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Dune 2 co-writer explains big change with Alia Atreides

anya taylor joy, dune 2 movie premiere in new york city
Dune 2 co-writer explains Alia Atreides changeANGELA WEISS - Getty Images

Dune: Part Two co-writer Jon Spaihts has explained why the movie makes a big change to Anya Taylor-Joy's character Alia Atreides.

In Frank Herbert's 1965 book, Paul's sister Alia is born after Lady Jessica drinks the Water of Life. This provides the child with the full powers of a Reverend Mother, allowing her to develop into a skilled warrior and a fluent speaker by the age of four.

She also plays a big part in the final battle in Arrakeen, killing Baron Harkonnen with the Gom Jabbar.

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In the movie, however, Alia is never born. Instead, Lady Jessica communicates with Alia while she is still in the womb after drinking the Water of Life. Paul later sees a vision of his sister as a grown woman (Taylor-Joy) after he also consumes the Water of Life.

Speaking to Inverse about this change, Spaihts explained: "We were a little leery of that talking toddler, as a distraction in the middle of the film. That’s a difficult thing to execute on film."

Showing Alia's birth also meant the film would have to incorporate the book's two-year time jump, which Spaihts says would "cool the passions of Part One".

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ANGELA WEISS - Getty Images

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"If Duke Leto’s death were years and years ago, then it would lessen the lingering trauma that all the characters were feeling. We wanted the heat of their passion to be fresh and their wounds to be fresh."

Spahits did reveal that he and director Denis Villeneuve considered adding the time jump at the end of Part One. Ultimately, the duo decided against it.

"We knew it was coming, and [it was] one of the things we had to sort out when writing Dune: Part One," he said. "And one possibility was that the time jump would be the break, and the first film would carry Paul and Jessica all the way up to becoming members in the tribe and Jessica becoming a Reverend Mother, and then we would leap forward years."

Dune: Part Two is now out in cinemas.

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