Who is Anya Taylor-Joy playing in Dune 2? The mysterious cameo explained

Anya Taylor-Joy at the Dune 2 premiere
(Image credit: Getty Images/Samir Hussein / Contributor)

Dune 2 picks up Paul Atreides’ story from the moment the first film ends, as he joins the Fremen people in their fight against House Harkonnen. Plenty of new faces join the cast this time around, including Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan and Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. However, there is one more cast member that the movie almost managed to keep under wraps: Anya Taylor-Joy.

After plenty of rumors that she was joining the cast of Dune: Part Two, it was confirmed when she stepped out for the film’s world premiere. However, the details of her cameo have been kept quiet until the sci-fi epic’s release. 

Well, the wait for Denis Villeneuve’s sequel is now over, and we finally know who she is playing. Below, we delve into everything you need to know about that, as well as explaining what the significance of her character is going forward. But before we do, a word of warning, we’ll be getting into big spoiler territory from here on out. So if you’ve not seen Dune: Part Two yet, bookmark this page for later.

Who is Anya Taylor-Joy playing in Dune 2?

Rebecca Ferguson in Dune

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Paul’s sister Alia Atreides. She appears very briefly in one of Paul’s visions after he drinks the Water of Life and falls into a coma. During this, he sees visions of the past and future, including one where Alia is walking with him. "I’m with you and I love you," she tells him as they walk through the desert. 

This is all we see of the character in the film, other than the moments she speaks to Lady Jessica from the womb. Speaking about keeping her casting a secret, Villeneuve told The Hollywood Reporter: "I think that Hollywood is the most gossipy town on earth and I wanted, as an experiment, to see how long we could keep a secret. We did it. It was a special unit, we went to Africa to shoot with Anya under super-secrecy. I just loved the idea to keep something a surprise for the audience until the very end; it was like a gift I wanted to keep for the fans."

While we don’t see much of her in the film, Alia has a big role to play in the Dune saga going forward, which the director has shared he is open to adapting.

Who is Alia Atreides in the Dune books?

Jason Momoa in Dune

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Alia is the daughter of Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica, born eight months after the betrayal of House Atreides. As we see in Dune 2, she possesses the consciousness of an adult Bene Gesserit despite being only a baby. In the novels, this means she is seen as an abomination by the sisterhood, and makes her a point of suspicion by those who encounter her.

In Dune’s sequel, Dune: Messiah, which is set 12 years later, Alia is described as an adult. Her character develops a relationship with ghola Hayt, who is Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa’s character in the films) brought back from the dead. They work together throughout the novel to unravel threats to the House of Atreides, before eventually marrying. Alia is also named as the Regent when Paul is absent, caring for his children.

Her role grows in the further Dune sequels too, but it remains to be seen whether these will be adapted. Villeneuve has been open about his plans for just one more film, before handing on the baton.

Dune 2 is out in theaters now. For more on the sequel, check out our spoiler-filled guides to:  

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.