The shadowy Padishah Emperor is spoken of many times throughout “Dune” as the primary force behind the upheaval of Arrakis, but never actually seen. This isn’t the case with the novel, as all those references finally builds to an actual appearance at the very end. It’s expected that “Dune: Part 2” will pull directly from the latter half of the book and possibly take some creative liberty to truly establish his presence, so we’ll likely get to see quite a bit of the Emperor in the flesh. Despite his obviously antagonistic role, Herbert implies that this complicated individual actually regrets the political differences between the Imperium and Duke Leto Atreides, who ideally would have married into the Emperor’s family had circumstances been more ideal. Instead, he allows his Sardaukar legions of highly-trained soldiers to assist the Harkonnens in overthrowing House Atreides.
In terms of who should portray this enigmatic figure, we’re staying on this “The Green Knight” theme after Keoghan. Ralph Ineson brings the eponymous Green Knight to life through a mix of heavy prosthetics, his booming voice, and the piercing glint of his eyes. The sense of regal authority and menacing myth he brings to the proceedings feels like a perfect match for the Padishah Emperor … and doubly so if Ineson is inexplicably wearing the exact same makeup and prosthetics as he did in “The Green Knight.” Think about it! It wouldn’t exactly make much story-specific sense in “Dune” since the Emperor is, you know, a human and all, but who let the facts get in the way of a good narrative? Try and convince me that it after keeping him in the background for an entire movie, having Ineson in full Green Knight get-up step out of the shadows wouldn’t be one hell of a payoff. As the leader of this particular movement, I have no choice but to demand that we be taken seriously.