Denis Villeneuve Hates Cutting Character From Dune: Part Two

By Christopher Isaac | Published

Denis Villeneuve

It is the reality of film making that any movie adapting the story of a book will have to make some changes in translating the story from the page to the screen. Even if these changes make sense, they can still be very painful in requiring to leave beloved elements of the book on the cutting room floor. Recently, Denis Villeneuve felt that pain putting together Dune: Part Two, when he chose to not include the Mentat of House Atreides, Thufir Hawat.

We Met Him In Part 1, But He’s A No-Show In Part 2

Denis Villeneuve

Played by Stephen McKinley Henderson, Thufir Hawat was present in 2021’s Dune, but Denis Villeneuve made the call to not include him at all in the second movie. According to the director, he didn’t make the cut because he was dissatisfied with McKinley’s work or because he disliked the character–the truth is the exact opposite.

What The Director Had To Say

Denis Villeneuve

One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat,” Denis Villeneuve about cutting Henderson’s role. “He’s a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it’s the nature of the adaptation.”

Mentats In Dune

Denis Villeneuve

In the world of Dune, Mentats are individuals who are trained from childhood to function like a living computer. Their purpose is to mimic much of the technology we possess in our own world, but that has either been forgotten or outlawed in the world of Dune. Denis Villeneuve acknowledged that Mentats play a very important role in the books, but even with the lengthy runtimes for both of his Dune movies, some character arcs had to be removed to trim things down.

Perhaps We’ll Find Out More About Hawat In The Future

Denis Villeneuve said that he considers the machinations of the group known as the Bene Gesserit to be the central thrust of the Dune story. Rather than abbreviate anything there, cuts had to be made elsewhere. It is certainly a sudden departure for Thufir Hawat since he did have a prominent role in the first film, but most viewers will likely surmise that he did not survive the events of the first film. Perhaps if the original script for Dune: Part Two ever gets released, we may see what was intended for Hawat’s character before being removed altogether.

The Lord Of The Rings

Lord of the Rings

It simply comes down to the advantages and disadvantages of each story medium. While books can have sprawling worlds filled with dozens of characters, it takes more screen time than page time to feature so many different roles. It does not necessarily make the film adaptation worse. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings trilogy excised entire characters like Tom Bombadil, but the movies are still hailed as some of the greatest fantasy movies ever made.

So there is no reason Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movies can not achieve a similar status despite having to omit a few beloved names or collapse a few roles into the same character.

Regardless, Dune: Part Two Is Winning Over Critics And Fans

Though still early in its release, Dune: Part Two is getting a lot of positive feedback and reviews from fans and critics. So painful as it may have been for him, perhaps Denis Villeneuve made some good calls with what he chose to include versus leaving to the novels.

Dune: Part Two was released this month and is in theaters now.

Source: EW