How to Handle the Baron Harkonnen in a Modern Dune Adaptation


This post is by Emily Asher-Perrin from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Baron Harkonnen, Ian McNeice, Sci-Fi Dune miniseries

As Denis Villeneuve’s Dune beings to take shape, I find myself with all sorts of questions. Can they condense such a complex novel into one or two films and do it justice? Will they change too many core themes, making the story unrecognizable? Where will all that hefty exposition come from? But upon hearing the casting of Stellan Skarsgård in the role of Baron Harkonnen, those questions rapidly filtered down to one:

Is this going to work?

Stellan Skarsgård is an excellent choice to play the Baron in terms of talent, but that’s not really what I’m getting at here. Frank Herbert’s Dune was written in the 1960s when certain types of coding were common for villainous characters. In the case of the Baron, there are two primary issues at hand, two characteristics that further argue his odiousness on the story’s behalf that are rightly seen as contentious today: the ...