While fans impatiently await the release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which is announced as „an incredibly faithful adaptation of the original Frank Herbert’s book“, there are some, like journalist David Josef Volodzko, who believe that Dune 2020 holds hidden anti-Trump messages.
After the trailer for Dune 2020 swept the Internet, Volodzko tweeted that in Denis Villeneuve’s version Dune’s main antagonist Baron Harkonnen emits „strong Trump fascism energy“.
„House Harkonnen was originally based on Soviets but I like the new look—skinhead riot police. Strong Trump fascism energy. Especially since the Fremen are based on Bedouins, ie Muslim Arabs“, commented Volodzko release of the Dune 2020 trailer.
Comparing Baron Vladimir Harkonnen to Trump is nothing new, the Internet is full of memes comparing the US President to the notorious red-haired villain of Dune.
Now Villeneuve visually reimagined the Baron, but despite removing the read-hair from him, some are not letting go with their Trump-Harkonnen comparison.
When explaining the pale new look of the Harkonnens, Villeneuve said; “Geidi Prime, the Harkonnen planet, is one where the sun is obscured most of the time by heavy clouds of pollution. It’s an artificial world, it’s a world made out of plastic and cut off from nature. Their skin is not used to sun… The Harkonnens are brutal colonizers, brutal invaders, but they are still vulnerable to the environment.“
This triggered some on the fringe corners of the Internet.
„Pale colonizers. Subtle!“, commented one 4chan user.
„Book Harkonnen are not particularly pale or weak to the environment. They’re also more like feudal lords rather than the “European colonizer” shit Villeneuve is pushing“, added the other.
It is interesting that Villeneuve is now criticized for pushing anti-Trump messages, despite being one of the rare Hollywood directors who publicly said that Trump’s success could be good for the country.
Back in 2015 while Trump was still running for President, Villeneuve was asked does he follows what is happening in the Donald Trump saga.
This is what he responded:
„From very far away. I just finished a shoot this summer. And when I’m filming, I’m a bit out of it. That’s the paradox of it; you try to explore the world, but as you’re exploring it with a camera you are away from it. But I heard about Donald Trump. When I first heard he was going to run for president, I thought it would last five minutes. And it’s getting bigger and bigger. I was talking with Americans on my last movie, and one of them that is a very liberal, very left-oriented friend was saying to me, But the problem is that Donald Trump doesn’t say bullshit. He’s really saying what he thinks for real. And that is really refreshing for everyone. It really creates a shock in our country because he doesn’t try to please people. He just expresses what he thinks. And that is a very strong thing. I don’t agree with what he is saying, but it’s maybe a good thing in American politics because the politicians today are too much under the control of money. And he’s free. I mean, that’s very strange.“
Many years have passed since this interview and some netizens are now convinced that Villeneuve had Trump in mind when remaking the Baron.
However, many do not realize that the original book series by Frank Herbert was highly political and „anti-presidential.“
“I wrote the Dune Saga because I had this idea that charismatic leaders ought to come with the warning label ‘May Be Dangerous To Your Health'” said Dune’s author Frank Herbert, who had a conviction that people shouldn’t blindly believe people on top.
„There is definitely an implicit warning, in a lot of my work, against big government . . . and especially against charismatic leaders. After all, such people-well-intentioned or not-are human beings who will make human mistakes. And what happens when someone is able to make mistakes for 200 million people? The errors get pretty damned Big! For that reason, I think that John Kennedy was one of the most dangerous presidents this country ever had. People didn’t question him. And whenever citizens are willing to give unreined power to a charismatic leader, such as Kennedy, they tend to end up creating a kind of demigod . . . or a leader who covers up mistakes—instead of admitting them—and makes matters worse instead of better. Now Richard Nixon, on the other hand, did us all a favor. Yes, Nixon taught us one hell of a lesson, and I thank him for it. He made us distrust government leaders. We didn’t mistrust Kennedy the way we did Nixon, although we probably had just as good reason to do so“, said Herbert in one of his interviews.
He described Baron Harkonnen as a classic bad guy, but a really dangerous character in Dune is Paul Atreides who becomes become the legendary Muad’Dib. His very existence is much more devastating for people in Dune universe than anything Baron Harkonnen has done, as Paul is the cause of galactic jihad being waged in his name. Jihad that pillaged millions of planets.