Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue?

Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue
Also referred to as melange, “spice” is the most precious substance in the galaxy, and the asset upon which the universe’s economy is based. Spice is an incredibly addictive drug that when consumed in great quantities can offer certain people special powers.

Spacing Guild navigators, for example, use spice to be able to pilot ships that travel at faster-than-light speed through folded space. As such, the Spacing Guild has a monopoly on interstellar travel, giving them great power, and a keen interest in the continued production of spice. (Fortunately, that’s a very complicated topic that isn’t super important to the movie.) Arrakis, the desert planet where the majority of Dune is set, is the only source of spice in the known universe.

Melange is produced by the giant sandworms that roam the deserts. The Fremen, the main inhabitants of Arrakis, consume spice regularly (it’s a central ingredient in food on the planet), and are essentially dependent on the substance. Prolonged exposure to spice is the reason all of the Fremen have blue-on-blue eyes. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Warner Bros. Pictures via AP The Fremen inhabit Arrakis, and at the start of Dune are ruled by House Harkonnen, one of many Great Houses in the empire. Most imperial leaders consider the Fremen to be an underdeveloped culture, but are unaware of the group’s true strength, level of technology and population across the planet.

Some Fremen live in major settlements, most notably Arakeen, the planet’s biggest city, but far more lived across the desert in Sietches – communities of Fremen located in cave systems, protected from the harsh conditions on the surface. Notable Fremen: Chani (Zendaya), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), Liet-Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) A sisterhood of superhumans who have developed incredible mental powers, often referred to as “witches” by those who distrust or are wary of them.

The Bene Gesserit are a powerful political organization, and through selective mating and gene control are seeking to produce a chosen one, the Kwisatz Haderach, an all-knowing, prescient messiah. Bene Gesserit sisters are intensively trained in special schools.

Reverend Mothers are experienced Bene Gesserit with greater authority who survived a ritual involving the Water of Life. Bene Gesserit also administer Gom Jabbar tests, which you’ll likely see early on in Dune, As you’ve no doubt seen in the trailers by now, when Paul Atriedes (Timothee Chalamet) puts his hand into the scary box and is made to feel unimaginable pain, a Bene Gesserit will hold a Gom Jabbar (a poisoned needle) to his neck to incentivize him to complete the test.

Notable Bene Gesserit: The Lady Jessica, mother of Paul Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson), Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) Mentats are human computers. In the world of Dune, computers and “thinking machines” have been banned for thousands of years, and as a replacement, Mentats have been trained to perform computer-like computations and complex analyses.

In the books and in Dune (1984), Mentats had red-stained lips as a result of drinking sapho juice, a liquid that enhances their abilities. It looked ridiculous in the old movie, but this time around, it appears Mentats have been given a dark lip tattoo instead. Notable Mentats: Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson), Piter de Vries (David Dastmalchian) There is precious little water on Arrakis, so technology has been developed to preserve and recycle every bit of bodily fluid possible.

A stillsuit is a tightly-fitting garment that reclaims water from sweat (and, yes, even urine and feces) in catchpockets, and includes a tube that allows the wearer to drink as they walk around the desert. Fremen-made stillsuits are the best around, and enable the wearer to lose just a “thimbleful” of water a day, allowing a person to survive long treks even without carrying additional water.

Why does Paul Atreides have blue eyes?

Why Zendaya’s Eyes Are So Blue in ‘Dune’ –

In the books and the film, the blue eyes are related to “spice,” a psychedelic drug that plays a key role in (not to be confused with the real-world synthetic cannabinoids often known as spice).Spice, which is also called melange in Herbert’s 1965 novel, is found among the sands of the desert planet Arrakis, the home of the Fremen.The drug comes from the excretions of the younger form of the sandworms that are native to Arrakis, altered by heat and pressure (and the water that lies deep below the planet’s surface) into melange.Used as a psychedelic, the substance also has a second function that is crucial to the galactic economy—it gives its taker the ability to see a little into the future, which is called prescience.

After computers were outlawed in the world of Dune (it’s a long story), spice became crucial to navigation through space. That is why the Harkkonens and then the Atreides were willing to harvest it despite the huge dangers of sandworm attack. Similar to oil-rich countries in the real world, the noble houses that have large amounts of spice also amass great wealth and international influence. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Zendaya in “Dune.” Her character has bright blue eyes. Warner Bros. Villeneuve’s film removes some of the moral judgments about spice in the book. Herbert’s novel states that blue eyes are a result of being addicted to spice. Perhaps not wanting to imply that an entire race is addicted to drugs, Villeneuve includes a scene explaining that the Fremen’s eyes have turned blue simply because of their constant exposure to spice in the sands of Arrakis.

How did they make people’s eyes blue in Dune?

The overall approach to the VFX of Dune – b&a: Paul, it would be great to sum up your thoughts going into this huge project in terms of what you wanted to achieve, what Denis wanted to achieve and what you thought were the hardest things going in. Paul Lambert (overall visual effects supervisor) : From the outset, the goal for the visual effects was to try and keep everything as grounded and as photoreal as possible.

We weren’t going to have any virtual cameras which could only be done in CG. We wanted to embrace all of the natural environments which we were going to visit. This was also one of the most collaborative projects I’ve been on, in that the DOP Greig Fraser was fantastic, Patrice Vermette the production designer was fantastic, everyone was.

We all got on really well and had a similar goal to try and come up with the best procedures and the best techniques on set to be able to give us the best basis for our visual effects work. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Image Courtesy of DNEG © 2021 Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Image Courtesy of DNEG © 2021 Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. We spent a good six months in pre-production, coming up with various schemes and various different ways in which we were going to approach the work. I knew from the outset that Denis is not a big greenscreen or bluescreen fan.

If anything, it kind of depresses him to see anything like that. So we had to be creative to come up with different ways in which we could get everything we needed for visual effects knowing that we were going to be extending backgrounds and creating these amazing worlds. For example, for the interiors of the ornithopters, traditionally, you would shoot these inside of a studio up against a greenscreen or a bluescreen.

Now, the one thing which we weren’t going to do was to try to recreate daylight inside a studio, especially for when we’re trying to recreate the desert environment. I had done First Man with Tristan, and Greig Fraser had shot the first season of The Mandalorian, so obviously we talked about LED screens for potential sequences.

  • But Greig knew that there was no way we could get that harsh, arid, hot, bright environment with an LED screen.
  • So, that idea was abandoned pretty early on.
  • Well, we did actually do one sequence with LED screens set in space above Arrakis which at one point was going to open the movie, but that never made the cut.

We knew that whenever we wanted something to be outside, we were going to shoot it outside. So what that meant, for example, for the interior ornithopter work, we went out and scouted and found the highest hill in Budapest, and we built our gimbal on top of this hill so we could get a nice flat horizon, and then around the gimbal we constructed a 25 foot high sand-colored 360 degree ramp.

  1. What we called it was the ‘dog collar’, which circled the entire gimbal, the idea being that when it was a bright, sunny day, the sun would bounce off the dog collar into the ornithopter giving us the ideal lighting.
  2. Now, the ornithopter was just like a glass bowl, so it was getting light from every direction.

That’s how we shot it, with the glass in, we had the actors inside the ornithopter and we had Greig on the camera. Say Greig had focused on Paul (Timothée Chalamet) or Leto (Oscar Issac) and everything was out of focus in the background, it almost looked as if you were over the desert. But then for the overall sequence, which included the flying, what we did was we had shot hours of footage flying over the UAE in a helicopter with six cameras mounted in an array to get super massive resolution plates. What the artists did back at DNEG was, rather than doing a full extraction on those plates, because we had such subtle reflections, and we had reflections of reflections, instead of trying to extract that and produce a composite–you would basically be trying to rebuild those reflections and just starting again–so it was more of an overall blend between the elements.

What that gave you was, you kept all the reflections, you kept all the subtleties which we shot, and it made for a far more believable composite. The general philosophy of the shoot for the movie was in that particular vein. For example, another one is when the Sardaukar are coming down in this massive structure and they’re trying to attack the Fremen.

It’s a sequence which Brian had supervised. Again, with this structure, which we called the Nexus, they’re actually coming in through a daylight opening in the structure, and Patrice spent forever trying to find a place in which we could do this, where we could have enough space, with natural sunlight coming through.

But we couldn’t find anywhere suitable. So in the end, we took two of the studios in Budapest, and we connected the two studios with cloth along the top, basically made a massive box connecting the two studios, cut out a hole at the top, and we had sunlight pouring into this area. Now, we could only shoot for two hours in the day, because obviously, with the changing position of the sun, the light would be pushed up against the wall rather than on the floor where we needed it.

