MOVIES

The Dune 2 Scene You Didn’t Realize Was Improvised

In Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” Baron Harkonnen is portrayed as a sexual deviant in no uncertain terms. It’s one part of the novel that fails to hold up under modern-day scrutiny. The baron is the only character heavily implied to be gay, and his sexuality is blended with incestuous and pedophilic desires, gluttony, and violence. The confluence of homosexuality with perversion and evil is obviously deeply problematic, and it makes sense that Denis Villeneuve and his team would want to steer clear of this particular aspect of the Harkonnens.

There are some things that “Dune: Part Two” just gets wrong from the book, but for the most part, the film’s changes are understandable and fitting. If you’ve read the novel, the kiss between Feyd-Rautha and the baron may evoke these more complicated portrayals of the Harkonnens, but the scene has a totally different intonation in the movie. It’s not a sexualized moment but an exchange of power. The baron knows that Feyd will likely take his place in the near future, but he maintains the public air of being the one really in charge of the family. By taking control of that public moment with a second kiss, Feyd asserts before the whole crowd that he’s really the one running the show now.

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