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A Dune Part 2 Handbook : The Definitive Glossary (Read Before Seeing the Movie!)

The scorched plains of Arrakis are calling us back, and as we slip into our stillsuits and prepare to ride the cinematic sandworm all over again, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two is here. 2021’s Dune only adapted part of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, leaving plenty of meat on the bones for an epic concluding chapter.

For those who skipped out on Villeneuve’s first movie or simply need to brush up on all things Herbert, we’d recommend reading up on who is who and what is what in the Duniverse before going into Part Two. Don’t worry if you struggle to tell your Mahdi from your Muad’Dib because we’ve got you covered with our “Dune for Dummies” 101. 

Arrakis

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Although we visit a lot more planets in Dune: Part Two, the action is again largely confined to Arrakis. This war-torn planet is the only known depository of spice in the galaxy, meaning it’s been fought over for centuries.  

This inhospitable planet is on the outskirts of the Imperium and is known for its sprawling deserts of sand — hence, its alternate name of Dune. The first movie started with House Atreides answering the call of Emperor Shaddam IV and relocating to Arrakis to replace House Harkonnen as its fiefholder.

Despite its barren landscape, Arrakis supports indigenous life, flora, and fauna that have all adapted to its harsh conditions. Dune ended with House Harkonnen attacking the capital of Arrakeen and overthrowing the Atreides. It’s here we pick up Part Two

Buy Tickets to Dune: Part 2 HERE

 

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Spice melange

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Spice melange makes the world go round in Dune, with the hallucinogenic drug having healing properties, helping extend lifespan, and even unlocking precognition in some. It’s an especially valuable commodity because spice powers intergalactic travel.

Prolonged usage of spice leads to the signature blue eyes of the Fremen, but in larger doses, it can prove lethal. Withdrawal from spice has to be a slow process because it could be fatal. Remembering that Dune was first released in the ‘60s, spice is thought to be a fictionalized version of real-life drugs like LSD. 

Spice is harvested from the surface of Arrakis, but with heavy machinery usually being involved, it often attracts the Sandworms to attack. By the time we get to Dune, spice is being heavily controlled by the Emperor, and space travel is limited.

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House Atreides

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The core of the Duniverse is House Atreides. One of the many Great Houses, the Atreides relocated from their home planet of Caladan to Arrakis in Dune: Part One. Paul is the only son of Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and Leto (Oscar Isaac), with the latter perishing toward the end of the first movie. 

Part Two picks up with Paul and Jessica now living among the Fremen. With Paul revered as some sort of spice messiah, Jessica is promoted to Reverend Mother of the Fremen and sets about spreading the word of Paul across the galaxy. 

These aren’t the only Atreides we see, and as most assume Paul is dead, the last three Atreides men meet their maker at the hands of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler). Paul isn’t the house’s only hope, thanks to Jessica being pregnant with his unborn sister, Alia Atreides. Those who’ve read Children of Dune will know Anya Taylor-Joy’s Alia will play a very important part in the third movie. 

Buy Tickets to Dune: Part 2 HERE

 

House Harkonnen 

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House Harkonnen are an albino band of bald brutes who’re seen as the villains of the first two Dune movies. Ruled by the tyrannical Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård), House Harkonnen descends from what was Finland on ancient Earth and are long-term enemies of House Atreides.

Aside from the Baron, Dune: Part Two sees the return of Dave Bautista as his nephew, Glossu Rabban Harkonnen. New to the mix is Rabban’s unhinged younger brother, Feyd-Rautha, who is declared as the Baron’s successor.

We get to visit the Harkonnen homeworld of Giedi Prime for one of Part Two’s best scenes — set in a monochrome colosseum. While House Harkonnen nearly goes extinct, we know the bloodline will continue in the form of Léa Seydoux’s Lady Margot Fenring carrying Feyd-Rautha’s child.

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Fremen

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It’s not just ancient houses warring over the throne, as multiple other factions are in play here. Namely, the Fremen of Arrakis are caught in the crossfire of the Great Houses and their political problems. 

Arrakis’ natives have learned to live off the desert and are known for their blue eyes and fearsome fighting skills. The most skilled of these fighters are the Fedaykin. There are thousands of Fremen hiding in sietches (communes) across Arrakis, largely split between the North and the fundamentalist Fremen of the South.

Religion and prophecy unite the Fremen, and when one of their own dies, they recycle the water from their body and place it in a sacred pool that can’t be drunk from. Alongside Javier Bardem’s Naib Stilgar, the other most important Fremen in Part Two is Zendaya’s Chani. As well as being Paul’s love interest, Chani is a major feature of his visions. 

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Stillsuit

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The surface of Arrakis can be an inhospitable place, but there’s a reason the Fremen have been able to survive. When out on Arrakis, a stillsuit is used to preserve the body’s moisture.

A stillsuit’s many layers absorb sweat and urine, filtering them through catchpockets and recycling them into drinkable water. Even though you can survive for weeks in the desert, it’s still important to conserve water. 

Later on in Herbert’s novels, the progress of Arrakis’ transformation into an oasis was calculated by when Fremen no longer needed to wear stillsuits when in the open air. 

Buy Tickets to Dune: Part 2 HERE

 

Sandworm

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Even those who’ve never seen a Dune movie will know about the giant Sandworms. Known as the Shai-Hulud to the Fremen, these giant creatures aren’t just a threat to life on Arrakis. Making their way around underground and then bursting to the surface to attack spice harvests, few realize that Sandworms actually produce spice when their bodies break down.

Fremen have learned how to wrangle Sandworms and travel across the surface of the planet on them, leading to some of the franchise’s most iconic scenes. It’s also the Sandworm that secrete the sacred Water of Life, and because of this, they’re revered as gods by the Fremen.

Herbert was inspired by the dragons of European mythology for the Sandworms, with Beowulf’s dragon being a particular reference point. Sandworms have become synonymous with Dune, having novels named after them and appearing on many covers. More recently, the viral Dune: Part Two popcorn bucket has fans seeing Sandworms in a completely different life. 

Buy Tickets to Dune: Part 2 HERE

 

Kwisatz Haderach