But being able to get the ideally lit plates, which we could then extend out, was instrumental to the believability of the scene. I was always saying to Greig, ‘Look, Greig, we’re in a position in visual effects that you can give me any footage and I can put any background behind it.

  • I could put Disneyland behind you right now.
  • But if the foreground doesn’t correlate to what the intent is in the background, there’s not much we can do.’ b&a: I want to ask Brian and Tristan about that from DNEG’s perspective.
  • Brian, what is that like, getting as much real as possible, say for those environments that Paul mentioned? Brian Connor (visual effects supervisor, DNEG) : Well, for me, it’s a blessing, and it’s almost a luxury to have all of these environments and set pieces and machines built for real, and be outside, especially, but inside as well.

I’m definitely not an actor by any stretch, but I don’t have to pretend I’m there on Arrakis or at the Space Port or just in one of the massive, almost cavernous sets. You’re definitely there, you’re immersed. The lighting is all there. The visual reference that I need to add more ornithopters, it’s all in camera.

  1. All of the answers for things we need to add or to extend things, which is a lot of what we did, it was already on a massive set.
  2. It just makes our jobs easier, because we’re grounded in reality.
  3. Of course we’re doing all of the data wrangling to add to that.
  4. So later in dailies with the laser pointer, we can point to the real thing, it makes it easier.

Usually we have to study the image and the sequence and try to figure things out. It makes it that much easier to add that higher level of photorealism to the shot, in general. b&a: What about you, Tristan? What’s your perspective on that as well? Tristan Myles (visual effects supervisor, DNEG) : The answers are always in the plate. It’s been shot that way, so you have perfect reference to work with. And as Paul has already mentioned, with the use of the sandscreen, you’ve got the tone and the luminance in the plate for the background already, a little nudge here or there and you’ve got quite a decent edge around the guys to work with.

  1. So you don’t end up with these cut-out characters against backgrounds, which you sometimes get with greenscreen shots.
  2. I quite like that way of working.
  3. Plate is sacrosanct, keep as much as you can.
  4. If you do any work, it’s got to sit in with that plate and that lighting.
  5. Paul Lambert : We were never in a position on set where the idea was we would ‘fix it in post’.

That mentality never came up. Everybody was on the same page of trying to do the best they could on set. Yes, obviously, things did get through. Sometimes when you put up a greenscreen or a bluescreen, certain parts of the crew switch off, because it is going into post.

  1. So, certain things don’t get cleaned up because it’s going to post anyway, and we never had that.
  2. Just to what Tristan was saying, the sandscreens were something which we came up with in pre production.
  3. We had the backlot in Budapest, just outside the studios, where basically we covered this massive area.

Rather than a traditional blue or green, we actually covered it in sand color. So that was our screen, the idea being that because this was generally going to be Arrakis or it was going to be the desert, it was going to be that color. We were about a month into this, building all these screens, and we had big 20 by 20 screens on the backlot and I was walking with one of the producers, and he said, ‘Paul, how are you going to do this? This is all going to be roto’.

  1. What I did then was I took a picture on my iPhone of the set, and then I brought it into a standard app and I made a negative of it.
  2. And then I showed him, and that’s when he realized that the entire thing was a bluescreen.
  3. It’s just a little trick.
  4. Even though the intent was to try and do it with an inversion, I know that some compositors actually swapped channels instead, but the idea was that as long as it’s a constant color, you can pull the key from that.

The fact that it was sand colored was very relevant to Dune, obviously, because we had a sand colored world.

Do the Fremen have a God?

Characteristics – In the series, the “native” Fremen of Arrakis live in communities called sietches, each with its own leader who has ascended to the position by challenging his predecessor and proving himself the strongest in the tribe. The Fremen system of justice relies primarily on trial by combat, and individuals may challenge each other hand-to-hand duels to the death over matters of etiquette, law, or honor.

The victor of these challenges becomes responsible for the wife, children, and certain possessions of the defeated. The Fremen pay enormous spice bribes to the Spacing Guild to keep orbital space above Arrakis free of spy satellites, and they have a long-term plan to terraform the planet. Each sietch also has a Sayyadina, a wise woman trained in the spiritual traditions of her people who can serve as a spiritual leader or as an acolyte to a holy woman who is the Fremen version of a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother,

A significant part of the Fremen mythology has been created by the Bene Gesserit Missionaria Protectiva, an arm of the matriarchy which practices “religious engineering” by introducing contrived myths, prophecies and superstition among the populations of the Empire with the intent to later exploit them to the advantage of an individual Bene Gesserit or the entire order.

In the case of the Fremen, a messiah legend has been put in place that is utilized in Dune by Paul Atreides to secure the safety of himself and his mother Jessica. The Fremen have a language unique to them, but also use Chakobsa for ritual purposes. The Fremen worship the giant sandworms of Arrakis as manifestations of the earth deity they call Shai’Hulud.

Though they cross the desert on foot in a specifically nonrhythmic pattern to avoid vibrations that would attract the deadly and destructive creatures, the Fremen are also able to ride the worms by “calling” and mounting them in a ritualized, controlled manner.

What is the Fremen God?

Religion – This article is a stub : It may require more information. Religiously, the Fremen were deeply spiritual, to the point of being superstitious. Before the coming of Muad’Dib, the Fremen of Arrakis practiced a religion whose roots in the Maometh Saari were there for any scholar to see.

Many also traced the extensive borrowings from other religions. The most common example was the Hymn to Water, a direct copy from the Orange Catholic Liturgical Manual, calling for rain clouds which Arrakis had never seen. But there were more profound points of accord between the Kitab al-Ibar of the Fremen and the teachings of Bible, Ilm, and Fiqh.

Over the centuries the Fremen had adapted their blend of Zensunni faith to their desert environment, and adopted the sandworm of Arrakis (or Shai-Hulud as they called it) as a physical manifestation of a God, This, combined with the sparse natural resources on Arrakis led to the Spice Melange becoming an integral part of their diet and culture.

Does Paul Atreides become blind?

Dune Messiah – In Dune Messiah (1969), Paul has been Emperor for twelve years. His jihad has killed sixty billion people across the known universe, but according to his prescient vision, this is a fate far better than what he has seen. Paul is beleaguered by a need he sees — to set humanity on a course that does not lead to stagnation and destruction, while at the same time managing both the Empire and the religion built around him.

  • A Fremen conspiracy attempts to assassinate Paul using a stone burner,
  • The attempt fails, but the effects of the weapon destroy Paul’s eyes.
  • Although he becomes physically blind, his prescience allows him to “see” by tightly locking in reality with his prescient visions.
  • Despondent as a result of his prescience, Paul faces another assassination attempt by a conspiracy of the Bene Tleilax, the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild.

This attempt, made using a ghola (a resurrected clone) of Paul’s friend and mentor Duncan Idaho also fails, but the ordeal seemingly helps the Duncan ghola to regain his memories. At the same time, Chani dies in childbirth, bearing twins: a boy, Leto II, and a girl, Ghanima (which means “spoil of war”).

Paul, who did not foresee the birth of twins, loses his prescience after Chani’s death and becomes truly blind, although he conceals this. With a knife over the babies, the Tleilaxu Scytale offers to make a ghola of Chani and restore her to life, in exchange for all of Paul’s CHOAM holdings and his effective abdication from the throne.

However Paul, seeing through his newborn son’s eyes, kills Scytale. Immediately afterwards, the dwarf Tleilaxu Master Bijaz makes the same offer regarding the Chani ghola; Paul orders Duncan to kill Bijaz. The blind Paul then walks into the desert to die alone, in accordance with Fremen law.

Are the Fremen human?

The Fremen live on Arrakis – Though they are not native to the desert planet of Arrakis, the Fremen are a group of humans who live in the dangerous trenches of the world. They live in communities known as “sietches,” which are tribes headed by “naib” leaders—who come into power after challenging and beating the former leader, and are known as the strongest member of their particular group.

Each sietch also has a Sayyadina, the Fremen version of a Bene Gesserit, or a wise woman trained in magic who assists in the community in spiritual guidance. The Fremen are a somewhat savage tribe. They choose to live outside of the cities of Arrakis and in the wilderness of the desert, where they face the dangerous sandworms and duke it out amongst themselves.

They use trial by combat as their main judicial system and wear stillsuits that assist with water retention so they can exist in the desert conditions. The Fremen have many traditions and religious beliefs; they bear sacred weapons known as ” crysknives ” and regard the sandworms as godlike creatures. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Warner Bros/Legendary

See also:  Why Are My Eyes Turning Green?

Are the humans in Dune originally from Earth?

