Every fan of Dune will have no doubt taken immense interest in the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation coming to our screens this December. It’s fair to say we’ve been proffered an embarrassment of acting riches. Gratifyingly, there’s been no crowbarring of major names into inappropriate roles, like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise as Duke Leto or what-have-you. Even Jason Mamoa as Duncan Idaho is a natural choice when one stops and thinks about it, Aquaman and GOT be damned.*
*It seems Lynch movie fan service to have been avoided too, with no actors from that adaptation in this one. That said, I wouldn’t rule out Kyle Maclachlan popping up as the Emperor in the second movie, should it occur.
Timothee Chalamet as Paul is excellent casting, as is Zendaya as Chani. Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin couldn’t mess up their roles (Leto and Gurney) even if you sent them to the wrong movie lot and stole their phones. My personal squee-generators are Rebecca Ferguson- fresh from her magnetic performance in Doctor Sleep- as Lady Jessica and Stellan Skargard (Chernobyl, Nymphomaniac and some Marvel thing, I dunno) as Baron Harkonnen.
But, weirdly, staggeringly, no name has been attached to one of Dune’s most iconic characters: the beautiful, blade-wielding narcissist Feyd Rautha, nephew to the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. It’s been months since the rest of the main cast were revealed and still no sign.
Odd, to say the least. Sting’s version of him was pretty much the poster boy of the 1984 movie. So what gives?
Way I see it, there’s several possibilities:
Feyd’s actor will be revealed in the next few days/weeks and this blog post will look super dumb. Yeah, let’s not think about that one.
Feyd’s actor is a total newcomer to movies/acting and so there’s no real point in revealing him. Could be, though as time goes on it seems less likely. I mean, by now we know who’s playing ‘First Trooper’, ‘Deaf Trooper’ and Sardukar 1, 2 and 3 (Thank you, IMBD) for heck’s sake. And it’s not like they haven’t picked anyone yet; the movie’s in the can.
The only reason I can see them covering up Feyd’s actor is if he’s some truly striking, unconventionally handsome-yet-icily-stunning figure, like a supermodel or an athlete or something. Or maybe another pop star, much like Sting back in the day (Christ. What if it’s Justin Bieber? That would be simultaneously the most godawful and most spot-on casting ever devised).
Nope, the more I think on it the more I believe ‘we just haven’t been told yet’ ain’t what’s cooking here.
Feyd Rautha has been entirely written out of the script. This… is actually quite feasible.
Apart from his vital actions in the very last scene (which, in truth-spoilers!- merely serves to validate and rounds off Paul’s character arc) Feyd doesn’t push the novel’s central plot along. He isn’t even in the novel all that much. People recall him as being central due to Sting’s ubiquity in the Lynch version’s posters etc.
Dune has a lot of characters. Which is fine for a 180,000 word book but not so much for a movie. Do we really need two nephews of the Baron? Hell, do we need two bad sisters in King Lear? Answer: No, actually, and Shakespeare would be the first to understand if you took one out. Feyd and Gonerill are wallpaper at the end of the day, not load-bearing walls.
Remove Feyd and you’re left with ‘the Butcher’ Rabban who is to be played by the ever-wonderful Dave Bautista. That’s a character who could be stretched to perform both nephews’ plot beats. Seriously. If Villenue makes Rabban a true monster, and I mean a real scary and magnificent bastard, then a duel between he and Paul will carry a immense weight. Can you imagine Bautista and Chalamet going toe-to-toe with knives? That’s one meaty-fucking-man-Everest for the latter to climb. A true climax to a franchise. Don’t pretend it wouldn’t be!
Feyd Rautha has been written out of the first movie but will appear in the second (Should it ever be made). Now there’s a thought. What better way to pop a bit of pizzazz into the second half of a movie franchise than a new bad guy?
There’s a lot to be said for holding Feyd back for a bit, perhaps only mentioning his name in the first movie, tantalising us like the hopeless tantalberries we are.
There’ll be room. The first half of the book wipes out a lot of faces. A second movie can make room for Feyd and Princess Irulian and The Emperor whereas in the first they would likely be clutter, if pretty clutter. If the first Dune movie is a success (Please let it be a success!) they’ll be the capital to inject a little star-power into those roles.
Yup. My bet is on this final possibility. My brain and my gut are in agreement on the matter, which is a rare day indeed.
But, hey, I could be wrong. It’s happened before. Like that time I went to Comic-Con cosplaying as shower-briefs Feyd from the eighties Dune movie. I’m still not allowed back in the San Diego area…