When the character of Baron Harkonnen’s favored nephew, Feyd-Rautha, was not present in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, there was much speculation about who was to play him in Dune: Part 2 where it was clear he would be a key character.

Sting famously played the role in the 1984 David Lynch version, and Matt Keeslar took it on for the 2000 mini-series. Many names were mentioned, but in the end Elvis and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler got the part.

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Villeneuve’s first instalment got to roughly the half-way point of the novel, so there is a lot of story left to tell, and new characters to introduce. Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) and Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken) will also join the cast. There is a galaxy wide conspiracy to reveal, and an insurgency to cover. We definitely will not be bored. Will we get to see a Guild Navigator?

One thing we do know is that the character of Feyd is a warrior. He is not a hulk like his brother Rabban. He is wily and adept at close quarters combat and knife fighting. Butler recently gave an interview to Backstage about how he had to train for the role:

“For Dune, there were different challenges [than Elvis]; there were certain physical things from the first meeting with Denis, what his vision was. I worked with this…Navy Seal who trained me for months beforehand just to get my body into a place where it was available to not only be an imposing physical presence but do whatever was asked of me.”

He also revealed that training started while he was still out promoting Elvis, and he had to train at night after press commitments. He says he is thrilled to be part of the world of Dune and working with Villeneuve:

“I love living in these other worlds… I just let it consume me. [He and I] really try to dig into the humanity of [the character]. It’s that thing of the bad guy in the world doesn’t feel like he’s the bad guy. He feels like he’s the hero of his own story. And that can be a hard thing with certain characters; with others, it’s easier, but you have to not judge the character, and you have to find a way to feel the motivation towards any one of your actions. So, we had a lot of conversations and crafted that together.”

Butler will next be seen in the mini-series Masters of Air, another World War II epic from Band of Brothers and The Pacific producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. There is also a rumor going around that he’s in the frame for a role in Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

Dune: Part Two opens in cinemas on November 3rd 2023 and may well be the Outposts most anticipated movie of next year.

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