Humans of Earth Inhabit the Imperium – The interesting thing about the Dune universe is that all of the Space Guild inhabitants originate from Earth. There aren’t any “space aliens” like you might expect with an intergalactic sci-fi epic like Dune, For the people spread among the various planets of the solar system, Earth is a sort of cradle of civilization.

Earth is the ancestral home of the people of Caladan, Giedi Prime, Arrakis, and so on. As such, the Imperium appears and operates in a fashion similar to the feudal systems of the Earth that we, the audience, recognize. In fact, House Atreides can track their lineage all the way back to Agamemnon —the historically famous ruler of ancient Greece.

Remember the figure on the golden tablets in Villeneuve’s film, which Duke Leto so thoughtfully gazes upon before leaving Caladan? That’s Agamemnon!

Why is melange so important?

Dune franchise element
Container of melange being examined by a poison snooper in David Lynch ‘s Dune (1984)
First appearance
  • Dune
  • 1965
Created by Frank Herbert
Genre Science fiction
In-universe information
Type Drug
Function Ingested to lengthen lifespan, improve health, and heighten awareness
Traits and abilities Heavy powder which smells like cinnamon and glows blue; highly addictive, and longterm users acquire blue-within-blue colored eyes
  • Bene Gesserit
  • Fremen
  • Sandworms

Melange ( ), often referred to as ” the spice “, is the fictional psychedelic drug central to the Dune series of science fiction novels by Frank Herbert and derivative works. In the series, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe is melange, a drug that gives the user a longer life span, greater vitality, and heightened awareness.

  • In some humans, the spice can also unlock prescience, a form of precognition based in genetics but made possible by use of the drug in larger dosages.
  • Among other functions, prescience makes safe and accurate interstellar travel possible.
  • However, melange is also highly addictive, and withdrawal is fatal.

Harvesting melange is also hazardous in the extreme, as its only known source is the harsh desert planet Arrakis, and melange deposits are guarded by giant sandworms,

Is Bene Gesserit a human?

Original Dune series – In Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune, the Bene Gesserit are a secretive matriarchal order who have achieved superhuman abilities through physical and mental conditioning and the use of the drug melange, Under the guise of humbly “serving” the Empire, the Sisterhood is in fact a major power in the universe, using its many areas of influence to subtly guide humanity along the path of its own plan for humanity’s future.

Herbert notes that over 10,000 years before the events of Dune, in the chaotic time after the Butlerian Jihad and before the unveiling of the Orange Catholic Bible, the Bene Gesserit “consolidated their hold upon the sorceresses, explored the subtle narcotics, developed prana-bindu training and conceived the Missionaria Protectiva, that black arm of superstition.

But it is also the period that saw the composing of the litany against fear and the assembly of the Azhar Book, that bibliographic marvel that preserves the great secrets of the most ancient faiths.” Millennia later in Dune, the Bene Gesserit base of power is the Mother School on the planet Wallach IX, whose graduates are fit mates for Emperors, and whose specially trained Truthsayers can detect falsehood.

But beyond the outer virtues of poise, self-control, and diplomacy, Bene Gesserit training includes superior combat skills and precise physiological control that grants them total control over their bodies, including direct control over conception and embryotic sex determination, ageing, and even the ability to render poisons harmless within their bodies.

The Bene Gesserit power of Voice allows them to control others by merely modulating their vocal tones. Sisters who survive a ritualized poisoning known as the spice agony achieve increased awareness and abilities through access to Other Memory, and are subsequently known as Reverend Mothers.

Every member of the Bene Gesserit is conditioned into singular loyalty to the order and its goals with allegiances to even family being secondary, and no goal is more paramount than the Sisterhood’s large-scale breeding program, It aims to create a superbeing that can tap into abilities even the Bene Gesserit cannot, a being whom they can use in order to gain more direct control over the universe.

To this end, the Bene Gesserit have subtly manipulated bloodlines for generations, using breeding sisters to “collect” the genes they require. The Bene Gesserit super-being – whom they call the Kwisatz Haderach – arrives a generation earlier than expected in the form of Paul Atreides, who is free from their direct control though his mother is the Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica, In Dune, Paul seizes control of the harsh desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the all-important spice melange; by threatening to destroy all spice production, he maneuvers himself into the Imperial throne.

  1. With Paul holding a tight monopoly on melange, a decade later the Bene Gesserit participate in a conspiracy to topple his rule in Dune Messiah (1969).
  2. Even after a blinded Paul walks into the desert to die, his sister Alia rules his empire and keeps the Bene Gesserit at bay until Paul’s young son Leto II takes control himself in Children of Dune (1976).

Over 3,500 years later, Leto–now a hybrid of human and sandworm –still dominates the universe as the tyrant God Emperor in God Emperor of Dune (1981). Through prescience, he has foreseen humanity’s possible destruction, and has forced humanity into what he calls the Golden Path, a plan which he believes will assure their survival.

  1. Having halted all spice production and thus making his own stockpile the only source of melange left in the universe, Leto is able to maintain firm control over the various factions and effects a “forced tranquility”.
  2. He has taken the Bene Gesserit breeding program from them and uses it for his own mysterious purposes, and their limited spice supply is subject to their obedience to Leto, and his prescient vision.

Recognizing that his work is finally done, Leto allows himself to be assassinated. Fifteen hundred years later in Heretics of Dune (1984), the Bene Gesserit have regained their power and relocated to a hidden homeworld they call Chapterhouse, and the spice cycle has been renewed on Arrakis, now called Rakis.

  1. New opposition arrives in the form of a violent matriarchal order calling themselves the Honored Matres, a ruthless and brutal force who seek domination over the Old Empire and who do not use or rely on melange for their powers.
  2. As the Matres all but exterminate the Tleilaxu race and next target the Sisterhood, Bene Gesserit Mother Superior Taraza implements a bold plan to release humanity from the oracular hold of Leto II by goading the Honored Matres into destroying Rakis.

Meanwhile, the Bene Gesserit have terraformed Chapterhouse into a desert planet like Rakis and bring a single sandworm there to begin a new spice cycle. In Chapterhouse: Dune (1985), the Honored Matres begin to destroy all of the Bene Gesserit-controlled planets and enslave the populaces of the other planets they conquer.

  • The Matres themselves are being hunted by a far more powerful force from out in the Scattering,
  • The new Mother Superior Darwi Odrade recognizes that the threat of this unknown enemy is greater than that of the Honored Matres, and forms another bold plan.
  • The captive Honored Matre Murbella, who has been assimilated into the Bene Gesserit and gained the full powers of a Reverend Mother, defeats the leader of the Honored Matres in combat and thus becomes Great Honored Matre.

She immediately succeeds Odrade as Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit, joining the two forces under a single leader in an uneasy truce that is hoped will be able to defeat the unknown enemy.

Why does Dune use Islam?

Frank Herbert’s novel drew from Islam to critique the idea of the messianic Western man. Does the movie? – Timothée Chalamet in Dune, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is a barrage of beautiful cinematography and sonic extremes. As you take in its entrancing visuals, you hear whispers and shouts, but almost nothing in between.

None of the sustained dialogue, character development, or painstaking world building that was a hallmark of Frank Herbert’s novels. To make Dune accessible, Villeneuve’s team attempted to replace Herbert’s inner monologues and narration with visual and aural cues, focusing on Paul and his mother so as to, as Villeneuve put it, ” allow us to feel what their mind-set is without having a voice-over,” What’s left when you take away all of those thoughts and ideas and all of that detailed exposition and replace it with sweeping vistas and a blaring Hans Zimmer score? What remains on the sandy plains of Arrakis is, in large part, a vague Middle Eastern and North African aesthetic, peppered with actual Arabic words and filmed on location in Jordan and Abu Dhabi.

Unfortunately, that aesthetic is not neutral in Hollywood, and the image of an Arab-ish crowd or veiled wailing women, not to mention when it’s injected with violence, has a history that is steeped in the dehumanization of entire peoples. It is certainly possible to reclaim and complicate these images, but that would have required an upfront act of subversion by the filmmakers.

At the very least, it needed a multifaceted nonwhite character who survived to the end. Herbert writes that his story “began with a concept: to do a long novel about the messianic convulsions which periodically inflict themselves on human societies,” In so doing, he was particular that it was ” Western man ” who was the focus of his ire, who uses this “messianic impulse” to control other societies and further “inflict himself on the environment.” After working on a story about sand dune control in Florence, Oregon, he was inspired to set his story on a desert planet.

This led him to live for some time in the Sonoran Desert as well as to, in his own words, a “re-examination of Islam.” Dune relies heavily on Islam to build its universe, For Herbert, Islam is a major part of human heritage and, by extension, its future.

