Part Two Gets Totally Wrong From The Book

For fans of the book, “Dune: Part Two” finally introduces Paul’s villainous rival, Baron Harkonnen’s vicious nephew Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, played with aplomb by “Elvis” star Austin Butler. While it made sense for Denis Villeneuve’s first “Dune” film to omit the character — as Feyd-Rautha’s story doesn’t start until the second half — his introduction in the sequel was much appreciated nonetheless.

However, while Butler gives a strong and memorable performance in “Dune: Part Two,” the film’s characterization of Feyd-Rautha is quite different than it is from the books. For one, his physical appearance is drastically altered, with author Frank Herbert describing Feyd-Rautha as “a dark-haired youth of about sixteen years, round of face and with sullen eyes.” In the film, Feyd is instead seemingly aged up considerably (Butler himself is 32 years old), and rather than dark hair, Feyd in “Dune: Part Two” is bald and sickly pale, looking like a sexier Nosferatu.

Even more extensive are the changes to Feyd-Rautha’s characterization from page to screen. Feyd is much more aggressive and physically threatening in the film — as evidenced when he beats up his brother Glossu Rabban “The Beast” Harkonnen (Dave Bautista) in a scene created for the movie — while in the book he’s depicted instead as charismatic, conniving, and politically cunning. Book-Feyd even almost outsmarts the Baron at one point in an attempted assassination plot, something Film-Feyd doesn’t seem capable of.

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