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Javier Bardem’s screen time in the upcoming Dune sequel is likely to eclipse that of the first film, where his character of Stilgar steps forward late in the movie as Paul Atriedes (Timothée Chalamet) wins acceptance among Stilgar’s Fremen.
But even though Bardem doesn’t know what director Denis Villeneuve has planned for his character in the upcoming second film, his wish list for Stilgar's second big-screen outing is pretty simple: just let him hop aboard a sandworm.
Speaking recently with Deadline on his recent Best Actor nomination for a Screen Actors Guild award (for his role as Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos), Bardem confessed he’s happy to leave his character’s destiny to Villeneuve’s capable direction. But, he added, surfing the sands on the back of one of Arrakis’ terrifying desert dwellers would definitely be a bucket-list achievement.
“I haven’t read anything yet, so I’m not sure what’s coming up next for me in Dune,” Bardem said. “I know as much as you do at this point. I hear there are scripts but I haven’t read anything. I cannot wait to put myself into the hands of Denis Villeneuve again. I love the guy.”
That said, there’s always a little more love to go around, and touring Arrakis aboard a sandworm — just as Stilgar does in author Frank Herbert’s original novel — seems to be the ticket straight to Bardem’s spice-infused sci-fi heart.
“The only thing I’m asking is that I get to ride a sandworm,” he joked. “Denis told me he’s going to try to make that happen. That does happen in the book, by the way. Stilgar teaches Paul how to take the desert power, which is to domesticate those huge animals in order to use their force, their strength, and their huge size against the Harkonnen. Hopefully, that will happen.”
Villeneuve said last fall that he’s hoping to get Dune: Part Two into theaters as quickly as possible, while the first installment is still relatively fresh in fans’ memories — even as he eyes the story setup for a possible third and final Dune film (based on Herbert's 1969 novel, Dune Messiah). In the meantime, he’s already taken on another adaptation from one of science fiction’s iconic authors — this time at the helm of an upcoming film based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Rendezvous with Rama.
There’s no word yet on when that film is set to arrive in theaters, though Dune: Part Two is currently scheduled for October 20, 2023. We’ll definitely be strapped into our stillsuits and keenly scanning the sandy horizons, all for a glimpse at whether Bardem actually gets the chance to live out his sandworm-taming dreams.