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Dune Sequel Has “Much More Harkonnen Stuff” According to Director, Films This Summer

Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen floating like a champ

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part One managed to do something no other Dune adaptation has been able to do: succeed. The sci-fi adaptation may have be been a mixed bag for me, but there is no denying the passion and talent behind the scenes. Now, we are waiting for Part Two.

Villeneuve explained, during an exclusive with Empire, that he is still exploring the many parts of the Dune world.

“It’s like a chess game. Some new characters will be introduced in the second part and a decision I made very early on was that this first part would be more about Paul Atreides and the Bene Gesserit, and his experience of being in contact for the first time with a different culture,” Villeneuve said. “Second part, there will be much more Harkonnen stuff.”

The Haroknnens are the rivals of the Atreides family and responsible for the slaughter of Paul’s father, Leo Atreides; his close friend and menor, Duncan Idaho; and many other Atreides forces. When we close on Part One of the film, they have their “Empire” moment where the forces of darkness have triumphed over their enemies and are riding the high of their success.

Villeneuve altered some more problematic aspects of big bad Baron Harkonnen’s appearance from the books, not spending so much time on his large body and turning the hovering suit to an implant in his spine, and he has a shaved head rather than bright red hair.

Harkonnen is much more intimidating in line with the novels, but his most problematic trait has not been seen thus far: the fact that he is a pedophile whose sadism comes out in his treatment of young boys. I have been glad thus far that it has not been included, since one of sci-fi’s few gay villains being a child molester isn’t great (and, in context, feels like something added just to make him more horrifying.)

I am hoping that, rather than show more of that, it will illuminate how powerful the Harkonnen forces have become and bring in other aspects from the novels that will come up in the future—including the troubling truth about his secret child. Villeneuve is looking forward to returning to the world of Dune and plans on being there throughout the process, to “experience it, be present with it, every single moment of it.”

He confirmed that filming on the sequel will begin in this summer. “We are supposed to shoot by the end of the summer,” he said. “I will say it is mostly designed. The thing that helps us right now is that it’s the first time I’ve revisited a universe. So I’m working with the same crew, everybody knows what to do, we know what it will look like. The movie will be more challenging, but we know where we are stepping. And the screenplay is written. So I feel confident. Frankly, the only big unknown for me right now is the pandemic.”

We will see how it all comes together in 2023. Until then, remember, “fear is the mind-killer.”

(via Empire, image: Warner Bros.)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.