Dune 2’s Fremen Language Subtitles Aren’t Always Direct Translations, Villeneuve Reveals
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Dune 2’s Fremen Language Subtitles Aren’t Always Direct Translations, Villeneuve Reveals


  • The Fremen language in
    Dune: Part Two
    not always directly subtitled, adding depth to character interactions.
  • Villeneuve meticulously crafts the
    world, from languages to visual effects, capturing complex essence.
  • Dune: Part Two
    is getting rave reviews so far, which will hopefully lead to the film’s successful box office run.



Denis Villeneueve reveals that the Fremen language in Dune: Part Two is not always directly subtitled. Directed by Villeneuve, Dune: Part Two continues the story of the 2021 sci-fi film through following the story of Paul Atreides as he seeks vengeance on those who ruined his family. Dune: Part Two features a leading cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, and Anya Taylor-Joy.

Now, Villeneuve explains on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that the subtitles the film uses for the Fremen language are not always direct. The director was asked about how the Fremen language had to translate not only individual words, but idioms. One such idiom comes when Zendaya’s Chani says to Skarsgård’s Vladimir Harkonnen “you’re insane,” but “in Fremen language it is ‘you’re drinking sand.’” Check out the full quote from Villeneuve below:

“There was like a whole poetry and whole inner logic to the language. For example, when Zendaya says at one point to Stellan Skarsgård, her character Chani says to Skarsgård, ‘you are crazy, you’re insane.’ She says ‘you’re insane.’ But the way she says it in Fremen language is ‘you’re drinking sand.’ That of course for a Fremen, is the ultimate madness.”

The Fremen Language Reflects the Meticulously-Crafted World of Dune: Part Two

Frank Herbert’s original Dune is nearly 900 pages long. Unfolding over hundreds of pages, Dune has often been considered an impossible novel to adapt given its sheer complexity and amount of world building involved in it. From complex politics to made up languages, the enormity of Herbert’s Dune presents an immense adaptation challenge to any filmmaker.

As evidenced by the description of the Fremen language, Villeneuve has taken over this intricate world with impeccable grace. Earlier in his interview with Colbert, Villeneuve related a story of a dialect coach on set who corrected an actor’s pronunciation of a Fremen word. Even though the Fremen language is made up, Villeneuve agreed to do the take again for the sake of accurately portraying the world of Arrakis and beyond.

Dune: Part Two has also committed to its world building by way of its skillful use of visual effects in order to portray everything from the sandworm to the titular dunes of Arrakis. So far, these efforts are being met with massive critical praise for Dune: Part Two, which holds a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hopefully, Villeneuve’s well-crafted world will amount to box office success as Dune: Part Two enters theaters for its opening weekend.

Source: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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