Dune movie to gender-swap the role of Liet Kynes?


Director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movie has wrapped filming and is heading into post-production, which means we’ll likely see a teaser before the year is up. The film has been pushed back a month — from November 20, 2020, to December 18, 2020 — which means Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are confident it will carry the competitive holiday movie slot.

Once Dune gets to the screen, fans of Frank Herbert’s novels may notice a few changes. According to The Mix, the character of Liet Kynes will be gender-swapped, with actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Senator Pamlo in Rogue One) filling the role.

Sharon Duncan-Brewster in Rogue One. Photo credit: Star Wars/Lucasfilm

In David Lynch’s 1984 Dune film, Liet Kynes was played by Game of Thrones star Max von Sydow (the Three-Eyed Raven). In the books, Kynes is the secret leader of the Fremen people, the native inhabitants of the planet of Arrakis, aka Dune. He is also the Imperial Ecologist appointed to the position of the Judge of the Change, overseeing the swapping of control of the planet from House Harkonnen to House Atreides.

In the novels, Kynes is described as tall and thin with long sandy hair and a sparse beard. His eyes have that “fathomless blue-within-blue” which denotes a Spice addiction — all of the Fremen have those sorts of eyes. He’s also the father of Chani (Zendaya) who becomes the lover and concubine of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and bears them two children.

The Mix’s source described the female version of Liet Kynes as “a tall, lean woman in her forties who exudes pride and intelligence. She has sandy hair, a sun-tanned face, and the shocking blue eyes of spice saturation.” So it appears as if Villeneuve will keep the book description of the character the same, but swap the gender.

And now for some potential SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.


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According to a source for Bounding into Comics, Liet Kynes’ death will also be altered in the Dune movie. Instead of dying in an explosion called a Spice Blow — where the melange comes to the surface and can be harvested or attract the massive sandworms that are only live on Arrakis — Kynes will die by assassination from the Emperor’s personal elite guards, the Sardaukar. Per the site’s source:

"Kynes goes her own way. As she exits the cave where the ornithopter was, and steps into the desert, she witnesses the Harkonnens pursue Paul and Jessica. As she looks on, she is stabbed in the back by a Sarduakar assassin. After being stabbed, Kynes tumbles down a sand dune and is pursued by the Sarduakar. As Kynes lies at the bottom of the sand dune, she hears a hiss of sand, and a giant sandworm emerges and swallows up both Kynes and the Sarduakar. Kynes’ final words are, “I serve only one master. His name is Shai-Hulud!”"

Now, it’s important to note that none of this is confirmed. The sources for both sites could be blowing smoke, so take it all with a grain of salt…or Spice if you prefer.

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h/t The Hollywood Reporter