Movie Reviews

Max's Dune TV Show Must Set Up A Dune 3 Story Denis Villeneuve's Movies Cut

rebecca ferguson as lady jessica as a reverend mother in dune 2 and emily watson as a harkonnen bene gesserit in dune prophecy

Dune: Prophecy, Max’s upcoming TV show set in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movie universe, has a lot of ground to cover. Set 10,000 years before the events depicted in Dune: Part One and Dune: Part Two, the series focuses on the founding of the Bene Gesserit sect. Even so, there are many other questions Dune: Prophecy must answer. Of course, there are also several key threads that were cut from Villeneuve’s movies that the TV series must address — not just for the good of Dune‘s lore, but in order to properly set up the filmmaker’s highly anticipated Dune 3.

Key to Dune: Prophecy‘s impressive cast of characters are Valya Harkonnen (Emily Watson), the leader of the newly founded Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, and Tula Harkonnen (Olivia Williams), Valya’s sister and fellow Bene Gesserit adept. While the main focus will be on the Harkonnen sisters and other Bene Gesserit acolytes, members of the Corrino Empire will also play a key role. Needless to say, the prequel series sets the stage for Paul Atreides’ (Timothée Chalamet) epic story, but Dune: Prophecy also needs to properly introduce a crucial faction that Villeneuve failed to include in his movies.

Undeniably, Dune: Prophecy‘s premiere makes 2024 the year of Dune. Needless to say, the TV series can build on the momentum of the behemoth Dune: Part Two, which garnered a staggering $710.6 million at the box office. That excitement has already drummed up anticipation for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Three — an epic conclusion to Paul’s story that would theoretically adapt Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert’s direct Dune sequel. That said, Dune: Prophecy is the perfect project to introduce the Spacing Guild — an organization that possesses a monopoly on interstellar travel and banking in Herbert’s sci-fi universe.

By using the spice — that is, the drug melange that’s harvested from the desert planet of Arrakis — Guild Navigators can achieve a limited prescience. While it may not rival that of the Bene Gesserit’s Kwisatz Haderach, the ephemeral precognition grants the Guildsmen the ability to navigate “folded space” and safely guide starships. Although the Spacing Guild is apolitical, its power is balanced out by the Padishah Emperor and Dune‘s great houses. The only way the Spacing Guild can ensure its monopoly is to support whatever dynasty that’s in power, and then swap allegiances once the power inevitably falls.

While Dune: Prophecy is set 10,000 years before the events of Paul Atreides’ story, the prequel series captures Herbert’s Dune universe at a crucial moment. Not only does it mark the founding of the fate-altering Bene Gesserit and the long-lasting Corrino Empire, but the Spacing Guild as well. In the wake of the crusade that destroyed all thinking machines and computers in the universe, sects like the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild formed to train acolytes in mental-physical techniques. While the Guild’s origins intersect with the Bene Gesserit, so does its Dune 3 future.

In Dune Messiah, which will likely serve as the basis for Dune 3, Paul Atreides is emperor of the Known Universe. A religious messiah in the eyes of his Fremen followers, Paul has caused a bloody holy war that’s killed billions. Moreover, Paul, who liberates Arrakis at the end of Herbert’s Dune (and Dune: Part Two), has taken complete control of spice production. Paul’s stranglehold on the spice upsets the Spacing Guild’s place in the universe, prompting the organization to join the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Mohiam, Princess Irulan, and others in a conspiracy to dethrone and kill Paul Atreides.

Even though Villeneuve’s Dune films are carefully plotted, the filmmaker chose to cut the Spacing Guild to streamline the story, even though the organization tries early on to thwart Paul’s rise. While Dune 3 will boast weird moments that no other film can properly prepare viewers for, the Spacing Guild’s role in the story is crucial to Dune Messiah, making Dune 2‘s book omission challenging for Dune 3. If Dune: Prophecy doesn’t set up the Spacing Guild’s involvement in the structure of the Known Universe, the Guild’s sudden introduction in the third movie could cheapen the whole conspiracy plot.