  1. His use isn’t simple window dressing either: It shows a deep engagement with both the beliefs and histories of a wide variety of Muslims.
  2. And he further complicates his usage by not confining this ” Muslim flavor ” to the Fremen, the Native people of Arrakis.
  3. Rather, he extends it throughout the story’s universe —its peoples, religions, proverbs, and books.

The messiah he constructs is called a Mahdi, a Muslim term that refers not only to a messianic, end-times figure but also to the many historical figures who have made a claim to that title. And history has seen many failed messiahs, Mahdis among them.

  1. In his study of Mahdis and the jihads they led, the strongest influences on his story were the Sufi Muslims who fought against European colonialism in the 19 th century.
  2. These include the Algerian Amir ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, who, like the Fremen, made weapons factories in the desert in his fight against the French; the Chechen Imam Shamil, who fought against the Russians ; and, in the most obvious of ways, “the Mahdi of Sudan,” Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah, whose war against the British became a consistent feature of English literature for decades after his defeat.

” I am a political animal,” Herbert said in 1983. “And I never really left journalism. I am writing about the current scene—the metaphors are there.” Dune was written during the height of decolonization in the Muslim world. His story reflects this, at times in obvious ways.

  • In the book, the Fremen cheer and chant for Paul, their Mahdi, by yelling out “Ya hya chouhada.” His mother tells the readers that this means “long live the fighters.” Jessica’s translation is mostly correct.
  • The phrase is Arabic for “long live the martyrs ( shuhadā ),” and was chanted by Algerians when Benyoucef Benkhedda (one of the leaders of the Algerian war of independence and the head of its first provisional government from 1961 to 1962) arrived in Algiers after gaining independence from France.

Note how this was reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 4, 1962, just three years before Dune was published: After speech at the airport, he and his ministers were preceded into the heart of the city by several hundred tough, battle-hardened guerillas from Algeria’s green Kablie mountains.

  1. The deafening roar “Ya hya chouhada” (“long live the fighters”) echoed in the streets Not only is this scene reminiscent of Dune, but Herbert even kept the French spelling and translation directly in his own narrative.
  2. His story might have taken place thousands of years into the future, but it was intentionally calling to mind current events.

Even the name Paul takes on, Muad’Dib, reflects this period of history. On Arrakis, it refers to a kangaroo mouse, but in the explanation of its meaning provided by Stilgar (the Fremen leader played by Javier Bardem in the movie), he says it also means “instructor-of-boys,” a definition Herbert probably pulled from the glossary of Richard Francis Burton’s translation of One Thousand and One Nights,

  • But Herbert’s Muad’Dib was also likely inspired by the first president of Mali after its independence from France, Modibo Keïta.
  • Eïta, a descendent of Malian aristocracy, was depicted in a 1961 article in the New York Times as “the only spokesman for the African community tall enough to look President de Gaulle in the eye.” He was an ideal symbol for Frank Herbert, a man from the desert facing a colonial empire in the eyes.

And Keïta, as a member of the United Nations, was an advocate for Pan-African unity, the Non-Aligned Movement, and Algerian independence. He had all the makings of a hero. He even visited John F. Kennedy (another hero-in-making for Herbert) in 1961, so he would have been difficult to ignore for someone who was keeping abreast of politics.

“Modibo” is simply the Fula language spelling of Muad’Dib, meaning the same thing, a fact that would have been obvious to Herbert, who prided himself on knowing how language changes over time and place. He likely had even come across the common title in his own research, which included the history of West and East Africa.

Villeneuve may have been aware of some of these themes when he chose to cast African and Black American actors for his movie adaptation, and at the time the casting was first announced, this felt like something to be celebrated. Yet when it became clear that the casting of these African and Black American actors was to the exclusion of North African and Middle Eastern actors, many were disappointed.

  1. Add to it that the strongest Black performances were for characters who died or who lacked the depth afforded to Paul and his mother, and the choice ultimately felt empty.
  2. Villeneuve and his co-writers clearly tried to use language to complicate all of this.
  3. The movie features the inclusion of several fictional languages, and the Padishah Emperor’s Sardaukar are led in a prayer that sounds like Mongolian throat-singing, a nod to the Turco-Mongolian flourishes of the Padishah Emperor’s court and army in the book.

But any of this nuance is drowned out in beautiful desert scenes whose “feeling” is somehow supposed to do the work of Herbert’s narrative. How could it not when the feelings associated with such images have already been predetermined by Hollywood’s long history of depicting Muslims as the enemy ? Part of this is also Herbert’s fault.

  • By writing a story in which he intended to critique “Western man,” Herbert also centered Western man.
  • Often when critiquing something, one falls into a binary that prevents the very third option that so many have been looking for since decolonization.
  • Herbert’s greatest shortcoming can be seen in his analysis of T.E.

Lawrence and the deification of leaders in an interview he gave in 1969, He said, “If Lawrence of Arabia had died at the crucial moment of the British he would have been deified. And it would have been the most terrifying thing the British had ever encountered, because the Arabs would have swept that entire peninsula with that sort of force, because one of the things we’ve done in our society is exploited this power.” Herbert’s shortcoming is not his idea that “Western man” seeks to exploit the deification of charismatic leaders but that Arabs (or any other non-Western) would fall easily for it.

  • This notion, in fact, builds on a stereotype that motivated European powers to fund propaganda among Muslims during the world wars in the hope that they could provoke a global jihad against one another.
  • Needless to say, that didn’t happen, because Islam isn’t a “warrior religion” whose followers are just waiting for the right trigger to go berserk.

Islam’s followers are human and are as complicated and multifaceted as other humans. Herbert should have seen that more clearly. Part of the reason for Herbert’s clear orientalism was simply that he was a product of his time. Most English and French literature about Islam and “desert cultures” at that time was orientalist.

  1. Edward Said’s groundbreaking book Orientalism, in fact, was published more than a decade later, in 1978.) To his credit, Herbert tried to complicate this as much as he could.
  2. Language was the “primary tool” he used to do this—spoken language, because in his own words, “We are most profoundly conditioned to language-as-speech.” When you remove that language, when narrative is replaced by an unarticulated feeling or aesthetic, that centering of whiteness reads, in a way, as a type of white savior narrative.

Even when the savior fails, destroys everything, and becomes a monster, his agency overrides that of everyone else and reduces them to side stories who are swept away in the terrific power of his myth. Everyone else who could have spoken but wasn’t allowed to becomes a mere accessory to a tragic coming-of-age story.

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What did Fremen eat?

Nutrition – The Fremen ate only two meals, a lighter on rising and a heavier at dawn with dessert, like a tabara, During the night no more food was eaten, except a drink or coffee after a nap. The donkeys provided them milk, made into butter, cheese and kvetch,

  • They were provided fruits (dates, figs, apricots, portygul, Caladanian melon) vegetables and nuts from nearby villages.
  • There were also terraform planting areas and high-altitude temperate zones where they could gather some.
  • Meat ( desert hare and chukka ) was roasted or stewed with root, served on a torn-open flat bread.

Menstruating women followed a special diet which reduced the water level of their bodies, minimizing therefore the water loss and protecting from a dehydration shock. In 10169 AG Sietch Tabr was a the place where the first attempts to raise corps with chromoplastic-lined pits, dew collectors and other means.

  • The first plants to be cultivated were coffee, tabaroot and vegetables from Salusa Secundus which lasted for a small harvest in 3 seasons.
  • The plantings expanded to other sietches and other species of vegetation in secrecy.
  • Dew collectors could help the growths survive for one year with only pollination necessary by humans.

Trained children usually cared for these gardens. Following Arrakis’ planetary transformation, crops could be easily raised as on any other world.

Why are Fremen Arab?

The Fremen language was a descendant of Arabic on Earth and Chakobsa, spoken on Arrakis by the Zensunni who came to become the Fremen,

Can Paul control sandworms?

Behavior and function – In Dune, the desert of Arrakis is the only known source of the spice melange, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe. Melange is a geriatric drug that gives the user a longer life span, greater vitality, and heightened awareness.

