Dune Wiki
Dune Wiki

Frank Herbert's Dune is a three-part miniseries written and directed by John Harrison and based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.

Produced by New Amsterdam Entertainment, Blixa Film Produktion and Hallmark Entertainment Distribution, the series was first broadcast in the United States on December 3, 2000 on the Sci Fi Channel. It was later released on DVD in 2001, with a director's cut appearing in 2002.

A 2003 sequel miniseries called Frank Herbert's Children of Dune continued the story, adapting the second and third novels in the series (1969's Dune Messiah and its 1976 sequel Children of Dune). As of 2004, both miniseries were two of the three highest-rated programs ever to be broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel.[1]

Frank Herbert's Dune won two Emmy Awards in 2001 for Cinematography and Visual effects in a miniseries/movie, as well as being nominated for a third Emmy for Sound editing. The series was also praised by several critics, including Kim Newman. [2]

The miniseries was shot in Univisium (2.00:1) aspect ratio, although it was broadcast in 1.78:1.


While many book fans consider the 1984 movie adaptation of Dune an unfaithful adaptation, fans have heatedly debated whether the miniseries more truly reflects the philosophical and thematic point of view of the original. Those who consider it to be a more accurate adaptation of the saga than the 1984 movie are probably in the majority; however, dissenters contend that the miniseries' deviations from the book are at least as major as those of Lynch's film, and that the latter better conveys the subtleties and nuances of Herbert's novel.

Director John Harrison has described his film adaptation as a "faithful interpretation"[3] in which any changes he made served to suggest what Herbert had explained subtly or not at all. The miniseries introduces elements not found in Herbert's novel, but according to the director, these serve to elaborate rather than to edit.

Herbert's novel begins with lead character Paul Atreides being 15 years old and aging to 18 over the course of the story. Harrison aged the character to adulthood in order to increase the quality of the acting for this crucial role.[4]

Some have taken issue with Alec Newman's portrayal of the Paul Atreides character (particularly in the first part of the film), as an angst-filled, rebellious, petulant teenager, which they consider a contradiction with his portrayal as a mature-beyond-his-years protagonist in Herbert's novel. However, others believe that in the miniseries, Newman's conflicted portrayal is more realistic.

Paul would also rub his right temple when frustrated, a trait shared by the Baron Harkonnen, a subtle but effective foreshadowing to their relation.

The miniseries also boasted some stylistic changes. For example, whereas Herbert's ornithopters were described as truly birdlike in their flight, the miniseries' ornithopters more closely resembled insects. Contention surrounding the 'correct' pronunciation of Herbert's character names such as "Harkonnen", "Chani", and "Fedaykin" aside, the miniseries opted for a Western pronunciation ("Fed-die-kin") as opposed to the Arabic-sounding one used in Lynch's film (which would seem appropriate given the extensive, Arabic-themed terminology in the novel). The miniseries also decided, for unknown reasons, to pronounce the Harkonnen name with the emphasis on the first syllable instead of the second. Chani's name was pronounced with a hard "a" instead of the soft "a" used in the Lynch film. Some fans were upset by the look of the spice-addicted characters' eyes, believing that the phosphorescent light blue coloring was not consistent with Herbert's description, "blue within blue".

The miniseries invents an extensive subplot for Irulan Corrino, a character who plays little part in the plot of the first novel. Harrison felt the need to expand Irulan's role because she played such an important part in later books, and epigraphs from her later writings opened each chapter of Dune.[5] Additionally, the character gave him a window into House Corrino.[3] Besides the final scene, the only one of Irulan's appearances based on an actual excerpt from the novel is her visit to Feyd-Rautha. However, in the book it is a different Bene Gesserit, Margot Fenring, who visits the Harkonnen heir, on assignment from the Bene Gesserit to "preserve the bloodline" by retrieving his genetic material (through conception) for their breeding program. The miniseries does not suggest this as Irulan's motive.


Actor Role
William Hurt Duke Leto Atreides
Alec Newman Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib
Saskia Reeves[6] Lady Jessica
James Watson Duncan Idaho
Jan Vlasák Thufir Hawat
P. H. Moriarty Gurney Halleck
Robert Russell Wellington Yueh
Laura Burton Alia Atreides
Ian McNeice Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Matt Keeslar Feyd-Rautha
László I. Kish Glossu Rabban
Jan Unger Piter de Vries
Giancarlo Giannini Padishah Emperor

Shaddam Corrino IV

Julie Cox Irulan Corrino
Miroslav Táborský Hasimir Fenring
Uwe Ochsenknecht Stilgar
Barbora Kodetová Chani
Jakob Schwarz Otheym
Karel Dobrý Liet Kynes
Christopher Lee Brown Jamis
Jaroslava Šiktancová Shadout Mapes
Zuzana Geislerová Reverend Mother

Gaius Helen Mohiam

Drahomíra Fialková Reverend Mother


Petra Spindlerová Young Mother


Clotilde Le Grand Novititate
Elizabeth Sofranco Novititate
Philip Lenkowsky Guild Agent
David Máj Guild Representative
Pavel Kríz Esmar Tuek
Jeff Caster Lingar Bewt
David Fisher Smuggler / Assassin
Pavel Cajzl Sardaukar Captain
Noel le Bon Turok
Gregory Linington Fedaykin #1
Dan Rous Fedaykin #2
Dan Brown Watermaster
Mikulás Kren Fremen Leader
Oldrich Navrátil Naib #1
Jirí Hanák Naib #2
Matej Forman Puppeteer
Petr Forman Puppeteer
Brian Jaurequi Fremen Man #1
Petr Vacek Fremen Man #2
Ivo Novák Fremen Man #3
Petra Lustigová Fremen Woman
Rich Gold Father
Jan Cajzl Boy
Klára Issová Servant Girl
Rianne Kooiman Servant Waterseller
Mark Huntley Lieutenant
Robert Jasków Soldier #1
Pavel Bezdec Soldier #2
Martin Hub Soldier #3
Jeff Tyler Foreman
Petr Vobecky Bodyguard
Joel Sugerman Spice Spa Attendant
Teresza Semlerova Farrah
Anita Durst Lady in Waiting
David Forrester Noble #1
Zdenek Maryska Noble #2
David O'Kelly Imperial Soldier
Jan Nemejovský Imperial General
Robert Lahoda Officer
Steve Fisher Lieutenant
Pavel Vokoun Guard



  1. Kevin J. Anderson Interview ~ DigitalWebbing.com (2004) Internet Archive, July 3, 2007.
  2. See Science Fiction/Horror by Kim Newman, BFI Publishing, 2002.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "DUNE: Remaking the Classic Novel" - Cinescape.com
  4. SciFi.com ~ Ask John Harrison
  5. Julie Cox's narration at the beginning and end of the miniseries reflects Irulan's later role as historian of the Atreides empire, illustrated by Herbert through epigraphs.
  6. Harrison has stated in interviews that actress Alice Krige was his first choice to play Jessica, but she was unavailable and Reeves won the role. Krige would later play the role in the sequel miniseries when Reeves was unavailable.

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