Arrakis, parallels the effects of meth or LSD, albeit with the added traits of prolonging life and enhancing cognitive capabilities. The viability of interstellar travel within dune is contingent upon pilots whose mental faculties are augmented by spice. A coveted resource, sparking intense competition among factions. Exposure to spice is indicated by azure eyes.

Which planet does Timmy originate from, and how did they arrive at this arid planet?

Paul Atreides portrayed by Chalamet hails from a regal lineage under the reign of Duke Atreides (Oscar Isaac, whose character met his demise in the initial film). Their origins trace back to Caladan, a planet characterized by expansive oceans and a Scandinavian climate. The House Atreides relocation to the desert expanse of Arrakis was engineered by the Emperor (potrayed by Christopher Walken in Second part) to oversee the management of the spice extraction.

How does one ascend to the role of emperor in this chaotic realm?

Dispatch a multitude of UPC symbols cleaved from cereal box lids. Alternatively, secure the tenth caller slot in a radio competition.

Wait, who are these Bene Gesserit sisters? Covert rulers of the universe?

Indeed. Subterranean galactic monarchs interwoven into the power structure (such as Rebecca Ferguson assuming the mantle of The Duke Atreides following Oscar Isaac’s involvement) with a penchant for steering events towards their favor. Methodical in their approach, the Order has steered societal evolution over centuries to realize their desired outcomes. A key aspect of their design revolves around identifying the prophesied figure embodied by Chalamet. The Bene Gesserit thrives on prophecies, particularly those they actively catalyze.

What are the behavioral guidelines concerning sandworm encounters? Is evasive dancing always the solution?

Sandworms are enticed by rhythmic stimuli, hence a subtle shuffle serves to divert their attention. To a sandworm, a steady gait equates to chum in water for a shark. Yet, when stationed upon solid ground, the worry of attracting sandworms wanes. The option of evasive dancing is sometimes disregarded in haste, necessitating rapid movement due to the swift arrival of sandworms.

All your burning Dune questions answered

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures