Fans Disappointed by Zendaya's Limited 'Dune' Screen Time, but Filmmakers Promise More in Sequel

Dune director Denis Villeunevei recently said, "In the second one, I will have time to develop some characters that were left aside a little bit"

Some Dune fans expected to see more of Zendaya in the sci-fi film.

The new film debuted in theaters and on HBO Max Thursday, bringing the epic, futuristic world of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel to life, but one takeaway some viewers had was disappointment that Zendaya didn't play a leading role despite being a major part of Dune's marketing campaign.

"The credits were longer than Zendaya's camera time in Dune," tweeted one person, while another added, "Am I the only one disappointed that I only saw Zendaya for like 15 minutes in DUNE? I waited over 2 hrs to see her speak on screen. All the other actors were incredible too. But I was like WHERE IS SHE?!"

According to the Los Angeles Times, Zendaya appears on-screen for about seven minutes total across Dune's 2-hour-and-35-minute run time.

In the movie, the Emmy winner, 25, plays Chani, who bookends the film as a narrator and appears in snippets throughout in dreams of the protagonist Paul, played by Timothée Chalamet. Spoiler alert: The two characters finally meet at the end of the movie, when she tells Paul, "This is only the beginning."

Director Denis Villeuneve recently explained to the LA Times that this movie covers about half of the novel, with more story to tell and more Zendaya to come as her character soon takes the forefront.

"There are some characters that are less developed that I'm keeping for the second film — that's the way I found the equilibrium," he said. "We tried in this movie to stay as close as possible to Paul's experience. 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."

On Tuesday, Legendary, the production company behind the film, confirmed that a second Dune installment is in the works, slated for release two years from now in October 2023.

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet attends the "Dune" photocall At Le Grand Rex on September 06, 2021 in Paris, France.
Kristy Sparow/Getty

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Earlier this month, Zendaya told Good Morning America while promoting the film alongside Chalamet, 25, that "this is really only part one" to "such a beautiful story."

"There's so much more to explore with these characters, with this world," she added. "I think Denis has done a beautiful job of setting it up for those who maybe haven't grown up with it in the same way. I would love to be able to revisit these characters. I got a little small, small bit of time to hang out with everybody, and I would absolutely love to do it again. Because I feel like I learned so much. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life."

Also in the cast are Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Dave Bautista and Charlotte Rampling.

Zendaya told PEOPLE about working with Chalamet, "I'm just so grateful that this experience has been with this guy because he's massively talented but also such a good person. We've been able to have fun and become great friends."

Dune is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

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