02CC1: Stories Lost in the Sands

Wednesday - Dune: Imperium - Uprising

Last Saturday, we watched Dune: Part Two, and while we did enjoy the movie and the story that Denis Villeneuve has crafted across the two movies, there were naturally a lot of things from the books that didn't make it to the movies. While I do appreciate the story that the movies did manage to tell, naturally the fanboy in me felt their absence.

So here are a few things from the Dune book that I rather wished had made it to the movies.


Harah, Wife of Jamis - One of the weirder aspects of the book was how Paul inherits not just Jamis' water after killing him, but he also has the right to claim his wife as a spouse or a servant. As Paul is only about 15 years old at this point, he takes her as a servant to which she complains about not being that old. I figure she was dropped because treating women as property sounds really bad when viewed through a modern lens, plus the role she fulfilled in the book was to act as another parent to Alia and her bridge to the rest of the Fremen. More on that in a bit.

Paul the Mentat - Before it is determined that Paul is the Bene Gesserit Kwisatz Haderach, he first comes to the conclusion that he has the potential to become a mentat. He shows the aptitude for it and initially, he tries to come up with "prime projections" for how he and his mother can survive when they escape the Harkonnens. It's not a super essential part of his character, but it did help explain his more calculating nature overall.

Alia of the Knife - In the movie, Jessica becomes pregnant with Alia and because of the Water of Life, she is awakened prematurely in the womb. The book does a time jump of 2 years so Alia is a child with the mind of an adult - many adults in fact, as she is born a Reverend Mother with access to her genetic memory. She has a lot of creepy moments in the book and she unnerves the Fremen. Thus it's up to Harrah to stand up for her or at least help explain her strangeness to other Fremen.

Paul the Duke - In the movie, Paul's reluctance to initiate the jihad that will sweep across the Known Universe is translated into him denying anything that moves in that direction. This includes not setting foot in the south because of reasons contrived in the movie. But in the book, Paul was very clear about what he was doing and he made sure Chani understood the necessity of what he had to do. I get it that Denis wanted to heighten the message of Paul not being a hero and upgrade the involvement of the Bene Gesserit, but it's still a shame. Then Zendaya only got to do her angry acting. 

Liet's Dream - The Fremen learned planetology from Liet and their father as Imperial Planetologist. Thus they were already working on changing the climate of Arrakis, although the plan as a whole would take countless generations to achieve. But it was the sort of thing that gave them a singular purpose and that wasn't really stressed in this second movie. I liked the Fremen having a bit more agency and control over their future of their people.

Thufir, Captured Mentat - Thufir barely did anything in the first movie other than holding up a parasol, which is a waste of one of the most brilliant tactical minds in the imperium. He was totally absent from this movie, which skips over how he had become a Harkonnen subject and was forced to work for the Baron. Then again, Peter De Vries didn't play a very big role in the first movie either so that really stressed that the Baron isn't very dependent on Mentats. It's a shame though since things like Feyd's birthday gladiator battle was more a Thufir plan and ultimately he was trying to manipulate the Baron in his own way. Such a waste of a great character across the whole franchise.

Those are the big things as there's no point in obsessing over little things like Alia having been the one to kill the Baron or the weird communication ability that Paul shared with her. It's still a great movie and the impact of the two films has been massive. I never imagined that I'd live to see Dune memes all over social media and not just within very niche geek circles. And I know a lot of these things are pretty niche and Denis had to prioritize what made sense for the story he wanted to tell and what was just noise. 

But I'll miss the noise.