In “Dune 2,” we can expect a new and extremely important character in the form of Alia. But can the film manage to portray Paul Atreides’ young sister credibly?
- “Dune 2” doesn’t start with a time jump, but will still show Paul Atreides and his mother living with the Fremen for several years.
- In the process, we also see Lady Jessica have a daughter, Alia, who is endowed with great wisdom. Can the film portray this credibly?
“Dune” already introduced so many characters from Frank Herbert’s novel “The Desert Planet” in 2021 that director Denis Villeneuve decided against having Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, one of Paul Atreides’ greatest antagonists, appear in the first half of the story. Villeneuve thus deviated from the book, but since Feyd-Rautha actually only becomes important in the further course of the novel, this change was easy to get over.
But “Dune 2” will have another new character to offer besides Feyd-Rautha, who is actually even more important than Feyd-Rautha in Frank Herbert’s novels. This is Alia, the daughter of Lady Jessica and the sister of Paul Atreides.
Alia is not born until Jessica and Paul are already living with the Fremen, but the first trailer for the film does not show Alia or Jessica’s pregnancy. However, Jessica is already pregnant with Alia during the first movie, Duke Leto is her father.
The whole thing is complicated by the circumstances of Jessica’s pregnancy. Namely, Jessica becomes a Venerable Mother of the Bene Gesserit through a special ritual that requires her to drink the Water of Life. This ritual ensures that Jessica has access to the memories of all Venerable Mothers of the past and is therefore extremely wise.
However, since Jessica is pregnant with Alia in the meantime, Alia is also endowed with the memories of the Venerable Mothers already in the womb. Thus, from birth, she is wiser and wiser than almost all other people.
Much of the second half of the novel of “The Desert Planet” takes place almost 4 years after Alia’s birth, thus Alia is an extremely wise 4-year-old. An interesting concept for a science fiction novel, but a complicated issue for “Dune 2.”
Does “Dune 2” simply remove Alia from the plot?
In Hollywood, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a child actress to play Alia. However, the audience must also believe that we are really dealing with an exceptionally intelligent and wise child. So the girl shouldn’t seem smart as a whip and would have to be an experienced actress, which is hardly possible at this age.
Villeneuve could circumvent this risk by simply dropping Alia from the film. However, this is likely to piss off fans of the original novel, and since Villeneuve has so far stuck quite closely to Frank Herbert’s novel, this change would probably be too big to simply wave through.
It would therefore be conceivable that the chronological sequence in the film would simply be adjusted a bit. We can expect a time jump anyway, so why don’t Paul and Jessica just stay with the Fremen for six or seven years before they start their attack on the Harkonnens? After all, a 7-year-old Alia would be much easier to portray.
Maybe we’ll already see Alia in the next trailer for “Dune 2”, which we can expect in late summer 2023. Otherwise, we’ll be wiser by November 2, 2023 at the latest.