As geeks, we’re no stranger to books that require a map, an appendix, and a glossary just to make sense of it all (I’m looking at you, Messers and Madams Tolkien, Stephenson, Carey, and Bishop). I must admit that the last time I read Dune, reading the glossary and appendix at the end before reading the rest of the book actually made the whole thing much easier to dive into.
But a reference sheet seems like it would make less sense appearing with a movie anywhere outside of an academic environment. One might argue that if the audience really can’t pick up all those details from just watching the film, there’s something wrong with the filmmaking (in the case of novels with reference materials, one might also argue that there’s something wrong with the writing, but that’s a very thorny geek issue indeed).
Nevertheless, according to Blastr, Universal was so worried about David Lynch’s Dune that they actually created a two page glossary to be handed out with tickets to the movie.
In their defense, David Lynch’s Dune was deeply weird. In David Lynch’s defense, Dune is deeply weird. In Frank Herbert’s defense, he actually wrote the least weird books in the Dune series. In Dune‘s defense… sandworms.