Unless Dune: Part Two miraculously releases today, it’s not soon enough.

There have been a number of acclaimed filmmakers making waves in the realm of epic sci-fi cinema in recent years, from the Russo brothers to Christopher Nolan. However, you can’t have a conversation about the state of the genre without gushing over Denis Villeneuve.

Such efforts as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 have been championed by critics and audiences alike, but perhaps his most ambitious blockbuster to date has finally arrived. Of course, we’re talking about Dune.

David Lynch adapted Frank Herbert’s influential sci-fi novel back in 1984 but many fans of the source material considered it a missed opportunity. Alejandro Jodorowsky once approached it too and it’s generally considered one of the greatest movies that never happened.

Fortunately, Denis was up to the challenge and the results are rather extraordinary.

Those familiar with the novel will be thrilled with how faithful the French Canadian filmmaker’s vision is. Those who aren’t so well versed in the book, on the other hand, may find themselves curious about a number of details.

Namely, why does the Emperor want to kill House Atreides in Dune?


Still from”Dune”, Warner Bros Pictures

Why does the Emperor want to kill House Atreides in Dune?

The Emperor has grown jealous of the House Atreides patriarch, Duke Leto (played by Oscar Isaac), and the family’s rapid rise to power. So, he decides to help the Harkonnen take them out.

In the first act of the film, we open with one of the Fremen, Chani (Zendaya), explaining that her planet of Arrakis has been colonized for its spice supply, forcing its native people to flock to the fringes after failed retaliation.

Due to the importance of spice – it makes interstellar travel possible – the Harkonnen have become even richer than the Emperor. However, the Emperor one day gives orders that the Harkonnen and its forces must leave the Arrakis. This immediately attracts Chani’s suspicion as she wonders who the oppressors will be next.

As it turns out, it will be House Atreides, although it’s swiftly established that rather than being tyrannical, Duke Leto is compassionate towards the Fremen and wants to relay that they’re no threat.

The Emperor has essentially handed the plant over to the Atreides, asking the Duke to be the planet’s steward.

Seizing the opportunity, he accepts and the family relocates from their native home of Caladan.

Dune | Final Trailer

Dune | Final Trailer

The downfall of House Atreides explained

Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) – the nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) – is furious with the Emperor’s betrayal, but the Baron enlightens him that it’s anything but. Speaking cryptically, he assures his nephew that a gift isn’t always necessarily a gift.

This suggests that the handover of Arrakis isn’t what it seems, with the Baron then clarifying that the Emperor has begun to see House Atreides as a threat to his power.

A sister of the Bene Gesserit later meets with the Baron and his men, communicating that the Emperor plans to supplement the Harkonnen frontline with warriors from his own military force called the Sardaukar. This is to ensure the devastation of House Atreides goes off without a hitch, but the Emperor’s involvement must not be revealed to others.

The Baron is granted permission to kill Duke Leto but is warned that his son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and wife, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) must survive in exile.

Yet, we soon discover that the Baron is unwaveringly ruthless and plans to kill both of them. After the plan is hatched, Harkonnen men and the Sardaukar arrive on Arrakis and the slaughter begins, with Duke Leto being captured and brought forth to the Baron.

Paul and Lady Jessica are captured but are able to utilize the Voice in order to escape.

“I was just going back to the Bible”

As we said earlier, it’s a faithful adaptation and majority audiences so far agree that Denis has achieved applaudable success with his take.

When chatting with ScreenRant, the director was asked what his secret was to really make Dune work:

“… the key for me was to really make sure that I was as close as possible to the spirit of the book. I think, for me, that was how I felt secure because my relationship with the book was so intimate that I was feeling I would be able to bring something out of it that will feel true to the nature of the book.”

He added: “I just kept my focus on Frank Herbert’s novel. That was my Bible. I kept it to this day with me; beside me, and it was my main source of inspiration. And when I was in doubt, I was just going back to the Bible, reading Dune again and finding my answers.”

He compared this approach to “a meditative process” and felt deeply inspired by “being close to this beautiful masterpiece.”