Trivia / Dune

The book series:

  • Author Existence Failure: Frank Herbert died in 1985, leaving the Dune series on an apparent massive cliffhanger. His son and Kevin J. Anderson continued the series to mixed critical and reader response.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • Several quotes from the 1984 film are widely assumed to be from the novel:
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
    It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
    the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
    • Both adaptations gave us "the Spice must flow".
  • Doing It for the Art: Dune contains a sprawling universe adorned with myriad details and complicated histories, economics, and ecology. Frank Herbert loved to show his work, as detailed below. It began as work for a newspaper article ("They Stopped the Moving Sands"), but he became so enthralled that it became a passionate epic. He never even got around to finishing that article.
  • Outlived Its Creator: Since Frank Herbert's death, Brian Herbert (Frank's son) and Kevin J. Anderson have written a number of prequels and sequels.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The planned Grand Finale "Dune 7" was never finished, due to Frank Herbert's death.
    • Frank Herbert and Willis E. McNellynote  began collaborating on a Prequel novel focusing on the Butlerian Jihad. It also was abandoned due to Herbert's death.
    • Ridley Scott was at one point slated to direct a film adaptation of Dune. Peter Berg and Pierre Morel had been front-runners to direct a new remake in the early '10s, before the project fell into Development Hell.
    • The late Christopher Reeve of Superman fame was reportedly considered for the role at Paul in one of the earlier pre-Lynch periods - which makes the casting of Kyle MacLachlan even funnier as he would later voice Superman in the animated feature Justice League: The New Frontier.
    • Thanks to the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, we know more of how Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970s version of Dune would've played out:
      • Jodorowsky was planning to cast Salvador Dali as the Emperor, Orson Welles as Baron Harkonen, and Mick Jagger as Feyd. Also, Jodorowsky had cast his son as Paul Atreides, who then spent several months training in martial arts and other various fighting styles before the project was shelved.
      • Jodorowsky was also going to use different bands to compose different musical leitmotifs for each planet. He had already signed up the bands Pink Floyd for Caladan and the french prog band Magma for Giedi Prime.
      • Duke Leto was going to be accidentally castrated following a ritual bullfight. Paul would have been conceived as a virgin birth by way of his mother Jessica taking a drop of his father Leto's blood and using her Bene Gesserit powers to turn it into semen to impregnate herself.
      • Duke Leto's death in Jodorowsky's version would have been even more gruesome and graphic than his death in the book. In the original book, Leto dies of poisoning. In Jodorowsky's version, Leto would have been mutilated to death, his arms and legs cut off with a giant set on pincers, tortured in an attempt to find Paul's location. When Leto dies, the Baron in frustration then grabs the pincers and cuts off Leto's head and tosses it into a box with the rest of his severed limbs, leaving what was left of his body on the table.
      • Jodorowsky had intended to have the ending of his film be vastly different from the book, having Lady Margot Fenring killing Paul by surprise. But as he dies, Paul's consciousness then infuses into the planet Arrakis. Paul then mocks the Emperor, by moving about from person to person, including Alia, Stilgar, and Irulan, who when inhabited, all speak in Paul's voice. The non-corporeal Paul, fulfilling the prophecy of the Kwisatz Haderach, then causes Arrakis' terraforming to occur immediately, with the skies turning a brilliant blue. The movie then ends with the planet breaking orbit, to roam throughout space, to re-educate the universe.
    • The Road To Dune was based on Frank Herbert's original notes. The book changed rather drastically.

The 1984 film:

  • Actor Allusion: Siân Phillips has some experience playing a scheming matriarch.
  • Dawson Casting: Sting and Kyle MacLachlan, both in their mid-late 20s, played the 15 year olds Paul Atreides and Feyd Rautha in the '84 film.
  • Deleted Scene: Several scenes were cut from the theatrical release of the 1984 film and later restored to the extended versions, which is part of why they're so much longer. Of these, one of the most significant is the death of Thufir Hawat, a powerful scene in which Paul separates Thufir from the captured Harkonnen and offers him his life, only for Thufir to commit suicide rather than kill Paul. This omission creates something of a What Happened to the Mouse? moment in the original cut, as Thufir—one of the film's more important characters—can clearly be seen standing among the prisoners (between the Emperor and Gaius Mohiam) in one shot, and simply vanishes in the next; his disappearance is never explained.
  • Executive Meddling/Screwed by the Network: Dino De Laurentiis pared the film down by hours and the result was a confusing mess to many people who didn't read the book. It was such a negative experience for Lynch that he actually turned down the chance to do a director's cut years later and had his name taken off the extended version that was made without him, so while the extended version does expand on and explain the overall universe and setting better it's still mostly guess work.
  • Old Shame: For Lynch, as he perceived it as "selling out".
  • Retroactive Recognition: Patrick Stewart was unknown in the States in 1984. Now, it's impossible not to wonder what the heck Captain Picard is doing running around the Dune-verse.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Val Kilmer was reportedly almost cast as Paul in the 1984 film version.
    • At one point, the David Lynch film was going to include incestuous themes between Paul and his mother.
    • Jack Nicholson was reportedly considered for the role of Gurney Halleck at one point.