Florence Pugh is without question one of the most in-demand actors under thirty. She has numerous projects due out over the next couple years, including Olivia Wilde’s much anticipated Don’t Worry Darling, she’s one of the potential Madonnas (and is rumored to be Madonna’s preferred pick), she’s currently filming Oppenheimer with Christopher Nolan and half of Hollywood, and, of course, is on call for Marvel as the new Black Widow. But wait, there’s more! Because Pugh is also in talks to join Dune 2—which should be titled Dune Part Deunx, LET ME HAVE THIS—as Princess Irulan, the daughter of the emperor. This would reunite Laurie and Amy March, pleasing little women everywhere.
This casting news comes with a lot of caveats, though. For one thing, the Madonna movie has no current schedule so no one knows if that would be a conflict, should Pugh win the role. Warner Brothers would like to shoot Dune 2 this summer, but maybe that’s a conflict for Madonna, who knows. There’s also a thing called “first priority” which is the ranking of an actor’s various contracts. Marvel, having gotten to Pugh first, will have first priority. If they need her, she has to go. Though Marvel, like any studio, tries to be accommodating in order to maintain good talent relations, sometimes these scheduling conflicts do happen. Jeremy Renner, for instance, had to drop out of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master back in the day because production conflicted with The Avengers. And, finally, maybe she’ll hate the script, which isn’t finished, and decline the role. Like I said, lots of caveats!
Also, Princess Irulan is the daughter of Emperor Shaddam, also being cast right now, and a lot of Dune comes with descriptions, er, influenced by Middle Eastern/West Asian culture (Paul Atreides literally calls his anti-imperial war a “jihad”). The first film was criticized for using signifiers of MENA/WANA culture with little substance to back those choices up as anything but coopting aesthetics. Will the second film do any better? Doesn’t seem like it!