Dune 2’s Biggest Change To Frank Herbert’s Book Explained By Denis Villeneuve: “It’s A Strong Curve”

Dune: Part Two makes a significant change from Frank Herbert’s novel, with director Denis Villeneuve explaining why the change was made.

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  • Villeneuve explains Alia’s portrayal as an embryo communicating with Jessica, played by Anya Taylor-Joy in
    Dune: Part Two
  • The change was made to increase tension and create momentum in the story, compressing time and highlighting Jessica’s power.
  • Villeneuve feels the change stays close to the spirit of the book, showcasing the power of the Water of Life and Alia’s transformation.

Dune: Part Two director Denis Villeneuve explains one of the biggest changes the movie makes from the source material. This change concerns Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and the way her child, Alia Atreides, was adapted for the sequel, which covers the second half of Frank Herbert’s beloved 1965 novel.

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Villeneuve explained the change that was made, which involves Jessica communicating with Alia as an embryo throughout the story, and Alia later appearing in a vision, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, whose involvement in the movie remained a secret. Read Villenueve’s comments below:

I was deeply happy with the fact that Anya accepted this challenge of playing a ghost and a secret. I cannot believe that we kept the secret that long. It required so much work to keep that secret. Everybody signed with their blood.

It came out of screenwriting discussions with Jon [Spaihts], when we were trying to figure out how to increase tension and create more momentum in the story. To put more pressure on Paul, we decided to compress time. We had this idea that we could create the feeling of the progression of time through Jessica’s pregnancy. I thought this was really fresh and original to have a character who is pregnant and still a powerful woman, a central figure of the story. I don’t remember having seen that, especially in a sci-fi movie, and it gave me the opportunity to develop ideas that were in the book. Having her talk to her fetus was a way to illustrate the power of the Water of Life, this substance that gives you access to the past lives of previous Reverend Mothers. It was a way to more precisely express how Alia becomes this abomination.

When we had this idea, it was like an epiphany for me. It was one of the final bricks of the screenplay. I don’t know how the fans will react, because it’s a strong curve that we took, but I felt that it was very close to the spirit of the book. I’m very happy with this idea.

Lady Jessica dressed in the elaborate robes of a Reverend Mother in Dune 2


Source: EW

Dune Part 2 Poster Showing Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Zendaya as Chani Holding Daggers

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two is the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film that covers the novel’s events by Frank Herbert. The movie continues the quest of Paul Atreides on a journey of revenge against those who slew his family. With insight into the future, Atreides may be forced to choose between his one true love and the universe’s fate. 

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

$122 Million

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