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Dune: Part Two – 6 major differences between the film and Frank Herbert’s original novel

Dune: Part Two is acclaimed filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s magnum opus. The film showcases cinematic excellence.

Dune: Part Two – 6 major differences between the film and Frank Herbert’s original novel

list hai toh hit hai

Last Updated: 09.23 PM, May 24, 2024


Dune: Part Two is acclaimed filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s magnum opus. The film showcases cinematic excellence through its thought-provoking narrative, complex characters, rich lore, stunning cinematography, and Hans Zimmer's vibrant sound design. The film will probably go down in history as one of the finest of the 21st century. However, Villeneuve and the film’s screenwriter Jon Spaihts have taken a few liberties from Frank Herbert’s original novel. So, here are six major differences between the film and the original novel, for today’s episode of List Hai Toh Hit Hai podcast.

Gurney Halleck’s character arc

One of the film’s most pivotal characters is the former War Master of House Atreides, Gurney Halleck, played by Josh Brolin. He is also a friend and mentor to the story’s protagonist, Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides. In Dune: Part Two, the narrative omits the subplot where Gurney Halleck mistakenly believes that Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica played by Rebecca Ferguson, betrayed House Atreides, and he attempts to murder her.

Lady Jessica’s parentage

In the film, Lady Jessica learns of her true parentage that she is the daughter of Baron Harkonnen, when she drinks the Water of Life. However, this revelation in the book occurs much earlier, during one of Paul’s spice-induced visions.

Chani’s stance on the prophecy

Chani, played by Zendaya, has a more significant impact on the narrative in the film when compared to her book counterpart. The Fremen warrior and Paul’s interest is depicted in the film as being staunchly against the prophecy of the Lisan al Gaib or the off-world prophet or messiah propagated by the powerful sisterhood, the Bene Gesserit, and that Paul Atreides is the Fremen messiah. However, in the book, Chani believes in the prophecy and Paul’s supposed messianic role.

Southern Fremen fundamentalists

Denis Villeneuve and the film’s writers have gone to great lengths to add more depth to the lore created by Frank Herbert. The film introduces the concept of two factions of the Fremen from the north and south, with the southern Fremen being more zealous in their religious beliefs. While the northern Fremen, which includes Chani, are sceptical about the prophecy of the Lisan al Gaib, the southern Fremen, like Javier Bardem’s Stilgar are ardent proponents of the prophecy.

Alia’s role as a fetus

Another key difference in the film is the lack of a two-year time jump between the first and second story. Dune: Part Two takes place immediately after the events of the first film. The absence of a time jump has resulted in a few alterations to the original story. Alia Atreides, the sister of Paul, is not born in Dune: Part Two, she is instead depicted as a fetus with psychic abilities who communicates with her mother Lady Jessica. In the original story and David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation, Alia is a hyper-intelligent toddler.  This approach avoids the challenge of portraying a toddler on screen who can speak with greater intelligence than most adults, while still highlighting her character’s influence. In Dune: Part Two Paul has visions of an adult version of Alia, played by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Paul and Chani’s unborn child

In the book, Paul and Chani have a son, Leto, named after Paul’s later father Duke Leto Atreides, played by Oscar Issac. The child is, however, tragically killed during a Harkonnen attack in Arrakis. This major plot point from the novel is omitted, significantly changing the personal stakes for both Paul and Chani in the film adaptation. It could have also helped establish why Paul decides to wage ‘the holy war’ at the end of Dune: Part Two.

That's all for this episode, until the next one it's your host Nikhil signing out.

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  • Written by Ryan Gomez
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