Would Robot Zendaya Love Me If I Was a (Sand) Worm?

Zendaya’s robot suit at the Dune: Part 2 premiere. Photos by Samir Hussein/WireImage.

Sure, I’ve been looking forward to the unheard-of-almost-spice-abetted efficiency that will come from practicing my fisting technique on the Official Dune: Part 2 Popcorn Bucket while imbibing said film at the exact same time (I’m a busy person), but I have to say that the current attempts at creating a Dune film franchise leave something to be desired in the costume department.

We’ve cast aside, it seems, the sumptuous weirdness of the costuming in David Lynch’s Dune (or in the traditional dress of just about any population to have ever existed on the planet) in favor of Manly Earth Tones and Explosions. But yesterday Zendaya, infamous player of gay and actress playing Dune’s Chani, decided to show up to the London Premiere of Dune: Part 2 in an outfit that would make Alia Atreides gasp (and she’s seen everything). And yes, while C3-PO has been trending since Zendaya walked the carpet, I don’t want to hear any “when is a gift not a gift?” shit about this look, because this outfit is GIVING.

And when the reactions are humorous instead of just whatever people manage to type while also picking their jaws of the floor, the jokes are, for the most part, delightfully just about what a cold, hard, viciously gorgeous look this is. But where did it come from? You might actually recognize some touches of the Avant Garde style of the late French designer, Theirry Mugler.

Mugler famously designed this dress worn by Cardi B, who described him as “one of the FIRST designers to take a major chance on me.”

Dune: Part 1 was not a very queer movie, nor do I anticipate Dune: Part 2 being so. But the books were one of this queer’s childhood favorites. If I had to unpack a sand-worm-sized part of it, it would be my light childhood obsession with the Bene Gesserit… because there’s nothing hotter to a young, coming-of-age raised-Catholic bisexual than a bunch of space nuns secretly running everything and just hanging out by themselves, you know? As gal pals.

So, thank you for coming here to enjoy this robot Zendaya outfit with me and to ask the eternal, ancient, empire-disrupting question: “would you love me if I was a worm?” It’s a question the girls, gays, and theys — who are as unsure about whether or not someone loves them as Leto II is — have been asking for millenia. If you’re a Dune fan, I hope that when the time comes, that you enjoy your popcorn (from the bucket’s orifice to yours). And don’t forget to let me know if you spot any gay space nuns in the near future.

Afterthought: I put Fury Road on last night while I was working late, from like 10 to midnight I think, and between that and the look at the Harkonnens in the trailer for Dune: Part 2, I’m starting to think all great future-set action movies, by necessity, need some kind of “blood boys.” Will someone check this theory? How many other movies feature blood boys? And are they all a romp?

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Nico Hall is Autostraddle's A+ and Fundraising Director, and has been fundraising and working in the arts and nonprofit sector for over a decade. They write nonfiction and personal essays and are currently at work on a queer fiction novel and podcasts. They live in Pittsburgh. Nico is also haunted. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram as @nknhall.

Nico has written 222 articles for us.


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