  • It can also unlock prescience in some subjects, which makes safe and accurate interstellar travel possible.
  • The harvesting of melange is therefore essential, but is also a highly dangerous undertaking due to the presence of sandworms.
  • Rhythmic activity as minimal as normal walking on the desert surface of Arrakis attracts the territorial worms, which are capable of swallowing even the largest mining equipment whole.
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They are an accepted obstacle to spice mining, as any attempt to exterminate them would be prohibitively expensive, if not entirely futile. Harvesting is done by a gigantic machine called a Harvester, which is carried to and from a spice blow by a larger craft called a Carryall,

  • The Harvester on the ground has four scouting ornithopters patrolling around it watching for wormsign, the motions of sand which indicate that a worm is coming.
  • Melange is collected from the open sand until a worm is close, at which time the Carryall lifts the Harvester to safety.
  • The Fremen, who base their entire industry around the sale of spice and the manufacture of materials out of spice, have learned to co-exist with the sandworms in the desert and harvest the spice manually for their own use and for smuggling off-planet.

Due to their size and territorial nature, sandworms can be extremely dangerous, even to Fremen. The worms are attracted to—and maddened by—the presence of Holtzman force fields used as personal defense shields, and as a result these shields are of little use on Arrakis.

In Children of Dune it is noted that a weapon has been developed on Arrakis called a “pseudo-shield”. This device will attract and enrage any nearby sandworm, which will destroy anything in its vicinity. The Fremen manage to develop a unique relationship with the sandworms. They learn to avoid most worm attacks by mimicking the motions of desert animals, moving with the natural sounds of the desert rather than rhythmic vibrations.

However, they also develop a device known as a thumper with the express purpose of generating a rhythmic vibration to attract a sandworm. This can be used either as a diversion or to summon a worm to ride. The Fremen have secretly mastered a way to ride sandworms across the desert.

  • First, a worm is lured by the vibrations of a thumper device.
  • When it surfaces, the lead worm-rider runs alongside it and snares one of its ring-segments with a special “maker hook”.
  • The hook is used to pry open the segment, exposing the soft inner tissue to the abrasive sand.
  • To avoid irritation, the worm will rotate its body so the exposed flesh faces upwards, lifting the rider with it.

Other Fremen may then plant additional hooks for steering, or act as ” beaters “, hitting the worm’s tail to make it increase speed. A worm can be ridden for several hundred kilometers and for about half a day, at which point it will become exhausted and sit on the open desert until the hooks are released, whereupon it will burrow back down to rest.

Worm-riding is used as a coming-of-age ritual among the Fremen, and Paul’s riding and controlling a giant sandworm cements him as a Fremen leader. Paul also uses worms for troop transport into the city during the Battle of Arrakeen after using atomic weapons to blow a hole in the Shield Wall. After the reign of Leto II, sandworms become un-rideable.

The one exception is a young girl named Sheeana, an Atreides descendant who possesses a unique ability to control the worms and safely move around them. Fremen also use the sharp teeth of dead sandworms to produce the sacred knives they call crysknives,

Who becomes a sandworm in Dune?

God Emperor of Dune – A little more than 3,500 years have passed, and in God Emperor of Dune, Leto is now almost fully transformed into a sandworm. He is almost invulnerable to physical damage; only his face is susceptible to injury, and his single greatest weakness that he shares with the sandworms, an intense vulnerability to water, is a secret.

  • Leto’s peace” has kept the universe quiet for that time, and the entirety of human society has become an audience for him.
  • He is their emperor; he is their god.
  • His all-female army of Fish Speakers keeps order and act as priestesses.
  • Leto believes that a female army is a nurturing disciplinarian, while a male army is essentially predatory, always turns against its civilian support base in the absence of an enemy, and has “a strong tendency toward homosexual activities”.

Desolate Dune is gone; Arrakis is now a verdant planet with a great river named after Duncan Idaho, Except for Leto, the sandworms are extinct, and all that is left of the “ocean without water”, bahr bela ma, is a desert preserve set aside for Leto alone.

This remnant is called the Sareer and is about the size of California, The old institutions, the Bene Gesserit, the Bene Tleilax, the Spacing Guild, the houses Major and Minor, the Landsraad, the technocrats of Ix, and CHOAM, have all faded from power in the face of Leto’s hydraulic despotism : since he has absolute control of the spice on which the whole universe depends, he has the universe in the palm of his hand, and ruthlessly enforces his simplistic order.

Leto has taken over the Bene Gesserit’s breeding program for himself, the same program that produced his father, the Kwisatz Haderach, His Golden Path is nearly assured now, and his long rule has begun to bore him; the trap of prescience is an existence without surprises.

To ensure that humanity will survive, Leto has spent millennia enforcing quiescence on humanity: people rarely travel, rarely fight in wars, rarely do anything but live and worship him. This repression has created in humanity a deep and urgent need to explode upon the universe, scattering itself beyond the reach of any single tyrant.

Leto seeks a solution in which he might die without destroying his people; if a god commits suicide, his worshippers would commit suicide with him. The only option is revolution, so Leto breeds for the person who will overthrow him: Siona Atreides, the daughter of his majordomo, Moneo,

  • Siona is the second human to carry a gene that makes her invisible to prescience and thus uncontainable by it, the first being the Count Fenring, from the novel Dune,
  • Siona is different from Fenring in that she can pass on this gene to her descendants, whereas Fenring was a genetic eunuch.
  • Since Siona cannot be seen in a vision, she cannot be controlled by a vision, nor can her descendants.

Thus the tyranny of prescience will end with Siona — humanity can never again be bound by a powerful prescient like Muad’dib or the God Emperor himself. Siona’s partner in revolution is Duncan Idaho, the constant companion of Leto throughout the long millennia.

For his entire reign, Leto has had a ghola of Duncan in charge of his Fish Speaker army. The Duncans represent the old Atreides loyalty, along with everything vital in humanity, so something in the Duncans always rebels against the blasphemous chimaera Leto has made of himself; many Duncans die trying to kill Leto.

When Siona finally arrives, she finds in Duncan a justification for revolt. Meanwhile, the rest of the universe is scheming to kill Leto as well. The Bene Tleilax try many ham-fisted schemes; the technocrats of Ix are smarter. They craft a human to seduce Leto.

First they create Malky, a being of perfect evil, a Devil to Leto’s God. Malky is a charming Lucifer, and as ambassador to Leto’s court he plumbs the depths of Leto’s piety. In Dune Messiah, the Face Dancer Scytale reveals to a Reverend Mother that the Bene Tleilax created their own Kwisatz Haderachs, and discovered that Kwisatz Haderachs will die before becoming their opposites (and so can be killed by manipulating them into betraying themselves).

Malky’s purpose is to get Leto to turn against his holy creativity, but Malky fails because Leto, more than anyone, understands the blasphemy of his enterprise. At the same time as Leto is breeding a psi-invisible human, Ix invents another solution: no-chambers.

  • A no-chamber is an electro-mechanical construct that hides its contents from prescient vision.
  • Inside the first no-chamber, the Ixians grow their replacement for Malky: his niece Hwi Noree, a creature of pure goodness.
  • Where Malky failed, Hwi succeeds.
  • Leto falls in love with her, and plans to marry her.

He is not alone in loving her, however, for his current Duncan has also fallen to her charms. By this chain of events, Leto weakens his godhood enough to allow Siona’s revolt the possibility of success. Leto planned to wed Hwi in what remains of an old Fremen village near the former Sietch Tabr, but changes his mind at the last instant to use the Museum Fremen’s Tuono Village, the place where Moneo had sent Siona and Duncan in an attempt to keep the peace and keep Duncan alive, safe from the God Emperor’s wrath.

  1. However, that is not to be.
  2. The Royal Peregrination, the journey on foot for any of Leto’s trips, to Tuono has all the appearance of a normal trip.
  3. However, Siona and Duncan, both well aware of the God Emperor’s coming and his schemes to breed them, are primed for rebellion, not quiet acceptance.
  4. Siona uses her power over Nayla, Leto’s pet Fish Speaker, to set in motion his demise.

At the point of the Sareer’s guardian wall that opens to allow for the passage of the Idaho River, Nayla, caught in her faith in Leto, opens fire on the bridge with a lasgun, destroying it as Leto and Hwi are crossing, dropping them into the Idaho River.

  • The water destroys Leto’s sandworm body, decomposing it into the sandtrout that will lock up the water in their bodies, recreating the conditions for the sandworms to re-appear, each with a pearl of Leto’s consciousness and adaptability inside it.
  • Leto dies, his last vision that of the Golden Path, shining brightly in humanity’s future.

His total reign spanned 3509 years. Before arrival to Tuono, Hwi asks Leto to “share their souls”, since they cannot interact physically after Leto’s loss of humanity. Her deep empathy and ability to see beyond the abyss that separates Leto from all human beings—an abyss that no other human would ever dare to cross—and to love him brings a tear in each of his eyes.

