Stellan Skarsgard will be bringing his powerhouse talents to the role of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the key antagonist in Dune. Although we caught a few quick glimpses of him in the trailer that released earlier this year, we never got an in-depth look at the character. Thankfully, that has just changed.
Paul Shirey was able to spot an action figure of Stellan Skarsgard’s version of Baron Harkonnen, and it is the best look we have at the horrific villain in Dune. Check out the photos right here:
From what we can tell, this action figure confirms something we have been hoping to hear about Stellan Skarsgard’s take on Baron Harkonnen: he will be utilizing a floating technology that allows him to hover and move around almost like flying. In the canon of Frank Herbert’s original novel, this is due to the Baron’s morbid obesity. As we can tell in the shots we see of the Baron in the trailer and the image on this action figure box, it looks like the movie will be portraying him as obscenely fat.
It is interesting that the marketing for Dune is consciously keeping Stellan Skarsgard’s Baron Harkonnen in the shadows. Exactly how prominent he will be in the movie remains to be seen, but he is a crucial antagonist in the novel. It is his machinations that set the entire conflict into motion, and it will be intriguing to see how Skarsgard will play him. The Baron Harkonnen is exceedingly cruel and vile in the novel. How much of that will make it to Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation will be worth taking note of.
Previous cinematic versions of Baron Harkonnen have delivered over-the-top portrayals of the villain, though that does not mean they have not been enjoyable or unmemorable. Kenneth McMillan’s performance as Baron Harkonnen in the 1984 film from David Lynch is one of the best things about that extremely mixed movie. But, Stellan Skarsgard has a real opportunity to craft the definitive on-screen version of this deeply disturbing icon of science-fiction villainy.
However, we may be waiting a long time before we can see Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Dune was originally set to open in theaters this December, but the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to ravage the movie theater exhibition market and the mega-budget epic has moved to 2021. Unfortunately, things could only get worse for movie theaters if something substantial doesn’t happen to help them out. If the business stays shut down for the foreseeable future, these brief looks at Baron Harkonnen might be all we have for quite a while.
Hopefully, something positive will turn around with the state of film exhibition and distribution and we can look forward to seeing Dune next year. It is one of the most anticipated science-fiction films of the new decade, and Stellan Skarsgard is guaranteed to put forth a monstrous performance for the ages. We will be counting the days until we will be able to safely see Dune in whatever format it is available. The best-case scenario is seeing a movie like this on the biggest screen possible. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that can happen.