Lead cast of dune then and now

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is shaping up to be a science fiction masterpiece. The trailer for the sci-fi epic released and you can watch it here:

The Premise

Dune was adapted from Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel about a futuristic society among the stars.

Dune was published as two separate serials in Analog Magazine. It tied for the Hugo Award and won the inaugural Nebula Award.

Set in the distant future where planetary colonization exists, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides.

Paul is the son of Duke Leto Atreides and lady Jessica, heir to House Atreides.

The family accepts the stewardship of the bleak, forbidding planet, Arrakis.

Arrakis, while unwelcoming is the only source of Melange or “the spice”, a drug that extends life and enhances mental abilities and necessary for navigation in outer space.

The story explores aspects such as the social, ecological, political, and technological aspects of a war between factions to control this coveted resource. 

 Earlier Attempts

Dune has a miniseries adaptation by Syfy in the 2000s but there were earlier attempts to bring the book to life.

Alejandro Jodorowsky was set to make Dune in 1974.

It was supposed to feature music by Pink Floyd, designs by H.R. Giger, storyboards by Moebius, and starring his own son, Orson Welles and Salvador Dali as the emperor.

Unfortunately, the project fell through when hey went over budget. The movie would have been 14 hours long.

In 1984, David Lynch directed the now-infamous Dune with music by the band Toto and an ensemble cast of actors.

The final product was less than stellar, with Lynch disowning the film with his name being replaced by Alan Smithee.

Alan Smithee is a pseudonym for directors who do not want to be associated with the films they made. However, it has developed a cult following over the years.

The 1984 version had an amazing cast of actors as does Denis Villeneuve’s attempt.

Villeneuve has stated that his version will be a 2-parter. The first movie will cover the first half of the book.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at who played who, then and now.

Paul Atreides

L – Kyle MacLachlan, R – Timothee Chalamet

Paul Atreides is the protagonist of Dune.

Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks fame portrayed the character in the 1984 version.

Timothee Chalamet will portray the same character in Villeneuve’s version.

Villeneuve compared Paul Atreides to Michael Corleone in the Godfather. “He’s training to be the Duke. But as much as he’s been prepared and trained for that role, is it really what he dreams to be? That’s the contradiction of that character. It’s like Michael Corleone in The Godfather–it’s someone that has a very tragic fate and he will become something that he was not wishing to become.” Chalamet also loves the David Lynch version.

Duke Leto

L- Jurgen Promchow, R- Oscar Isaac

Jurgen Pronchow played the patriarch of the Atreides family, Duke Leto Atreides who assumes stewardship of the planet Arrakis.

Oscar Isaac will be playing the Duke in Villeneuve’s version.

The Duke is wise and compassionate but is ruthless when disposing of his enemies. He shares a good relationship with Paul, his son.

Lady Jessica

L- Francisca Annis, R- Rebecca Ferguson

Francesca Annis played the Bene Gesserit concubine in Lynch’s version.

The 2020 version will see Rebecca Ferguson play Paul Atreides’ mother.

Chani

L – Sean Young, R- Zendaya

Chani or Sihaya is a Fremen that encounters Paul and his mother in the deserts of Arrakis.

Sean Young played Chani in 1984. Zendaya will be playing Chani in the 2020 version.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

L – Kenneth McMillan, R- Stellan Skarsgaard

The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is the primary antagonist of Dune.

The Baron’s house is feuding with House Atreides.

Kenneth McMillan played the Baron in 1984 with Stellan Skarsgaard playing the Baron in the upcoming remake.

Cunning, cruel, and morbidly obese, the Baron will definitely unsettle audiences.

Glossu Rabban Harkonnen

L – Paul S. Smith, R- Dave Batista

Gloss Rabba Harkonnen, more commonly known as “The Beast”, is the older nephew of Baron Harkonnen.

Paul S. Smith played the sadistic and tyrannical governor in Lynch’s version.

Dave “the Animal” Batista will be playing the cruel nephew of Baron Harkonnen.

Gurney Halleck

L- Professor Xavier, R- Thanos

The House of Atreides’ Warmaster, the noble, romantic, and loyal warrior, was one of Paul’s teachers.

A skilled weaponer and musician, he was played by Charles Xav- apologies, Patrick Stewart.

Josh Brolin, whose geek cred is now on another level, will be playing Halleck in the 2020 version.

Duncan Idaho

L – Richard Jordan, R – Jason Momoa

Duncan Idaho was the swordmaster of House Atreides. He trained Paul along with Gurney Halleck in the art of war.

He was also ambassador to Arrakis and developed a strong friendship with Stilgar, the Arrakian Freman tribal chief.

The late Richard Jordan played the swashbuckling swordsman in 1984. Aquaman Jason Momoa will be playing the modern-day version.

Dr. Wellington Yueh

L -Dean Stockwell, R- Chang Chen

A Suk doctor under duress by Baron Harkonnen, Wellington Yueh, a brilliant desperate doctor aids the Baron under the threat of harm to his wife.

The 1984 version saw Dean Stockwell play the good doctor while Chang Chen will play him Villeneuve’s adaptation.

Stilgar

L- Everett McGill, R- Javier Bardem

Stilgar Ben Fifrawi is the leader of Sietch Tabr, a Fremen tribe.

Hw is Chani’s uncle and a close friend of Duncan Idaho who enjoyed the respect of his tribespeople.

Everett McGill played the Arrakian Fremen in 1984 while Javier Bardem will take on the same role in Villeneuve’s Dune

Piter De Vries

L – Brad Dourif, R- David Dastmalchian

The cunning, twisted Mentat who served the Baron Harkonnen was responsible for the servitude of Doctor Yueh.

Brad Dourif played the Mentat in 1984 while Polka-Dot Man, David Dastmalchian will be playing him in 2020s’ Dune

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

L – Siân Phillips, R- Charlotte Rampling

The Bene Gesserit Reverend’s mother, Gaius Helen Mohiam, is the imperial Truthsayer and mentor to Lady Jessica.

The Reverend Mother the leader of the Bene Gesserit, is actively involved in the politics of the empire.

Sian Phillips played the reverend mother in 1984.

The current adaptation will see Charlotte Rampling become the new Reverend Mother.

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