Austin Butler is in talks to join the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part 2” as the villainous Feyd-Rautha, the sadistic nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and the heir to the Harkonnen empire. The role is one of the most important new characters appearing in “Dune: Part 2.” A source close to the project told Variety that Butler is in “the very early stages” of joining the film. Butler joins the franchise alongside Florence Pugh, who was announced earlier this week as being in final negotiations as Princess Irulan.
With his casting in “Dune: Part 2,” Butler joins the returning ensemble of Villeneuve’s franchise that includes Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya and Javier Bardem. Production on the sequel is expected to start this summer, and the film is slated to hit theaters on Oct. 20, 2023. Butler’s role of Feyd-Rautha was played by Sting in David Lynch’s infamous 1984 film adaptation.
Butler is the star of Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming “Elvis,” which also comes from “Dune” studio Warner Bros. The musical biopic is rumored to be world premiering at Cannes ahead of its June 24 theatrical release. Butler’s additional credits include a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” He first broke out as a cast member on the ABC Family series “Switched at Birth.” Butler’s upcoming projects also includes a role in the Apple TV Plus limited series “Masters of Air.”
Villeneuve teased “Dune: Part 2” earlier this year in an interview with Empire magazine, saying, “Some new characters will be introduced in the second part and a decision I made very early on was that this first part would be more about Paul Atreides and the Bene Gesserit, and his experience of being in contact for the first time with a different culture. Second part, there will be much more Harkonnen stuff.”
“Dune” grossed nearly $400 million globally and snagged 10 Oscar nominations, including nods for best picture and best adapted screenplay. Villeneuve was snubbed in the best director category, an omission that produced some blowback.