Christopher Walken to Star in Forthcoming 'Dune: Part Two' as Emperor Shaddam IV

Christopher Walken will join Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two, which is based on Frank Herbert's science fiction novel

Christopher Walken attends the 8th Champs Elysees Film Festival : Day Four Paris, France
Photo: Laurent Viteur/Getty Images

Christopher Walken is stepping into the Dune franchise.

The actor, 79, has been cast in Dune: Part Two in the role of Emperor Shaddam IV, PEOPLE confirms.

Walken will join Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in director Denis Villeneuve's upcoming epic, which is based on Frank Herbert's science fiction novel. Rebecca Ferguson and Javier Bardem are also among others returning for the sequel.

Florence Pugh and Austin Butler are newcomers joining the series alongside Walken. Pugh, 26, will star as the Emperor's daughter, Princess Irulan, while Butler, 30, is set to portray Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the presumptive heir to the Harkonnen dynasty.

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Christopher Walken; Timothée Chalamet; Zendaya
Mike Pont/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images

The first Dune film in the new franchise premiered in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 22 and grossed $40.1 million in its opening weekend.

Days later, Legendary confirmed Dune: Part Two is officially in the works. "This is only the beginning..." the company posted on Twitter, along with an orange image reading "Dune: Part Two."

"Thank you to those who have experienced @dunemovie so far, and those who are going in the days and weeks ahead," Legendary added. "We're excited to continue the journey!"

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Chalamet previously celebrated the news of the sequel on Instagram in October 2021, posting the same image shared by Legendary on Twitter and simply captioning his post with three smiley faces.

He also thanked everyone for seeing Dune and his other release at the time, The French Dispatch, writing on his Instagram Story, "THANK YOU to EVERYONE who saw these movies in theaters this past weekend !!!"

"The movies exist because of the cast and crew but actually going to see them in theaters got it over the finish line !! So THANK YOU !!!!!" Chalamet added.

RELATED VIDEO: Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet Open Up About Their Instant Chemistry While Making 'Dune': "She Was Like a Breath of Fresh Air"

While few details have been revealed about the upcoming Dune sequel, Villeneuve, 54, told The Los Angeles Times he hopes to give certain characters more time to shine in Dune: Part Two.

"There are some characters that are less developed that I'm keeping for the second film — that's the way I found the equilibrium. We tried in this movie to stay as close as possible to Paul's experience," the director said. "Then, in the second one, I will have time to develop some characters that were left aside a little bit. That's the theory. I hope it will work."

Production on the film, Deadline reported, is expected to start in the fall. The film will then premiere next October. Villeneuve will also return as a screenwriter for the sequel, as well as a producer.

Dune: Part Two is set to premiere in theaters on Oct. 20, 2023.

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