Adapting Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was quite tricky, given its proximity to Frank Herbert’s original work. While the film certainly lives up to the original book, as with any adaptation, a lot has been left out. Because the world of Dune is so close with different narrative elements, a lot has been lost in the book-to-movie conversion. But an important plot point was left out in Villeneuve’s film, which is an integral part of the story.
This major twist provides the context for the massive political scene Dune finds himself in. It helps connect Jessica and Paul’s roles as members of the Atreides family. While this twist will likely be revealed in the newly approved sequel, it would have been a highlight in the first film.
In Herbert’s version of the book, they hide in a tent after Paul and Jessica run away from the Harkonnens on Arrakis to avoid the circling ornithopters. This is the first time they have to decompress after the madness of the Arrakeen attack. They take stock of the loss of Duke Leto, Jessica’s lover and Paul’s father. As Jessica begins to suffer, Paul experiences one of her first moments of omniscience in history. Whether it’s the stress of the environment in their situation or the accumulation of herbs he breathes in the desert, Paul has a vision.
In the film version, we see his vision, but a critical scene is missing. As Paul considers many things, including his father’s death, he also sees many potential prospects at the same time. Though upset, he sees one essential thing: the bond he and Jessica share with Baron Harkonnen. It turns out that they are related to Harkonnens – the Baron is Jessica’s unknown and anonymous father.
This is a crucial and essential moment in the book: it shows a personal connection between the Baron’s anger and the target of the Atreides family. Surprisingly, Villeneuve omits this massive scene from the first film. Instead, this scene shows Paul seeing his father’s death and being overwhelmed by visions of a future jihad in which Paul is in power. Although Villeneuve was probably overwhelmed by the contents, he had undoubtedly not completely forgotten this critical detail.
This information is probably given in the second movie. Because of the wait, Villeneuve will likely release this information more dramatically and at the right time. The film is all about stepping up and challenging the main character, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he decides to pass this information on when the Baron and Paul finally meet, making their interaction even more crowded.
Since that moment would, of course, already have happened in the book, the delivery of this well-known compound has to be presented in a very different way. But it’s not the delivery method that matters.
It’s the information that matters – that Paul and Jessica are directly linked to their greatest nemesis, the Baron, who is the cause of Duke Leto’s death and destruction from their home. This is likely to be revealed when the stakes are highest, and Paul has more to lose, turning that information into something that could change everything.