Who Is DUNE’s Chani? Everything You Need to Know


Paul Atreides saw Chani in his dreams long before he arrived on Arrakis in Dune: Part One. She then appeared to him again in visions induced by the planet’s spice melange. Sometimes he’d see that beautiful young woman standing beside him as he ruled over the galaxy. In others Chani put a crysknife into his body. But in many the two embraced as one. Which fate ultimately awaits them in on the desert world? Who is this mysterious Fremen warrior destined to play such an important role in the young Duke’s life? Here’s everything you need to know about Chani before Dune: Part Two.

Who Is Dune‘s Chani?

Warner Bros./Legendary

Chani is a Fremen. Like her fellow natives of harsh Arrakis, she has sharp blue eyes thanks to extended exposure to the planet’s invaluable spice. The Fremen also worship Shai-Halud, the world’s giant sandworms, which they can ride atop.

She is a also a member of the sietch led by Stilgar, who trusts Chani’s formidable skills as a fighter. But while she is a highly capable warrior, she also has a caring and compassionate side. She gave Paul Atreides’ her ancestral crysknife before his duel with Jamis so Paul could die with honor.

After Paul killed Jamis and the Fremen welcomed him into their tribe, Chani warmly led Paul to see her people riding the sandworms. While Paul smiled as he followed Chani, the literal girl of his dreams, his mother Lady Jessica did not as she watched him walk away.

Why Did Paul Atreides Dream About Chani?

Dune: Part One raised the possibility Paul Atreides is the prophesied great hero known as the Kwisatz Haderach. For a thousand years the powerful witches in the Bene Gesserit crossed bloodlines hoping to bring forth a super being who would have a mind that could bridge “space and time.” Paul was not meant to be that person, but that doesn’t mean he’s not. His mother trained him in the ways of her order, but his “sight” only recently awakened.

His dreams also don’t always come true exactly as he dreams them. He can see multiple futures, which is why in some visions he sees himself kissing Chani while in others he sees her stabbing him. The same was true with Jamis. Paul saw and heard visions of Jamis both becoming a close friend and mentor just as he saw ones where Jamis murdered him. Only it was Paul who murdered Jamis.

Chani holds Paul's face in her hands in the Dune: Part Two trailer
Warner Bros./Legendary

Chani’s final scene in Dune: Part One made one of Paul’s visions about her true. He had already seen that exact moment of her smiling at him as the sun of Arrakis set behind her. Whether she will one day kill him or stand next to him as a holy war rages across the galaxy in his name is unknown.

Who Plays Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Movies?

Zendaya as Chani in Dune
Warner Bros./Legendary

Zendaya (Euphoria, the Spider-Man “Home trilogy) played Chani is Dune: Part One. She reprises the role in its sequel, Dune: Part Two.

Who Played Chani in David Lynch’s Dune?

Sean Young as blue-eyed Chani with her hair pulled back in David Lynch's Dune
Universal Pictures

Sean Young, also known for her roles as Rachael in Blade Runner and Lt. Lois Einhorn in Ace Venture: Pet Detective, starred as Paul’s lover Chani in David Lynch’s 1984 Dune adaptation.

What Will Chani’s Role Be in Dune: Part Two?

A Dune: Part Two poster of Zendaya's Chani looking to the side
Warner Bros./Legendary

Dune might be an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 sci-fi novel, but Part Two will have some surprises for even the series’ oldest fans. Zendaya’s Chani will have an expanded role in the story compared to her book counterpart who was primarily a love interest of Paul in the book.

What will that mean for both of them? What destiny awaits Chani and Paul now? For that you’ll need to either be the Kwisatz Haderach or wait to see Dune: Part Two when it comes to theaters on March 1, 2024.

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.


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