Character comparisons: Dune 1984 vs Dune 2020

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Image: Dune 1984/Universal, Dune 2020/Warner Bros.

Could Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune be the definitive big screen version? Let’s look back at the last time the story was in theaters.

Yesterday, Warner Bros. pulled the curtain back on Denis Villeneuve adaptation of Dune, the classic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert. The when is the year 10,191, far into our future, after mankind has fought and won a war against sentient machines and settled the stars. The where is Arrakis, aka Dune, a bleak desert planet incredibly inhospitable to human life. And yet the most powerful houses in the universe still have a great interest in it, because it’s the only known source of spice, a powerful substance that can extend human life and even grant limited prescient abilities to those who imbibe it.

The who…well, you’ll see that soon enough.

Multiple people have tried to adapt Dune for the screen in the 50+ years since it was published. Cult director David Lynch gave it a go with a 1984 movie, there was a miniseries on the Sci Fi Channel in 2000, and now Villeneuve has taken his shot. How have things changed over the years? Now that we have photos from the new movie, we thought we’d compare the looks of the characters in the old and new movies to find, starting with our leading man:

Paul Atreides: Kyle MacLachlan vs Timothée Chalamet

Paul Atreides, the heir to the powerful House of Atreides, was played by Kyle MacLachlan in Dune 1984 and Timothée Chalamet in Dune 2020. I daresay Chalamet looks a little more convincing in the part, since Paul is very young when the movie starts and Chalamet has a boyish look to him.

In these pics, Paul is in a stillsuit, which is an outfit designed to reclaim and repurpose the body’s moisture; if you’re venturing into the deserts of Dune, it’s absolutely essential. They both look futuristic, but the one in Dune 2020 looks a little more like something a real soldier might wear. I also like the brown coloring. Black in the desert? That’s gonna get hot.

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