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Dune 2 co-writer explains one major change to Anya Taylor-Joy's character

 Anya Taylor-Joy at the Dune 2 premiere.
Anya Taylor-Joy at the Dune 2 premiere.

Dune: Part Two co-writer Jon Spaihts has revealed why the movie makes a big change to Anya Taylor-Joy's character Alia Atreides, compared to Frank Herbert's novel.

Alia is Paul's sister and, in the source material, is present in the story as a toddler who can talk fluently – she's seen like this in David Lynch's Dune movie. But, in Denis Villeneuve's Dune 2, Alia is a fetus who speaks to her mother Jessica. In one of Paul's visions, she appears as an adult, played by Taylor-Joy.

"We were a little leery of that talking toddler, as a distraction in the middle of the film," Spaihts told Inverse. "That's a difficult thing to execute on film."

Alia's birth would also necessitate the novel's two year time skip, which the filmmakers had already decided against. "To allow such a long time lapse inevitably would sort of cool the passions of Part One," Spaihts added. "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."

The change also made Jessica's role in the story more intense. "It left Jessica talking to a kind of phantom inside her and walking through the Fremen world in an apparent madness, talking to someone who wasn’t there," he said. "And we loved the drama of that."

Dune: Part Two is in theaters now. For even more on the film, check out our deep dives below: