Javier Bardem Wants to Ride a Sandworm

A sandworm rises from beneath the ground in the new Dune movie as a person runs away in terror.

You ride a sandworm! And you ride a sandworm!
Image: Warner Bros.

Filmgoers who hadn’t read Frank Herbert’s Dune probably found it very curious thas two huge stars like Oscar winner Javier Bardem and pop icon Zendaya only appeared in the new movie for a short amount of time. By the time the film ended, however, the reasoning surely became clearer: Bardem and Zendaya play Freman, the desert people of Arrakis, who aren’t only the main characters in the second half of the book, but going into the sequels too.

Denis Villeneuve’s movie packs so much into its last few minutes, however, there’s a chance that point might not be clear. Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are found in the desert by a group of Freman, and after one challenges his mother, Paul fights him and defeats him in single combat. The victory is the moment that changes Paul’s life and as the film wraps up, there are shots of Freman riding sandworms as the group walks into the desert.

We’ve already written a bit about everything that should happen in Dune: Part Two, now that it’s been greenlit and set for release in October 2023. But a huge, huge part of that is Paul and his mother adapting to and embracing Freman culture. A culture that lives in the desert, prizes water above all else—even going so far as drinking water from dead bodies so it does not go to waste—and worships the beings that rule the planet, the sandworms. They’re also able to ride sandworms, and in one of the book’s best scenes Stigar (Bardem’s character) teaches Paul how to do just that, while Paul’s love Chani (Zendaya) nervously watches.

All of which is to say, Javier Bardem is going to get his wish. In a new interview with Deadline celebrating his SAG nomination for his role in Being the Ricardos, the actor expressed his biggest desire for the upcoming sci-fi sequel. “The only thing I’m asking is that I get to ride a sandworm,” Bardem told the trade. “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. ”

Um, Javier. It better happen or we’re all going to riot. Villeneuve made Dune into two movies specifically to not skip the best bits and riding sandworms is literally the best bit. Plus, from there, Stilgar goes on to become one of Paul’s most trusted allies in both Dune as well as Dune Messiah, while Chani marries Paul and has his children, all while remaining a fearless warrior.

Of course none of that is technically set in stone. Bardem says he has not read the Part Two script yet, but Villeneuve has previously said he expects to start filming by the end of this year. We can not wait.


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