- Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is a faithful adaptation of the novel, but certain scenes and characters from the book were left out of the movie.
- The banquet dinner scene, Lady Jessica finding the conservatory, and the setup for Dr. Yueh’s betrayal are among the missing book scenes in Dune.
- Feyd-Rautha’s introduction, Hawat suspecting Lady Jessica, Gurney singing and playing the baliset, Drunk Duncan Idaho, and Princess Irulan’s narration are also missing from the film.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is an incredibly faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, but there are quite a few big book moments that did not make the cut. The 2021 live-action movie based on the acclaimed 1965 novel was a passion project for Villeneuve years before he finally was able to tackle it. While Herbert’s story was previously brought to life in live-action a few instances before, 2021’s Dune was made with book accuracy in mind thanks to the director’s affinity for the source material. That is part of the reason why the story of the first book was split into two movies so that as much of the book could be included as possible.
While it is true that Denis Villeneuve’s movie is faithful to the book, changes have to be made with any adaptation. 2021’s Dune is no different in that regard, as there are entire scenes and characters missing from what is included based on how far into the story the first movie gets. By the time that Dune‘s ending comes to a conclusion, there are quite a few notable book scenes left out. Some of these were never going to be included in Dune, but others were filmed and are among the movie’s deleted scenes. In either instance, these scenes from the book are missing.
8 The Banquet Dinner On Arrakis
There is little debate that the biggest missing book scene in Dune is the banquet dinner. The scene in question is actually an entire 24-page chapter in Frank Herbert’s novel that Denis Villenueve’s movie completely leaves out. The cut Atreides banquet dinner scene in Dune is often considered one of the strongest parts of the entire book, which made the decision to leave it out of the movie adaptation entirely even more surprising. The importance of the banquet dinner comes from it being the proper introduction to the political landscape of Arrakis and what House Atreides is dealing with on their new home planet.
Although there is certainly some disappointment among avid book fans that this scene was not in Dune, the decision is an understandable one on some levels for Villeneuve. The scene would potentially drag down the overall story that the movie focuses on. It could also risk taking attention away from other important sequences. Considering the overall political nature of Dune‘s story, Villeneuve’s adaptation still manages to get the biggest points that this scene is responsible for in the movie through other means.
7 Lady Jessica Finds The Conservatory
Lady Jessica’s role in Dune could have been even bigger than the sizable role she had. One of the biggest book scenes involving Rebecca Ferguson’s character included her finding a conservatory hidden in the Atreides’ new home on Arrakis. This sequence proves to be incredibly important to Lady Jessica in the novel as she discovers a room full of water on the largely barren desert planet. She also discovers a note left by Margot Fenring warning her about the Harkonnen’s plot to kill Duke Leto Atreides. This note includes a warning about a “defection of a trusted companion or lieutenant,” which leads to Jessica suspecting Hawat as the traitor.
6 The Setup For Dr. Yueh’s Betrayal
There are also countless book scenes missing from Dune involving the setup for Dr. Yueh’s betrayal of House Atreides. While the 2021 blockbuster movie tackled Yueh’s betrayal as a twist coming during the middle of the narrative, Herbert’s novel made his intentions clear much earlier on. This included providing more of a backstory about Dr. Yueh’s wife, who is connected to his motivation for betraying House Atreides. It is possible most of the book scenes connected to Yueh’s betrayal and paranoia about being discovered were left out due to them happening as part of his inner-dialogue more than conversations with other people.
5 Feyd-Rautha’s Introduction
One of the biggest Dune book changes included leaving Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen out of the first movie entirely. This creates a few scenes that are missing from Villeneuve’s movie that otherwise should have been included. For example, Feyd-Rautha is part of the introductory scene for the entire Harkonnen empire in the book, as he joins Baron Harkonnen and Glossu Raban Harkonnen to discuss the plot against House Atreides. It is clear that the decision was made to keep all scenes involving the Baron’s nephew out of Dune so that Feyd-Rautha could be introduced in Dune: Part Two instead.
4 Hawat Suspects Lady Jessica Is A Traitor
The traitor subplot that Dune is largely missing also means that Thufir Hawat’s suspicions that Lady Jessica is the betrayer are not included. In Frank Herbert’s book, the Atreides’ mentat is incredibly suspicious of Lady Jessica and believes that she plans to turn on Duke Leto and the entire House in favor of the Bene Gesserit’s plans. By not including this storyline in the movie, Dune is left without memorable scenes like Thufir revealing his theory to Leto and a tense interrogation between Hawat and Jessica as they both suspect the other to be the mole.
3 Gurney Singing & Playing The Baliset
A recurring bit from the Dune book missing from the movie is Gurney Hallack’s musical skills. The novel provides several instances where Gurney is asked to sing and play that baliset, including at the banquet dinner and during a flight around Arrakis with Leto, Kynes, and Paul. The original intention for Dune was to include Gurney singing and playing music, as cut footage showing Josh Brolin performing those tasks has been released. It is also known that Hans Zimmer worked on music specifically for these Gurney sings, but they were ultimately removed from the final cut.
2 Drunk Duncan Idaho
Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho has a memorable role in Dune, but a standout sequence in the books is still left out. There is a scene in the novel where Duncan gets drunk while on Arrakis that is more important than some might realize. The book scene provides Lady Jessica with the first inkling that there is a growing conspiracy that she is the Atreides traitor everyone is looking for. However, there is also an added layer of tragedy for Duncan, as Jessica points out that he and many others from Caladan have struggled to adapt to life on Arrakis. This scene could have provided some necessary plot and character development in the movie if included.
1 Princess Irulan’s Narration
Another significant part of the book that Dune leaves out is Princess Irulan’s narration which occurs through excerpts at the start of each chapter. There are no formal scenes involving Princess Irulan until later on in the novel, which is why Florence Pugh’s Irulan will not appear until Dune 2. However, Herbert made sure to begin every chapter with an excerpt from Irulan’s various writings. The missing narration from Irulan leaves her without a role to play in the first movie, with Zendaya’s Chani instead narrating the movie’s opening sequence. While Irulan’s excerpts are not book scenes per se, the function they play is still missing from Dune.