Dune Movie Preview

Dune Movie Preview

Photo Credit: Google photos

By Elaine Clarke, Writer

Dune is famous for its complex characters and their already well established relationships, and its intricate worldbuilding and politics. Because of this it is important to know some background before watching the world of Dune unfold on screen in 2021.

Based on the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, Dune tells the origin story of the great Muad’Dib, or Paul Atriedes. His father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) becomes the steward of the planet Arrakis, better known as Dune. Trapped between conflict, Paul Atriedes (Timothée Chalamet), and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) embark on a journey through the complex planet and fight for its most important resource spice, a drug that enhances the body in different ways. Dune is set to contain the first half of the first book, splitting up the story into two movies.

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As simple as this story may seem, the book throws you straight into the world of Dune, and it is hard to understand what is happening at the beginning. Some common place terms in the novel are unheard of to the reader and might never get an explanation. This article will go through some of the basics to improve your viewing experience.

The book starts in a universe ruled by the Paddashi Emperor, a feudal empire that oversees many different plants and peoples. They control politics along with the Guild and the Bene Gesserit. Both the House Harkonnen and the House Atreides reside under the Paddashi, along with other Great Houses.

The Guild is an organization that controls the transportation and shipping. They have a monopoly over space travel and all faster-than-light space travel, which they use for power. The Bene Gessert is an ancient religious and political sisterhood that has influenced the empire for centuries.

Though not primarily a political institution, CHOAM plays an important role in politics in Dune. CHOAM stands for Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles, and it is an universal development company. This means that it invests in all trades, and has control over almost all economic affairs in the cosmos. It is owned and run by the Paddashi emperor and a board of noble Houses. The Guild and Bene Gerssrit work with them in the shadows.

After a great war with robots, humanity decided to ban the use of robots that were too similar to humans. People instead started to improve themselves. Mentats are humans that specially trained themselves to acquire skills similar to robots. They are hired for their superior intellect and strategy to help various political figures. The Bene Gersserit order took their enhancement in another direction, and started to evolve their bodies with extreme training of their nerves and muscles which account for their superhuman abilities. They are able to use their skills to do things like control someone and are skilled fighters. 

There are many characters in the novel, each with their own complete personalities and characteristics that define the book’s iconic rich narrative. Our main character is Paul Atriedies, a young boy of 15. Taught the special Bene Gesserit skills of his mother, Paul is gifted with pseudo-supernatural combat and charm. His mother Jessica is a Bene Gesserit “witch.” She was assigned to Duke Leto and is the Lady of house Atriedes.

Some important figure under the command of House Atreides are Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), Duke Leto’s weapons master, Thurfir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson), Leto’s mentat, and Doctor Yueh (Chang Chen), a Suk doctor trained with Imperial conditioning at Suk School. Imperial conditioning makes trained Suk doctors incapable of harming their charges. 

The residents of Dune, fremen, are opposed to the occupation of their planet. They live in the deserts of Dune, evading the sandworms and living in their stillsuits, special suits that trap waters like sweat, to clean and reuse as new drinking water. Water on Dune is the other most important resource, besides spice. People on Dune hold it to the highest regard, but none more than the Fremen. 

Dune is a classic work of science-fiction, and an essential read. Since the movie release date was pushed back to October 1, you might find the time to read this book and enter into the magical world of Dune.