Lately, Denis Villeneuve has been having a grand old time in outer space. In 2016, he made the critically acclaimed Arrival, with Amy Adams, which earned him best picture and best director nominations at the Academy Awards; the following year, he released Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited successor to Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi film. Next, he’ll take on the legacy of Frank Herbert’s beloved novel Dune—originally adapted in 1984 by David Lynch—with a feature-length adaptation starring, well, just about everyone.
Really. Since casting announcements first began rolling out last year, it seems that the film is being populated with ever more stars in pretty much every role. (The A.V. Club went so far as to describe the casting as “reckless,” threatening to “use up Hollywood’s entire supply of blockbuster stars.”) Timothée Chalamet was the first to join, signing on to play Paul Atreides, the young nobleman played by Kyle MacLachlan in Lynch’s (it bears saying, not especially warmly received) original adaptation. Charlotte Rampling, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, and Stellan Skårsgard quickly followed; Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson were added as Chalamet’s parents; and, most recently, Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa, on furlough from the Marvel and DC Comics universes, respectively, announced they’d also be joining the production.
But there are still a few key roles to fill (and a lot of roles, generally; the Dune universe, especially when expanded to its four sequels, is pretty twisted and sprawling)—ones that either, like Sting playing Feyd-Rautha in the 1984 adaptation, deserve as equally bizarre a billing, or, like with Princess Irulan, are actually pretty indispensable to the story. Here, we have a few ideas for who might be best suited to fill some of the still-vacant players who were featured in David Lynch’s film but have yet to show up in the Denis Villeneuve universe.
Raffey Cassidy as Alia Atreides Alicia Witt made her film debut playing Paul Atreides’s younger sister in the 1984 film; Lynch was apparently so taken with her performance as a younger sister that he went on to cast her in a small role in Twin Peaks, as the younger sister of Donna. For the new film, we’d like to see someone with just as much younger-sibling experience: Raffey Cassidy, of The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Vox Lux. (Runner up: Thomasin McKenzie, with her well-documented resemblance to Timothée Chalamet.)
Lakeith Stanfield as Thufir Hawat In the Dune universe, computers are forbidden, so an elite set of humans act as computers. They’re called “mentats.” Thufir Hawat starts out as the mentat for the Atreides family, but he’s soon corrupted by the Harkonnen family (the Harkonnen patriarch will be played by Skarsgård in the Villeneuve remake). Though he’s played by British actor Freddie Jones in the original, who says he can’t be a bit younger? There’s nothing we’d like more than Lakeith Stanfield doing his best hyper-rational android impersonation.
Bill Skarsgård as Feyd-Rautha Sting played Feyd-Rautha, the Harkonnen clan’s own heir, in the 1984 film, which, okay. But with Skarsgård playing the Baron Harkonnen, why not keep this in the family? We can easily imagine Bill Skarsgård of It tackling the role of the Dune universe’s own Ramsay Bolton quite handily.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Piter De Vries Actor Brad Dourif always looks just a little unhinged, and that includes his turn as another mentat, Piter De Vries, in the original Dune. So does Aaron Taylor-Johnson—think, for example, of his totally deranged character Douglas in Outlaw King—so let’s go with him.
Jodie Comer as Princess Irulan The eldest daughter of Shaddam IV, the corrupt emperor of the known universe, is also Dune’s foremost historian; excerpts from her writings act as epigraphs for each chapter in the book. We can’t imagine anyone better than Jodie Comer, whose evolution from The White Princess to Killing Eve demonstrated she can do just about anything, to play the role, originated by Virginia Madsen. She’s already proved she can play royal scion pretty well, after all.
Donald Sutherland as Shaddam IV, the Emperor Post-Hunger Games, can anyone play an evil overlord except for Donald Sutherland? Sutherland would take over the role first played by actor José Ferrer.