Denis Villeneuve Explains How He Changed Dune

Denis Villeneuve Explains How He Changed Dune

Dune is considered to be the most famous work of Frank Herbert, and a lot of people were happy when it was finally adapted to the big screen by Denis Villeneuve. One particular change was the character of Chani (Zendaya) who was more supportive of Paul Atreides in the book, but Villeneuve said that he changed her character in order to address something that Herbert himself was disappointed about the novel.

In a recent appearance for Vanity Fair, Villeneuve explains, “When the first novel came out, Frank Herbery was disappointed the way the book has been perceived. He felt that the readers were thinking that Dune was a celebration of Paul Atreides—but right the opposite. His intentions were to make a cautionary tale, a warning toward messianic figures. In order to correct that… he wrote another book, Dune Messiah.”

In order to outright give the audiences a character who was actively criticizing Paul, Villeneuve decided to make use of Chani, who was just a subservient wife in the book. Villeneuve explains:

“What I did is that I transformed Chani’s character. I made her more prominent. In the book, Chani kind of disappears, dissolves into the shadow of Paul… There’s nothing special apart that she’s Paul’s lover.

“There was a strong opportunity there. A character that could help me to have a distance, have a critical distance to Paul Atreides… Through her eyes we understand what Paul becomes and in which direction he goes, and which transform the movie not into a celebration, but as Frank Herbery was wishing, more of a warning.”

Considering that Chani gives birth to a bunch of human/worm beings in the future books, it’s curious how Villneueve will aim to move forward with this specific change in the character. It’s possible that Chani could still be bearing Paul’s children, but maybe we could see her be the one to actually murder Paul, just like we saw in his visions way back in the first movie.

Until Dune: Part Three gets the official greenlight, all we can really do is wait.

For now, catch Dune: Part Two now showing in theaters.


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