The scheming nephew of the villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen does not appear in Villeneuve’s Dune

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

The Los Angeles Times details changes made in adapting Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen:

In one of the biggest departures from the novel, the film changes the gender of the character of Liet Kynes, a planetologist who has a deep understanding and love for Arrakis and its native people, the Fremen. In Herbert’s book, Kynes is a man but in the film she is a woman, played by British actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

The switch was suggested by Spaihts as a way to make the story feel more up to date.

“Herbert’s novel is, to some extent, an artifact of its time and it definitely skews male in ways that don’t feel completely contemporary now,” he says. “Of all the messages in the story, the message brought by Liet Kynes of planetary stewardship, of the preciousness of resources, of the necessity of building bridges to local communities to sustain ourselves going forward — those are modern messages, and it seemed right to modernize the messenger.”

Even after splitting the book into two movies, there were still some elements that Villeneuve decided to pare back to avoid overloading the film with too many characters and subplots.

Memorably, if campily, played by Sting in Lynch’s movie, the character of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen — the scheming nephew of the villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Skarsgard) — does not appear in Villeneuve’s “Dune.”

At the same time, the characters of Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and Piter De Vries (David Dastmalchian) — cognitively super-powered “mentats” who work for the Atreides and Harkonnen families, respectively — have less prominent roles in the film than they do in the novel.

“British” actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster is, of course, black.

I suspect most of Dune’s fanbase would opt for more mentats.

If you haven’t read it, it could be described as Star Wars meets Game of Thrones. I recently enjoyed the audiobook version.


  1. Freddo says:

    After all the posturing by Hollywood and other MSM, it will take a miracle to make me actually spend any money on their products, rather than using bittorrent. Making the movie “more contemporary” certainly isn’t that miracle.

  2. Altitude Zero says:

    As David Cole would put it, they made Liet Kynes a black woman, because of course they did…

    I’ll be giving this one a pass, to put it mildly.

  3. Contaminated NEET says:

    “skews male in ways that don’t feel completely contemporary now”

    How pathetic. It’s Dune. It’s not supposed to feel contemporary at all. It’s supposed to be a jarring mix of far future and the past. Do Emperors, Dukes, and swordfights “feel completely contemporary”?

  4. Senexada says:

    The left has captured the means of artistic production, and are using it to rewrite history and advance their agenda. While they remain in control of the apparatus, I expect the trend to continue apace.

  5. Albion says:

    I don’t know why there is an issue with a black woman (sorry, I refuse to use the approved capital B here) in ‘Dune.’

    Recently we in Britain learned via Woke TV that Henry VIII had a black wife, the unfortunate Ann Boleyn who was beheaded.

  6. Anomaly UK says:

    Not really sure how much a movie about warring space-faring Dukes, all-female eugenic cults, and even more bizarre others is an artifact of its time.

    I never expected the movies to make the story of Dune make sense — by itself, it’s about twice a complex as A Song of Ice and Fire. But those changes destroy the story.

    The society of the Great Houses is aristocratic and patriarchal, and that is the trigger for the entire story — Jessica bears a son to please her lord, in spite of instructions from her order to bear a daughter.

    The breeding plan behind those instructions was to marry the daughter to Feyd-Rautha. And the knife duel with Feyd-Rautha is the dramatic climax of the book.

    The society of the Fremen is moderately primitive and also patriarchal, and Liet-Kynes takes a Fremen wife, who produces Chani, so that must get messed up.

    Again, it was never going to be able to tell the whole story, even if it tried, so it’s not all that disappointing. The visuals look great — like the Lord of the Rings movies, it may work as a “scenes from…”, without actually standing alone as a story.

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