Denis Villeneuve started writing Dune 3: "If I manage to make a trilogy, that would be the dream"

Dune 2: cutting this actor during editing was heartbreaking for Denis Villeneuve

“It’s a character that I really love, but it’s the game of adaptation.”

In Dune 2we expected to find Stephen McKinley Henderson back in the role of Thufir Hawat, the Atreides mentat captured by the Harkonnen in the first film. In the books, he becomes the new mentat of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, his own (Piter de Vries, played by David Dastmalchian) having died when Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) released a poisonous gas from his hollow tooth. The Baron keeps Hawat under his control by administering a residual poison. If he escapes, he will succumb for lack of an antidote.

In the universe of Dune, where computers have been banned, the mentats are human computers who advise the heads of the great houses thanks to their abilities (increased by taking a special drug) to calculate and analyze data. They are the counterpart of the Bene Gesserit. And it is for this reason that director Denis Villeneuve chose to sacrifice this character in the sequel, Dune: part two.

Thufir Hawat is one of the most painful adaptation choices I have had to make.”Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly. “He's someone I really adore, but I decided early on that I was doing a Bene Gesserit adaptation. This means that the mentats are not as present as they should be, but that's the game of adaptation.”

Another actor was also cut from the film. This is Tim Blake Nelson, a favorite of the Coen brothers. The role he was to play has not been revealed but it is very likely that it was that of another mentat, Count Hasimir Fenring (husband of Margot Fenring/Léa Seydoux). He appears briefly in a key scene in the novel. But the latter kicked in when Movieweb asked him the question:

I don't think I have the right to tell you what scene that was. Denis will talk about it if he wishes. It breaks my heart to have been cut off, but I don't blame him. I loved it, and I hope to be able to tour with him again soon.

Stephen McKinley Henderson has confirmed that he filmed scenes for Dune 2 with Austin Butler (Feyd-Rautha) and Tim Blake Nelson, as he explained on the podcast This is Purdue last year :

He's really a good person. He's a nice guy, he and Timmy are both great people. They play important antagonists in the film, so it was great to see them off camera. Austin has been so nice to me, I really appreciate it.”

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