Dune Part Two: Denis Villeneuve Faces the Same Issue as Peter Jackson Faced After Lord of the Rings

Denis Villeneuve and Peter Jackson faced similar challenges when adapting books with dense and complex storylines

Dune Part Two: Denis Villeneuve Faces the Same Issue as Peter Jackson Faced After Lord of the Rings

SUMMARY

  • Denis Villeneuve and co-screenwriter Jon Spaihts took almost a year after Dune to come up with the script of Dune: Part Two.
  • They had to find a balance between simplifying Herbert's dense book and not missing out on any crucial plot points.
  • The same issue was faced by Peter Jackson while adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Show More
Featured Video

When Denis Villeneuve adapted Frank Herbert’s novel into Dune and Dune: Part Two, he made significant changes to the source material. Fans of the book may be a little upset with the director, but they appear to be in the minority as the film received rave reviews from critics and audiences. Villeneuve’s approach is very similar to Peter Jackson’s when the latter adapted J.R.R. Tolkien’s dense books of The Lord of the Rings into a condensed three-part film.

Advertisement
Denis Villeneuve with Zendaya on the set of Dune
Denis Villeneuve with Zendaya on the set of Dune

Dune: Part Two is expected to break many box office records during its theatrical run due to the overwhelming response. The film has some exceptional performances from Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Austin Butler, and Stellan Skarsgård.

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Adaptation Changed Several Plots In The Book

Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two
Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two opened in theaters on March 1, and fans found the film miles apart from the previous film adaptations. Denis Villeneuve skillfully crafted his fantasy desert world of Arrakis with an element of realism so that audiences would believe his larger-than-life characters and relate to them. However, Villeneuve’s vision on screen did not manage to satisfy the hardcore fans of Frank Herbert’s novel.

Advertisement

Denis Villeneuve earlier admitted in multiple interviews that his film would not be a page-by-page adaptation of the book. Herbert’s book was filled with various subplots and lengthy expositions at places, all of which could not have fit into a two-part film. Denis Villeneuve and his co-screenwriter Jon Spaihts took almost a year to complete the screenplay of the second film.

Villeneuve told in an interview with Den of Greek that he was as economical as possible with the dialogues and wanted some of the story to be conveyed visually. For Villeneuve and Spaihts, the most challenging part was to find the equilibrium onscreen between simplifying the book’s story and not missing out on the crucial plot elements of the book. The Sicario director shared with Den of Greek:

“It’s all about the character’s arc and the emotional impact of the film. Discipline is required to be as economic as possible, specifically with dialogue. To always go the more direct way of doing things and trying to simplify. There’s an equilibrium when you’re trying to find a purity. The more simple you are, the more complex it becomes. It creates depth. When the surface is too dense, then you cannot go deeper. I tried to find that equilibrium onscreen. It took us months to write this part.”

Even after writing a tight-knit screenplay for the film, Villeneuve still had to cut some of the scenes from the film. In an interview with EW, the Blade Runner 2049 director revealed that cutting out Stephen McKinley Henderson’s Thurif from Dune: Part Two was a painful choice to make. This omission meant that fans missed out on the subplot involving Thurif and Lady Jessica in the books.

Advertisement

Fans Believed Denis Villeneuve Improved Upon The Novels Just Like Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Some fans took to X to throw shade at the positive reception of the film, sharing that the film came nowhere close to satisfying the fans like the books. However, many came on to defend the film versions. One popular comment shared that Denis Villeneuve and Peter Jackson were two directors who improved upon the source material. Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R Tolkien, was considered some of the best book-to-film adaptations ever.

Another fan shared that both these directors did justice to the books while also creating their own visions. One fan explained that the choice of these directors was to make the film better or make it accurate according to the books. They went for the first option, which the fan believed was the correct choice. While many felt the decision to cut out many scenes was right, they also missed some of the characters and scenes from the books.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dune are available for streaming on Max, while Dune: Part Two is successfully running in theaters.

Advertisement
Avatar

Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1459

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.