Earlier, it was remarked that the God Emperor was unable to shed tears, partly because of the disrupting effect water had on his worm body and partly because of the Fremen-inherited inhibition of wasting body water. (The discussion in which that matter had been brought up sparked a deep interest and concern for Hwi.) Although the Atreides (Moneo, Siona) that surround him needed to be shown (by activating their genetically-inherited prescient powers) the absolute horrors that could only be avoided by Leto’s apparent tyranny in order for them to support the Golden Path, Hwi is able to understand without having seen any proof the altruism in Leto’s actions and the ultimate sacrifice that he had to make.

and is able to love him. It is that moment they share which brings forth the deepest emotions in Leto’s current life. emotions thought forgotten: fear, surprise, admiration, understanding and being understood and ultimately that moment of true happiness that he had lost hope for.

  1. After Leto’s death, driven by the Famine Times and the pent up desires of thousands of years of Leto’s enforced peace, which bred stagnation and isolation, humanity explodes out into the universe in waves of migration known as The Scattering (as predicted and forced by Leto’s Golden Path).
  2. Humanity’s exponential expansion in the Scattering spreads them beyond the ability of any single force to control or threaten their destiny.

Thus Leto’s Golden Path gave humanity both immunity to domination by prescient rulers via Siona’s genetic trait, and immunity to domination by any single ruler or disaster by spreading them far and wide into unknown reaches of the universe. The sandworms which once again travel Dune after Leto’s death carry, in his words, “a pearl of his awareness locked forever in an endless dream.” They (and Leto) are worshipped as the Divided God, and their existence keeps humanity locked on Leto’s Golden Path.

How did Leto 2 become a sandworm?

Evolution on Arrakis – Leto II as a worm When they were nine years old, Leto and Ghanima gained the attention of their paternal grandmother, Lady Jessica, who returned to Arrakis from Caladan to inspect them as part of her obligations to the Bene Gesserit, While visiting, Jessica sensed the latent power present in the twins, and upon the realization that they could be a threat to the psychologically unstable Alia, pressed her Fremen allies to help protect them.

At this same time, Leto’s prescient powers began to emerge. Through visions and intuition, he discovered the Golden Path that his father had earlier uncovered and begun to follow. However, unlike Paul, Leto developed a greater understanding of the Golden Path’s implications. He sensed not only its dangers but also the painful steps that had to be taken to avoid it unraveling, which would be to the peril of humankind.

Leto and Ghanima escaped an assassination attempt by House Corrino, The two split up, with Ghanima conditioned to believe her brother was dead so that if she were to be interrogated on his whereabouts, she would not be able to tell the truth. Leto slipped into almost total anonymity, using the time and relative seclusion to build a foundation of power and knowledge through which the full impact of the Golden Path could be realized.

To enact such steps required a strong (almost brutal) grip on power and longevity that would override the shortsightedness and impatience of Man. Thus, after spending time amongst a variety of fringe Fremen elements, including The Preacher, Leto accepted sand trout upon his body and began the conversion into a human-sandworm hybrid.

This transformation (which, in the beginning, was essentially a form of exoskeleton ), boosted Leto’s strength, reflexes, and speed immensely, and he was able to move across large distances on foot.

Does Paul Atreides marry his mother?

The Duke and Lady Jessica’s Relationship – As well as Jessica’s perspective being erased for most of the film, one of the topics most personal to her in the novel was also taken; the fact that she is Duke Leto’s concubine and not his wife. Despite Jessica being the mother of his child and him being in love with her, the Duke will not marry her in case he needs to form an alliance with another house.

Nowing that Jessica is powerful enough to control the will of others, Dr. Yueh asks Jessica outright: “Why haven’t you made the Duke marry you?” Jessica replies: “motivating people, forcing them to your will, gives you a cynical attitude towards humanity. It degrades everything it touches. If I made him do this, then it would not be his doing (page 69)”.

This here makes the readers understand Jessica’s need; not only to marry the Duke but for the Duke to marry her of his own free will. It is again something that never comes up in the film; Jessica is referenced occasionally as a ‘concubine’ and Duke Leto professes to her in one scene, ” I should’ve married you,” but we see no reaction from Jessica.

  • How does she feel about this? Happy, sad, indifferent? Audiences never know because the filmmakers do not care.
  • It is hard to imagine how another director would have adapted Jessica if it wasn’t for Villeneuve and his team; but judging by the documentary on his failed adaptation, Alejandro Jodorowsky would have been more of the same.

In the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), the titular director talks about how in the 70s when starting pre-production on his take on the sci-fi classic, he met with several high-profile actors for certain roles. For example, he met with Orson Wells for the Baron, David Carradine for Duke Leto, and even Salvador Dalí for the role of the Emperor.

Nothing is said of searching for Jessica, or any other female character for that matter (it is mentioned that Amanda Lear was cast as the character of Princess Irulan, but that was part of the deal in hiring Dalí as Lear was his muse). It is public knowledge that Charlotte Rampling (who ironically plays the Reverend Mother in the 2021 film ) was offered the role of Lady Jessica, but that story was apparently not worthy enough to be included in the documentary.

Jodorowsky had also committed extremely misogynistic acts and comments ( which you can read here by writer Emmet Asher-Perrin ), so the fact that people were so disappointed at this ‘lost opportunity of a film, especially by today’s standards, is a baffling take.

Pivoting back to the 2021 adaptation of Dune, in a film full of moments of various characters distrusting Jessica, it is infuriating that she is in fact one of the most trusted members in her family circle. In a subplot from the book that didn’t make it to the film, Leto tells Paul of a rumor going around of Lady Jessica being a spy for the Harkonnens.

When Paul asks for clarification, Leto explains; “the Harkonnens think to trick me by making me distrust your mother. They don’t know that I’d sooner distrust myself (page 111).” One scene where the film faithfully sticks to the book is when Paul is almost killed by a ‘hunter-seeker’, a weapon planted in his room by a Harkonnen agent.

  • A detail that was removed though was that when Paul survives the attack, the person that he runs to first in the novel is his mother.
  • Duke Leto and Paul are not the only relationships that are altered by Jessica in this adaptation.
  • The friendship between Jessica and Dr.
  • Yueh is near non-existent in the film (but to Villeneuve’s credit, there is a deleted scene between the pair.) A spy for the Harkonnens, Dr.

Yueh’s conscience usually kicks in when he is conversing with either Paul or Jessica. At one point in the Dune saga books, lamenting on the tragedy that he actually loves the Atreides family, not hates them, Dr. Yueh thinks that ” In her manner, in many ways, Jessica was like his Wanna (page 64).” Wanna is Dr.

  • Yueh’s wife, who was captured and tortured by the Harkonnens so that Dr.
  • Yueh would be a spy for them in exchange for her freedom.
  • The fact that Dr.
  • Yueh thinks that Jessica is like his wife (who is also a Bene Gesserit) is a far cry from the earlier scene in the film where Dr.
  • Yueh warns Paul against his mother and the Bene Gesserit agenda.

The relationship between Jessica and the Reverend Mother is also completely cold in the film compared to the book. For example, despite the Reverend Mother’s harsh exterior, she does show warmth to Jessica. When the Reverend Mother says that she will be leaving soon and Jessica asks her if she must, she has this reaction; The old woman’s voice softened.

  1. Jessica, girl, I wish I could stand in your place and take your sufferings.
  2. But each of us must make her own path (page 25).’ The Reverend Mother even shows solidarity to Jessica in her choice to train Paul in the Bene Gesserit ways, despite him being a boy; “You’ve been training him in the Way- I’ve seen the signs of it.

I’d have done the same in your shoes and devil take the Rules (page 29).” However, the most touching part of the whole exchange comes when the Reverend Mother says goodbye to Jessica; “Jessica had caught one glimpse of the Reverend Mother’s face as she turned away.

Why didn t Leto Atreides marry Jessica?

Jessica is one of the most complicated characters in Dune. Like her son, she is the product of centuries of genetic breeding by the Bene Gesserit, an ancient school that teaches women how to develop superhuman mental and physical abilities. Jessica rebels against the school—she was instructed by the Bene Gesserit to bear a daughter, but she defied them and bore a son instead.

Jessica’s character undergoes many changes. At the beginning of the novel, she is Duke Leto’s concubine. The two are in love, but Leto will not marry her for political reasons. Leto knows that as long as he is unmarried, he has something to offer the other Great Houses. Despite her concubine status, both Leto and Jessica treat the relationship as a marriage, and Jessica is accustomed to her life as a wealthy duke’s partner.

Jessica’s life changes once the Harkonnen kill Leto. She is forced to live in the harsh desert among the Fremen and use all her abilities to survive, including seducing her captors. Jessica resigns her wifelike role and becomes a reverend mother, serving as a matriarchal figure to thousands of people.

