Dune author Frank Herbert's script for an unmade adaptation contains some seriously weird additions

Rebecca Ferguson in Dune 2
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dune has had its fair share of adaptation attempts. Denis Villeneuve and David Lynch brought Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel to the big screen in 2021 and 1984, respectively, while Ridley Scott and Alejandro Jodorowsky also made their own efforts that never came to fruition. 

Herbert himself also made an attempt to commit his book to celluloid with a whopping 321-page script recently rediscovered by Max Evry, a film journalist and author of A Masterpiece in Disarray: David Lynch's Dune – An Oral History (via Inverse). 

Commissioned by a producer (who would later go on to hire Scott as director, albeit using a different script) in 1976, the mammoth screenplay features several pretty strange moments, from the mundane to the bizarre, including scenes that neither Villeneuve nor Lynch attempted to adapt in their own movies. 

The weirdest moments involve Alia, Lady Jessica's unborn child and Paul's younger sister, a character largely omitted by Denis Villeneuve from his two-part adaptation of Herbert's book. In Dune: Part Two, she appears only in one scene, in one of Paul's visions, and we see her as an adult woman played by Anya Taylor-Joy

Although we see Jessica communicating with her unborn daughter in the movie, we don't see anything from Alia's point of view. In Herbert's script, however, there's a scene in which Alia looks directly at the camera and speaks in a "deep echo." "I must be born immediately!" she demands. After birth, things get even more odd, though, as Alia witnesses… a Fremen orgy. 

There's also a scene where House Atreides' swordmaster Duncan Idaho and Fremen leader Stilgar (characters played by Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem in Villeneuve's movies) take on the Harkonnens together in battle. Evry says the scene is "ridiculous", but, clunky exposition in their dialogue aside, we'd have liked to see that double act in action… Plus, fellow Atreides ally Gurney Halleck, played by Josh Brolin in Villeneuve movies, appears to have a Scottish accent in Herbert's vision of the movie. Why not? 

Dune: Part Two is out now in cinemas now. For more, check out the biggest upcoming movies on the way in 2024 and beyond. 

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.