MOVIES

Dune’s Creepiest Creature Almost Looked Even More Terrifying

Because the Harkonnen spider creature doesn’t appear in the “Dune” books, it’s not entirely clear what it actually is. Some theorized after the film’s release that it could have been Doctor Yueh’s wife, who’s said to be imprisoned and tortured by the Harkonnens. However, neither of these earlier designs with faces suggests that. What’s more likely is that the creature is a creation of the Bene Tleilax — a secretive group in Herbert’s universe known for genetic experimentation.

In the later novels, the Tleilaxu are responsible for cloning experiments that play heavily into the larger story. However, that isn’t the extent of their dark scientific efforts. Given the Harkonnens’ immense wealth and power in the universe, it’s reasonable to assume they would have some business dealings with the Tleilaxu. Why the baron would want such a grotesque creature in the first place is another question entirely and, honestly, one that may be best left unanswered.

In the end, moviegoers were treated to a still-frightening but slightly less ghoulish version of the creature. While Villeneuve’s films don’t mention the Bene Tleilax by name, there are small details in “Dune: Part Two” that set up adaptations of Herbert’s later stories. If those sequels end up happening, the Tleilaxu will play a larger role, and we could finally get some much-needed clarity on what exactly that terrifying monster is.

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