  • Jessica has been preparing for such a role by training as a Bene Gesserit from birth.
  • Throughout the novel, however, she is often troubled by emotions that intercede with her loyalty to the Bene Gesserit.
  • Most significantly, she regrets that she groomed Paul so well for the messianic role of Kwisatz Haderach.
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She realizes that she has robbed Paul of his innocence—he never has a childhood, a normal adulthood, or even the normal life as a duke’s heir. Like Paul, Jessica finds herself swept along by a subtle, yet firm current of time, leading inexorably to an unknown conclusion.

Does everyone on Arrakis have blue eyes?

Also referred to as melange, “spice” is the most precious substance in the galaxy, and the asset upon which the universe’s economy is based. Spice is an incredibly addictive drug that when consumed in great quantities can offer certain people special powers.

  • Spacing Guild navigators, for example, use spice to be able to pilot ships that travel at faster-than-light speed through folded space.
  • As such, the Spacing Guild has a monopoly on interstellar travel, giving them great power, and a keen interest in the continued production of spice.
  • Fortunately, that’s a very complicated topic that isn’t super important to the movie.) Arrakis, the desert planet where the majority of Dune is set, is the only source of spice in the known universe.

Melange is produced by the giant sandworms that roam the deserts. The Fremen, the main inhabitants of Arrakis, consume spice regularly (it’s a central ingredient in food on the planet), and are essentially dependent on the substance. Prolonged exposure to spice is the reason all of the Fremen have blue-on-blue eyes. Why Are Fremen Eyes Blue Warner Bros. Pictures via AP The Fremen inhabit Arrakis, and at the start of Dune are ruled by House Harkonnen, one of many Great Houses in the empire. Most imperial leaders consider the Fremen to be an underdeveloped culture, but are unaware of the group’s true strength, level of technology and population across the planet.

Some Fremen live in major settlements, most notably Arakeen, the planet’s biggest city, but far more lived across the desert in Sietches – communities of Fremen located in cave systems, protected from the harsh conditions on the surface. Notable Fremen: Chani (Zendaya), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), Liet-Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) A sisterhood of superhumans who have developed incredible mental powers, often referred to as “witches” by those who distrust or are wary of them.

The Bene Gesserit are a powerful political organization, and through selective mating and gene control are seeking to produce a chosen one, the Kwisatz Haderach, an all-knowing, prescient messiah. Bene Gesserit sisters are intensively trained in special schools.

Reverend Mothers are experienced Bene Gesserit with greater authority who survived a ritual involving the Water of Life. Bene Gesserit also administer Gom Jabbar tests, which you’ll likely see early on in Dune, As you’ve no doubt seen in the trailers by now, when Paul Atriedes (Timothee Chalamet) puts his hand into the scary box and is made to feel unimaginable pain, a Bene Gesserit will hold a Gom Jabbar (a poisoned needle) to his neck to incentivize him to complete the test.

Notable Bene Gesserit: The Lady Jessica, mother of Paul Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson), Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) Mentats are human computers. In the world of Dune, computers and “thinking machines” have been banned for thousands of years, and as a replacement, Mentats have been trained to perform computer-like computations and complex analyses.

  • In the books and in Dune (1984), Mentats had red-stained lips as a result of drinking sapho juice, a liquid that enhances their abilities.
  • It looked ridiculous in the old movie, but this time around, it appears Mentats have been given a dark lip tattoo instead.
  • Notable Mentats: Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson), Piter de Vries (David Dastmalchian) There is precious little water on Arrakis, so technology has been developed to preserve and recycle every bit of bodily fluid possible.

A stillsuit is a tightly-fitting garment that reclaims water from sweat (and, yes, even urine and feces) in catchpockets, and includes a tube that allows the wearer to drink as they walk around the desert. Fremen-made stillsuits are the best around, and enable the wearer to lose just a “thimbleful” of water a day, allowing a person to survive long treks even without carrying additional water.

What is special about Paul Atreides?

A leader, a hypnotist, a deadly warrior, a seer, and a human-computer — Paul is undoubtedly a special young man who is uniquely capable of becoming the ‘Mahdi’ or ‘Messiah of the Fremen,’ the ‘Kwisatz Haderach’ for the Bene Gesserit, or ‘Space Jesus’ as friends of mine have so eloquently put it.

What ethnicity is Paul Atreides?

Why It’s Important to Consider Whether Dune Is a White Savior Narrative Screenshot: Universal Pictures Now that the cast is coming together, Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune is getting more attention than ever. And with that attention an interesting question has started cropping up with more frequency, one that bears further examination: Is Dune a “white savior” narrative? It’s important to note that this is not a new question.

Dune has been around for over half a century, and with every adaptation or popular revival, fans and critics take the time to interrogate how it plays into (or rebels against) certain story tropes and popular concepts, the white savior complex being central among them. While there are no blunt answers to that question—in part because Dune rests on a foundation of intense and layered worldbuilding—it is still an important one to engage and reengage with for one simple reason: All works of art, especially ones that we hold in high esteem, should be so carefully considered.

Not because we need to tear them down or, conversely, enshrine them, but because we should all want to be more knowledgeable and thoughtful about how the stories we love contribute to our world, and the ways in which they choose to reflect it. So what happens when we put Dune under this methodical scrutiny? If we peel back the layers, like the Mentats of Herbert’s story, what do we find? Hollywood has a penchant for the white savior trope, and it forms the basis for plenty of big-earning, award-winning films.

Looking back on blockbusters like The Last of the Mohicans, Avatar, and The Last Samurai, the list piles up for movies in which a white person can alleviate the suffering of people of color—sometimes disguised as blue aliens for the purpose of sci-fi trappings—by being specially “chosen” somehow to aid in their struggles.

Sometimes this story is more personal, between only two or three characters, often rather dubiously labeled as “based on a true story” (,,,, and recent Academy Award Best Picture-winner are all a far cry from the true events that inspired them). It’s the same song, regardless—a white person is capable of doing what others cannot, from overcoming racial taboos and inherited prejudices up to and including “saving” an entire race of people from certain doom.

At face value, it’s easy to slot Dune into this category: a pale-skinned protagonist comes to a planet of desert people known as Fremen. These Fremen are known to the rest the rest of the galaxy as a mysterious, barbaric, and highly superstitious people, whose ability to survive on the brutal world of Arrakis provides a source of endless puzzlement for outsiders.

The Fremen themselves are a futuristic amalgam of various POC cultures according to Herbert, primarily the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, the San people, and Bedouins. (Pointedly, all of these cultures have been and continue to be affected by imperialism, colonialism, and slavery, and the Fremen are no different—having suffered horrifically at the hands of the Harkonnens even well before our “heroes” arrive.) Once the protagonist begins to live among the Fremen, he quickly establishes himself as their de facto leader and savior, teaching them how to fight more efficiently and building them into an unstoppable army.

  1. This army then throws off the tyranny of the galaxy’s Emperor, cementing the protagonist’s role as their literal messiah.
  2. That sounds pretty cut and dried, no? But at the heart of this question—Is Dune a white savior narrative?—are many more questions, because Dune is a complicated story that encompasses and connects various concepts, touching on environmentalism, imperialism, history, war, and the superhero complex.

The fictional universe of Dune is carefully constructed to examine these issues of power, who benefits from having it, and how they use it. Of course, that doesn’t mean the story is unassailable in its construction or execution, which brings us to the first clarifying question: What qualifies as a white savior narrative? How do we measure that story, or identify it? Many people would define this trope differently, which is reasonable, but you cannot examine how Dune might contribute to a specific narrative without parsing out the ways in which it does and does not fit.

  • This is the strongest argument against the assertion that Dune is a white savior story: Paul Atreides is not a savior.
  • What he achieves isn’t great or even good—which is vital to the story that Frank Herbert meant to tell.
  • There are many factors contributing to Paul Atreides’s transformation into Muad’Dib and the Kwisatz Haderach, but from the beginning, Paul thinks of the role he is meant to play as his “terrible purpose.” He thinks that because he knows if he avenges his father, if he becomes the Kwisatz Haderach and sees the flow of time, if he becomes the Mahdi of the Fremen and leads them, the upcoming war will not stop on Arrakis.

It will extend and completely reshape the known universe. His actions precipitate a war that that lasts for twelve years, killing millions of people, and that’s only just the beginning. Can it be argued that Paul Atreides helps the people of Arrakis? Taking the long view of history, the answer would be a resounding no—and the long view of history is precisely what the Dune series works so hard to convey.

