Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ characters compared to David Lynch’s version

The new version of the adaptation of the novel written by Frank Herbert opens in Spain on December 18.

David Lynch transformed in 1984 Dune, the story written by Frank Herbert, in a movie. The life of Paul Atreides, played by Kyle MacLachlan, became one of the director’s few projects to receive negative reviews. Now, 36 years later, another filmmaker, in this case Denis Villeneuve, has wanted to bring Herbert’s creation to the big screen with Timothée Chalamet in the title role. The new Dune, destined to be the first installment of a cinematographic saga, reached theaters on September, 17th and in SensaCine we have compared to the characters in the film from the mid-80s with the current.

MacLachlan and Chalamet have given life to Paul, the son of the noble Atreides family. At the beginning of the story, this clan must leave its home, the planet Caladan, to move to Arrakis. In this desert territory with a dangerous climate in which water is scarce and which is plagued by giant carnivorous worms, they will have to supervise the extraction of the coveted drug-spice. melange. In turn, they must also live with the indigenous tribe known as the Fremen.

The Duke Leto Atreides and his wife Lady Jessica Atreides They are Paul’s parents. In Lynch’s version they were played, respectively, by Jürgen Prochnow and Francesca Annis. In Villeneuve’s, by Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson. Among the ranks of this clan are warriors Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck. The first was brought to life by Richard Jordan in Lynch’s film and in this year’s Jason Momoa. As for the second, it was Patrick Stewart who got into his skin under the orders of the director of Mulholland Drivewhile Josh Brolin takes over.

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As for the Fremen, Javier Bardem is Stilgar in the new Dune, role played in the 1980s by Everett McGill. ChaniOn the other hand, she was played by Sean Young and Zendaya is the one who gets into her skin in Villeneuve’s film. Finally, one of the big changes that the new version has made is the character of Kynes. Lynch was faithful to Herbert’s book with Max von Sydow as the one chosen to bring it to life. Villeneuve, on the other hand, has gender swapped with actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

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Paul Atreides

In the original film, Paul Atreides is portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, while in the most recent it is Timothée Chalamet the one with the paper. Paul is the heir to the Atreides house. His father, Duke Leto, has prepared him for when he takes the position of power and his mother, Lady Jessica, has trained him in his Bene Gesserit skills.

Duke Leto Atreides

Duke Leto, the great leader of House Atreides is played by Jürgen Prochnow in 1984 and by Oscar Isaac in 2021. He is the one who maintains the order of the family, who has just received the order to take care of the collection of spice in Arrakis.

Lady Jessica Atreides

Next to Duke Leto is Lady Jessica, a powerful Bene Gesserit, that is, she belongs to a mysterious organization of women with extraordinary powers. It has been performed by Francesca Annis and Rebecca Ferguson.


The young Chani belongs to the group of the Fremen, the inhabitants of the desert. Only they know how to navigate this delicate terrain, where few are able to survive. In Lynch’s version, the role fell to Sean Young and now zendaya has taken over.

Gurney Halleck

Gurney Halleck, the Atreides’ weapons master, is a key member of the family. He has educated Paul in the art of fighting and remains faithful to them. In the adaptations it has been interpreted by Patrick Stewart (in the old) and Josh Brolin (in the most recent).

Duncan Idaho

Another very important member of the Atreides is Duncan Idaho, a born explorer and young Paul’s guardian, with whom he maintains a close relationship. In the 80s version it was Richard Jordan the one who gave life and now the role has fallen on Jason Momoa.


In Villeneuve’s version, Stilgar, the Fremen character who visits the Atreides’ facilities, has ended up in the hands of Javier Bardem, who gives him a lot of charisma. In Lynch’s, the leader of the desert group was played by Everett McGill.

left Kynes

Liet Kynes has undergone the biggest change from one adaptation to another. In Frank Herbert’s book he is a man, just as he was in Lynch’s version, where Max von Sydow gave it life. For the new film, the team wanted more female presence and signed Sharon Duncan-Brewster to play the character.

Barón Harkonnen

The great villain of the film is Baron Harkonnen, the leader of the family who until now has been in charge of controlling the spice. They have been ordered to leave the field to the Atreides, but they are not willing to leave power so easily. He has been portrayed by Kenneth McMillan and Stellan Skarsgård.

The Rabban Beast

Also in the Harkonnen house is The Beast, the Baron’s nephew. This character was played by Paul L. Smith in the 1984 film, in 2021 he has changed to Dave Bautista

Thufir Hawat

With those bushy and magnificent eyebrows, Freddie Jones gave life to Thufir Hawat, the Mentat of the Atreides. In Villeneuve’s version they completely changed his appearance and Stephen McKinley Henderson picked up the baton. No eyebrows in between.

Gaius Helen Mohiam

The matriarch of the Bene Gesserit, the organization Lady Jessica belongs to, was played by Siân Phillips in the old tape. In the current one, that role has fallen to the great Charlotte Rampling, with a very different aspect as well.