Dune 2 Writer Explains Creative Reason For Alia’s Book Change
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Dune 2 Writer Explains Creative Reason For Alia’s Book Change


  • Jon Spaihts changed Alia in
    Dune: Part Two
    to avoid distractions from the main story and maintain momentum.
  • Adapting Alia faithfully would have required a two-year time jump, affecting the movie’s flow.
  • The changes to Alia’s character in
    Dune: Part Two
    were necessary for a more seamless and engaging adaptation.



Dune: Part Two co-writer Jon Spaihts explains the creative reason why Alia was changed for the movie. Directed once again by Denis Villeneuve, with a script he co-wrote with Spaihts, the second half of their Dune adaptation continues following Paul Atreides and his Bene Gesserit mother Lady Jessica with the Fremen as they take the fight to House Harkonnen. However, one major change from Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel is that Paul’s younger sister, Alia, only appears briefly in his visions, played by Anya Taylor-Joy.

In an interview with Inverse, Spaihts explained the creative reason why Alia Atreides was changed for Dune: Part Two. The co-writer says they “were a little leery of that talking toddler” and the time jump that would have been necessary for her appearance, which would have distracted from the rest of the story and affected its flow. Read his full explanation below:

We were a little leery of that talking toddler, as a distraction in the middle of the film. That’s a difficult thing to execute on film. To allow such a long time lapse inevitably would sort of cool the passions of Part One. If Duke Leto’s death were years and years ago, then it would lessen the lingering trauma that all the characters were feeling. We wanted the heat of their passion to be fresh and their wounds to be fresh. It left Jessica talking to a kind of phantom inside her and walking through the Fremen world in an apparent madness, talking to someone who wasn’t there. And we loved the drama of that… Denis was engaged by the visual challenge of representing this little premature adult in utero wrapped in pearly pink light and floating in a fluid.



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Dune: Part Two’s Alia Changes Were For The Best

Alia Atreides with blue eyes in David Lynch's Dune (1984)

Of all the changes Dune: Part Two makes to the book, Alia stands out as one of the best. In the book, Alia is born while Paul and Jessica are living with the Fremen in the Arrakis desert. Because her mother drank the Water of Life while pregnant, Alia also inherits all the memories of her ancestors, and when she is born, she can talk and has all the abilities of a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. Two years later, it is actually Alia, not Paul, who kills Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the book.

One major reason why Part Two changed Alia is because adapting her faithfully would have required a two-year time jump which, as Spaihts says, would have killed the movie’s momentum. Furthermore, as evidenced by David Lynch’s Dune, introducing a talking toddler in the middle of Part Two would have been strange and distracting. Instead, after drinking the Water of Life in Dune: Part Two, Jessica begins having internal conversations with Alia in the womb which, in addition to adult Alia appearing in Paul’s visions, could set up a larger role for her in Dune: Part Three.

Dune: Part Two
is playing in theaters.

Source: Inverse

Dune Part 2 Poster Showing Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Zendaya as Chani Holding Daggers

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two is the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film that covers the novel’s events by Frank Herbert. The movie continues the quest of Paul Atreides on a journey of revenge against those who slew his family. With insight into the future, Atreides may be forced to choose between his one true love and the universe’s fate. 

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

$122 Million

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