(The first three books all take place over a relatively condensed period, but the last three books of the initial Dune series jump forward thousands of years at a time.) While Paul does help the Fremen achieve the dream of making Arrakis a green and vibrant world, they become entirely subservient to his cause and their way of life is fundamentally altered.

Eventually, the Fremen practically disappear, and a new Imperial army takes their place for Paul’s son, Leto II, the God Emperor. Leto’s journey puts the universe on what he calls the “Golden Path,” the only possible future where humanity does not go extinct.

It takes this plan millennia to come to fruition, and though Leto succeeds, it doesn’t stop humans from scheming and murdering and hurting one another; it merely ensures the future of the species. One could make an argument that the Atreides family is responsible for the saving of all human life due to the Golden Path and its execution.

But in terms of Paul’s position on Arrakis, his effect on the Fremen population there, and the amount of death, war, and terror required to bring about humanity’s “salvation,” the Atreides are monstrous people. There is no way around that conclusion—and that’s because the story is designed to critique humanity’s propensity toward saviors.

  1. Here’s a quote from Frank Herbert himself on that point: I am showing you the superhero syndrome and your own participation in it.
  2. And another: Dune was aimed at this whole idea of the infallible leader because my view of history says that mistakes made by a leader (or made in a leader’s name) are amplified by the numbers who follow without question.

At the center of Dune is a warning to be mistrustful of messiahs, supermen, and leaders who have the ability to sway masses. This is part of the reason why David Lynch’s Dune film ; the instant that Paul Atreides becomes a veritable god, the whole message of the story is lost.

The ending of Frank Herbert’s Dune is not a heroic triumph—it is a giant question mark pointed at the reader or viewer. It is an uncomfortable conclusion that only invites more questions, which is a key part of its lasting appeal. And yet There is a sizable hole in the construction of this book that can outweigh all other interpretations and firmly situate Dune among white savior tropes: Paul Atreides is depicted as a white man, and his followers are largely depicted as brown people.

There are ways to nitpick this idea, and people do—Paul’s father, Leto Atreides might not be white, and is described in the book as having “olive” toned skin. We get a sense of traditions from the past, as Leto’s father was killed in a bull fight, dressed in a matador cape, but it’s unclear if this is tied to their heritage in any sense.

The upcoming film has cast Cuban-Guatemalan actor Oscar Isaac in the role of Duke Leto, but previous portrayals featured white men with European ancestry: U.S. actor William Hurt and German actor Jürgen Prochnow. (The Fremen characters are also often played by white actors, but that’s a more simple case of Hollywood whitewashing.) While the name Atreides is Greek, Dune takes place tens of thousands of years in the future, so there’s really no telling what ancestry the Atreides line might have, or even what “whiteness” means to humanity anymore.

There’s a lot of similar melding elsewhere in the story; the ruler of this universe is known as the “Padishah Emperor” (Padishah is a Persian word that essentially translates to “great king”), but the family name of the Emperor’s house is Corrino, taken from the fictional Battle of Corrin.

Emperor Shaddam has red hair, and his daughter Irulan is described as blond-haired, green-eyed, and possessing “patrician beauty,” a mishmash of words and descriptions that deliberately avoid categorization. None of these factors detract from the fact that we are reading/watching this story in present day, when whiteness is a key component of identity and privilege.

It also doesn’t negate the fact that Paul is always depicted as a white young man, and has only been played by white actors: first by Kyle MacLachlan, then by Alec Newman, and soon by Timothy Chalamet. There are many reasons for casting Paul this way, chief among them being that he is partly based on a real-life figure—T.E.

Lawrence, better known to the public as “Lawrence of Arabia.” But regardless of that influence, Frank Herbert’s worldbuilding demands a closer look in order to contextualize a narrative in which a white person becomes the messiah of an entire population of people of color—after all, T.E. Lawrence was never heralded as any sort of holy figure by the people he worked alongside during the Arab Revolt.

The decision to have Paul become the Mahdi of the Fremen people is not a breezy or inconsequential plot point, and Herbert makes it clear that his arrival has been seeded by the Bene Gesserit, the shadowy matriarchal organization to which his mother, Jessica, belongs.

In order to keep their operatives safe throughout the universe, the Bene Gesserit planted legends and mythologies that applied to their cohort, making it easy for them to manipulate local legends to their advantage in order to remain secure and powerful. While this handily serves to support Dune ‘s thematic indictment of the damage created by prophecy and religious zealotry, it still positions the Fremen as a people who easily fall prey to superstition and false idols.

The entire Fremen culture (though meticulously constructed and full of excellent characters) falls into various “noble savage” stereotypes due to the narrative’s juxtaposition of their militant austerity with their susceptibility to being used by powerful people who understand their mythology well enough to exploit it.

What’s more, Herbert reserves many of the non-Western philosophies that he finds particularly attractive—he was a convert to Zen Buddhism, and the Bene Gesserit are attuned to the Eastern concepts of “prana” and “bindu” as part of their physical training—for mastery by white characters like Lady Jessica.

While Fremen culture has Arab influences in its language and elsewhere, the book focuses primarily on the ferocity of their people and the discipline they require in order to be able to survive the brutal desert of Arrakis, as well as their relationship to the all-important sandworms.

  • This speaks to Herbert’s ecological interests in writing Dune far more than his desire to imagine what an Arab-descended society or culture might look like in the far future.
  • Even the impetus toward terraforming Arrakis into a green world is one brought about through imperialist input; Dr.
  • Liet Kynes (father to Paul’s companion Chani) promoted the idea in his time as leader of the Fremen, after his own father, an Imperial ecologist, figured out how to change the planet.

The Fremen don’t have either the ability or inclination to transform their world with their own knowledge—both are brought to them from a colonizing source. Dune ‘s worldbuilding is complex, but that doesn’t make it beyond reproach. Personal bias is a difficult thing to avoid, and how you construct a universe from scratch says a lot about how you personally view the world.

  1. Author and editor Mimi Mondal breaks this concept down beautifully in her about the inherently political nature of worldbuilding: In a world where all fundamental laws can be rewritten, it is also illuminating which of them aren’t.
  2. The author’s priorities are more openly on display when a culture of non-humans is still patriarchal, there are no queer people in a far-future society, or in an alternate universe the heroes and saviours are still white.

Is the villain in the story a repulsively depicted fat person? Is a disabled or disfigured character the monster? Are darker-skinned, non-Western characters either absent or irrelevant, or worse, portrayed with condescension? It’s not sufficient to say that these stereotypes still exist in the real world.

In a speculative world, where it is possible to rewrite them, leaving them unchanged is also political. The world of Dune was built that way through a myriad of choices, and choices are not neutral exercises. They require biases, thoughtfulness, and intent. They are often built from a single perspective, and perspectives are never absolute.

And so, in analyzing Dune, it is impossible not to wonder about the perspective of its creator and why he built his fictional universe the way he did. Many fans cite the fact that Frank Herbert wrote Dune over fifty years ago as an explanation for some of its more dated attitudes toward race, gender, queerness, and other aspects of identity.

But the universe that Herbert created was arguably already quite dated when he wrote Dune, There’s an old-world throwback sheen to the story, as it’s built on feudal systems and warring family houses and political marriages and ruling men with concubines. The Bene Gesserit essentially sell their (all-female) trainees to powerful figures to further their own goals, and their sexuality is a huge component of their power.

The odious Baron Harkonnen is obese and the only visibly queer character in the book (a fact that I’ve already as it pertains to the upcoming film). Paul Atreides is the product of a Bene Gesserit breeding program that was created to bring about the Kwisatz Haderach—he’s literally a eugenics experiment that works,

And in this eugenics experiment, the “perfect” human turns out to be a white man—and he was always going to be a man, according to their program—who proceeds to wield his awesome power by creating a personal army made up of people of color. People, that is, who believe that he is their messiah due to legends planted on their world ages ago by the very same group who sought to create this superbeing.

And Paul succeeds in his goals and is crowned Emperor of the known universe. Is that a white savior narrative? Maybe not in the traditional sense, but it has many of the same discomfiting hallmarks that we see replicated again and again in so many familiar stories.

  1. Hopefully, we’re getting better at recognizing and questioning these patterns, and the assumptions and agendas propagated through them.
  2. It gives us a greater understanding of fiction’s power, and makes for an enlightening journey.
  3. Dune is a great work of science fiction with many pointed lessons that we can still apply to the world we live in—that’s the mark of a excellent book.

But we can enjoy the world that Frank Herbert created and still understand the places where it falls down. It makes us better fans and better readers, and allows us to more fully appreciate the stories we love. maintains that it would have been awesome if Paul had been a non-binary character, since the story is so adamant that he possesses important male and female attributes.