Dune 2 star Zendaya talks Chani's battle in the sci-fi sequel and why it makes that conclusion even more "heartbreaking"

Zendaya in Dune: Part Two
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Although both 2021's Dune and this year's Dune: Part Two ultimately focus on the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), Zendaya's character Chani plays a critical role too. In the sci-fi sequel, she is also placed at the forefront of the story, with director Denis Villeneuve describing her as his "secret weapon" to telling this chapter of the tale.

We won't go into spoilers here, Chani goes on a significant personal journey in Dune: Part Two, reexamining her relationship with the Fremen community, her faith, and even Paul. 

Arguably the purest character in Dune, Chani isn't interested in pursuing power or a prophecy that could lead to the deaths of millions. Speaking to GamesRadar+, Zendaya revealed that she thinks Chani is the "most human" of all the Dune characters, meaning she hopes that audiences will feel connected to the young fighter.

The actor explains: "I think she's one of the few people that is just human - she’s not a Bene Gesserit, she doesn't have access to every resource in the world, she's really in a defensive position and all she has is herself, and her love for the people around her, and her fierce protection of them. 

So, that's all she cares about, just trying to do right by the people she sees every day, the people that she loves and cares about. I think ultimately, that's kind of the endpoint as an audience, feeling like you connect to a human character. And I think if anything, she's the most human because she doesn't have anything but herself to rely on."

As we follow Chani, Paul, and co. on this adventure, everything builds to an emotional finale - if you have read author Frank Herbert's beloved novel, you will already be aware of how jaw-dropping it is. According to Zendaya, the personal battles Chani faces throughout the film only make this conclusion more "heartbreaking".

She continues: "Ultimately, trying to find love in that I think was interesting because of what Paul represents to her. I think the fear and the pain that he represents, or what the figure of him represents, and trying to reconcile with that inside of herself, when she ultimately just wants to do the right thing, I think is very difficult. I think it's a battle that she's constantly having inside of her, on top of the one she's literally being faced with. So yeah, I think it just makes for an even more heartbreaking conclusion."

Dune: Part Two is in theaters worldwide now. For more, check out the rest of our coverage on the movie:

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.