Director Denis Villeneuve has not been afraid to take risks as a filmmaker. Last year he took on the seemingly impossible job of making a worthy sequel to the science fiction classic Blade Runner. His next project is an arguably even more ambitious adaptation of the novel Dune. The details of how he will bring the dense and difficult novel to the screen has remained shrouded in mystery. One of the few details we have received so far has been related to casting with the role of protagonist Paul Atreides being played by Timothee Chalamet. We have learned today that Dave Bautista has also been cast after having worked with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049.

At this point who he will play is currently unknown, but it has plenty of fans speculating. The most obvious choice would be the villainous Rabban, the deranged nephew of antagonist Baron Harkonnen. It’s easy to make that connection since Bautista fits the description of the hulking Barron.

However, given how Bautista played a very different character in Blade Runner which played against his physical attributes. In that film, Bautista played a much more quiet and reserved character who only used his massive size when he absolutely had to. It also allowed him to show a level of depth he had never shown before as an actor, which made his appearance one of the highlights.

I am sincerely hoping that Villeneuve will use Bautista to a similar effect in Dune and not just use him to play a raving lunatic. I could personally see him as someone like Gurney Halleck, the battle hardened mentor to Paul who teaches him skills necessary for combat and survival. It would allow Bautista to actually act since Halleck is both a strong fighter as well as cultured since he also Paul’s music teacher and can play a mean baliset.  

There are few things on earth that scare me more than the idea of another filmed version of Frank Herbert’s Dune. The original novel is a personal favorite and has historically resisted being adapted into a live action production. It has previously been adapted twice both on screen and on television to mixed results. The movie had the budget to show off the epic scope of the novel but also had to cut out so much of the dense story to fit into 2 and half hours. While the TV mini series simply didn’t have the money to convincingly portray the worlds of Arrakis, Giedi Prime or Caladan. I simply don’t feel that something as simultaneously massive and subtle as Dune could ever really work as anything but a book. But damn it all, Hollywood is still gonna try. Villeneuve is a strong choice simply cause it looks like he loves a challenge, but I am still going to remain cautious about how well it will live up to a book I love so much. For now, I will only hope that he makes an entertaining movie that will get people interested in the larger Dune universe.

Who do you think they will cast Bautista as in Dune? Tell us in the comments!