Anya Taylor-Joy’s Dune 2 Role Makes Jason Momoa’s Return In Dune 3 Even More Important

Anya Taylor-Joy’s brief appearance in Dune 2 has significant implications for the upcoming sequel, meaning a return for Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho.

Dune 2 Anya Taylor-Joy and Jason Momoa

Anya Taylor-Joy’s surprise role in Dune: Part Two adds importance to Jason Momoa’s return in the upcoming sequel. 2024’s Dune: Part Two concluded an arc established in the 2021 film, with the story of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novel split between the two. Dune: Part Three has officially been confirmed, and it should directly adapt the sequel novel, Dune Messiah. The wait for Dune 3 should take a few years, but there’s plenty to theorize about regarding the source material and how it can be brought to the screen.

One of the many book changes in Dune 2 was the film’s handling of Alia Atreides. In the Dune book, Paul’s sister Alia is born as a sentient baby due to the Water of Life. In the film, Alia remains in Jessica’s womb, communicating with her mother from there. Later in the movie, Paul sees a vision of a fully-grown Alia, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. This has significant implications for the upcoming film, as Alia is the central protagonist of Dune Messiah. With Anya Taylor-Joy playing a lead role, there’s plenty to theorize about her character’s romance narrative in the sequel.

Jason Momoa’s Dune Return Can Fulfill Duncan Idaho’s Alia Romance Plot

Jason Momoa’s Character, Duncan Idaho, Returns As A “Ghola” In Dune Messiah

Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho looking concerned in Dune
Anya Taylor-Joy as Alia Atreides wearing a hood and nose tube with blue eyes set against a red background with floating numbers surrounding her in Dune: Part Two
Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho in Dune smirking
Duncan Idaho in a defensive position in Dune

In the 2021 Dune film, Jason Momoa played a supporting role as Duncan Idaho, the Atreides sword master who trains Paul, dying toward the end. In Dune Messiah, Duncan Idaho is brought back as a “Golah,” an artificially created human who’s brought back using the original person’s remains. While he’s sent as a spy involved in an assassination plot against Paul, Duncan Idaho’s Golah, also known as Hayt, forms a romance with Alia Atreides. How that romance translates to film is likely one of the critical questions involved in Dune 3’s script.

It’s an uncomfortable aspect of the book, as several questions of identity surround their romance. Alia is only 15 years old in Dune Messiah, while Duncan, Idaho, is an adult. Not to mention, whether the Golah is more Duncan Idaho or more Hayt is a substantial conflict in the novel. Dune Messiah is a fascinating follow-up to the original book for several reasons, but the challenging romance is one of the most difficult aspects of its adaptation. However, if Anya Taylor-Joy is cast in the role and Jason Momoa returns, it’s possible they could make it work.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casting Makes Alia’s Romance Story Better Than The Book

Anya Taylor-Joy Being Older Than Book Alia Fits Better For Movie Audiences

A composite image of Anya Taylor Joy over a background of dry desert Custom Image By SR Image Editor

With Anya Taylor-Joy being 27 and Jason Momoa 44, there’s still a considerable age gap between the characters, but it’s an improvement over the book. The world of Dune and contemporary society are very different in terms of what’s socially acceptable, especially given that Dune resembles a practically feudal system. Still, a Hollywood blockbuster has to appeal to its modern audience to a certain degree. Casting an adult actress who still has a youthful resemblance to play Alia is an ideal balance that won’t damage the story and won’t alienate audiences.

The Dune 2 timeline makes significant changes from the book in order to accommodate for Alia. While the Dune novel sees Paul fighting alongside the Fremen for years on Arrakis, these events are condensed to a matter of months. That way, Jessica doesn’t give birth to Alia during the film. Dune Messiah has a gap of years between films, so if Anya Taylor-Joy is to play a starring role, the timeline can be altered a bit more to adjust the narrative for her age. The books see a 12-year time jump, though it could be stretched out even more for the film.

Duncan And Alia’s Romance Will Still Be Difficult For Dune 3

Dune 3 Will Have To Establish A Lot Of Precedence For The Duncan Idaho/Alia Narrative

Dune cast poster

Denis Villeneuve’s decision to leave Alia out of Dune 2 may have been wise for some reasons, but it creates a noteworthy challenge going forward. Now, if Villeneuve doesn’t want to diverge entirely from the books, he will have the difficulty of introducing Alia at the start of Dune Messiah. The film could very likely retain Paul as the main protagonist, but she’s still a central piece of the story, and Dune 3 will have to provide an effective explanation for who she is, how she’s already an adult, and why she’s so vital, all the while kicking off the already complex narrative of the sequel book.

In the sense of Duncan Idaho’s return, the Gholas are another aspect of the Dune world that will be fresh for movie viewers. Finding ways to fluidly condense all the required information into an entertaining movie will be challenging, especially since the film is expected to be the third component of a trilogy. If the movie lingers too long on exposition, it can wind up being anticlimactic. Still, if anyone can do it, Denis Villeneuve proved with Dune: Part Two that he can carry on an entertaining narrative while introducing many new elements.

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