Why is it good that there is no guild in the movie “Dune”


The Space Guild controls all space travel in the Dune universe, but its absence in Denis Villeneuve’s film is not a mistake and makes it better.

The Oscar-nominated adaptation of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune introduces a new generation to the complex, original works of Frank Herbert, but wisely overlooks The Guild. The film follows Paul Atreides Timothy Chalamet on a journey to the sandy heart of the home planet of the Free in the desert, Arrakis, and stops halfway through the original novel “Dune”, which Herbert divided into two parts. There are several changes between the film and the book, not the least of which is Villeneuve’s decision to dump the Space Guild.

In the novel, the Space Guild wields extraordinary power among many Houses, with the Emperor and among the Bene Gesserit breeding program. He single—handedly manages superluminal space travel through the universe with the help of spice, a cinnamon-flavored hallucinogen originally from Arrakis. Spice allows genetically modified guild navigators to see the future for a limited time, allowing them to control the folds of spacetime and instantly move between planets. Spice’s role in intergalactic travel makes him such a sought-after commodity and gives rise to the transfer of power from House Harkonnen to House Atreides, which is the basis of the first novel and film.

Therefore, it seems strange that such a narrative basis of the books faded into the background in the first film “Dune”. The simple truth is that some characters and stories are better read than read on screen. The Guild would take an already complex space opera and add an extra layer of convolution, and this was so important to Herbert’s legacy that Villeneuve did his best not to digest the narrative. After David Lynch’s much-maligned original 1984 film Dune and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s abandoned attempt, it was important to learn lessons from adapting a complex literary work.

In addition to the visual leaps made by Villeneuve, giving Arrakis a frightening and depressing sense of scale, another important creative solution was to reduce the complexity of the story. Lynch’s version begins with a seemingly endless explanatory monologue by Princess Irulan, Paul’s future wife, who could be played by Florence Pugh in the second part. It ruins the movie in a matter of minutes. Paul has his own holographic educational explainers that serve as an exposition in the film. But the more complex the background, the more awkward the exposure the story seems to deserve, so removing the layer in the name of cinematic flow makes sense.

Although the actions of the Space Guild have far-reaching intergalactic consequences, they are not directly related to the emotional journey and the growth of Gender during the first novel. It’s not easy to open a franchise in a tent, but it’s often best to use a simple approach. “Star Wars. Episode IV: A New Hope” is, in fact, an ordinary space western. However, by inflating the narrative with the Senate and political shifts across the galaxy in its prequels, “Star Wars” changed what they were about. The same can be said about the “Iron Bank” of “Game of Thrones”: it meant a storyline with regional debts, which added complexity without emotional depth. These examples do not spoil the relevant stories, but they do not make them better. The guild occupies a similar place in the history of Dune.

The guild comes into play more directly during the events of Dune Messiah through Edric, a navigator who plays a key role in the failed assassination attempt on Paul and whom Paul cannot see with a Glance. Edric was certainly considered important enough to be included in the Children of Dune miniseries. If given the green light, his presence will create serious problems for Paul throughout the third film.

Perhaps only then will the audience see Villeneuve take on the Guild. By the third film of the dense space-opera franchise, viewers should immerse themselves a little more in mythology. Villeneuve might not shy away from a deeper dive into politics and the financial shifts of power in the Empire, given his lush tendencies to build peace. However, the first part is not suitable for this, and Villeneuve made the right choice for Dune.