Dune 2 director says cutting one character from the sequel was the "most painful choice"

Stephen McKinley Henderson in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Like all page-to-screen adaptations, Dune: Part Two makes a few changes from the novel it's based on. For director Denis Villeneuve, though, one change in particular was the most difficult to enact: the omission of Thufir Hawat. 

"One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat," Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly. "He's a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it's the nature of the adaptation."

Thufir Hawat is a Mentat, AKA a human whose mind has been trained to have the same power as a supercomputer. Played by Stephen McKinley Henderson in Dune: Part One, he works for House Atreides and is a mentor for Paul (Timothée Chalamet), but was blackmailed into working for House Harkonnen after they orchestrated the murder of Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) – Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) poisons him and will only administer doses of the antidote if he complies.

 In Frank Herbert's novel, Hawat stays loyal to the Atreides and secretly works against the Harkonnens, giving the Baron false information and attempting to take him down from within. 

Instead, Villeneuve's "Bene Gesserit adaptation" focuses on the all-female group with clairvoyant abilities who orchestrates Paul's rise to power as the Lisan al Gaib. Their members include Paul's mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and new character Lady Margot (Léa Seydoux).

Dune: Part Two is out now in cinemas. For more, check out the rest of our coverage on the movie:

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.