We’re less than a week away! I can’t wait to slip on my stillsuit and ride a sandworm to the theater to watch the new Dune film, directed by Denis Villeneuve. There are a few things I’m hoping to see next Saturday when I settle in my seat to enjoy the movie. The film is telling half of the novel of Dune. If we are fortunate to get a sequel, they will adapt the remainder of the novel. While I can guess where the movies will split the story, some of my thoughts and suggestions might end up being more relevant for the sequel.
Rewrite the character of Baron Harkonnen: As I discussed in my review for my reread of Dune, the biggest blemish on Herbert’s classic novel is that the main antagonist, the Baron Harkonnen, is a shockingly harmful gay stereotype. The Baron is a gay pedophile. He spends many scenes in the book lusting and salivating over young, shirtless boys. David Lynch’s Dune adaptation featured the novel’s homophobia. I Villeneuve’s version adds more dimensions or layers to the Baron’s character. There is no problem with a gay villain, but the pedophilia needs to go! Even better, give the Baron more of a backstory. Maybe he was wronged by the Altreides family in the past, which would provide motivation for his deep hatred of them. They can go in many new directions with his character without largely impacting the story’s plot or themes.
Give Lady Jessica the Spotlight: I stan Lady Jessica. There are few mother figures in science fiction and fantasy that are as powerful and kick as much ass as Lady Jessica. She makes a lot of power moves in the novel and is a part of many dramatic scenes. Additionally, her struggle with being Duke Leto’s partner, but known as his concubine, not his wife is compelling. She has competing allegiances to the Altreides family and the Bene Gesserit, which is also fun to see play out. Watching the David Lynch film, I was not blown away by how Lady Jessica was portrayed. I hope she is given all the screentime she deserves in this new film. Fingers crossed Rebecca Ferguson pulls it off.
Properly Convey the Internal Thoughts / Mental Struggles: I think one of the things that makes Dune unique is most of the action and intense moments take place internally, in the minds of the characters. There are many physical fights and battles in Dune, but the internal struggles hold more importance. I hope the film makers find a way to properly convey the mental scenes from the novel. I’m sure it is tempting to focus primarily on the physical battles because films are a visual medium. But I think a successful adaptation of Dune needs to highlight the important internal events. Two of these key moments include the ingestion of the Water of Life and Paul’s ability to see across time and space.
And the trailer has already confirmed this was a success, but please make the sandworms look awesome! What are you hoping to see in the new Dune film?