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  • Anvilicious: Spice is essential to the functioning of The Empire's economy, including its transport system. It's found in a desert that's home to a tribal society with unfamiliar customs with whom it's necessary to do business to get the stuff, whose religion is directly descended from Islam. Does This Remind You of Anything? Indeed, Word of God says the analogy is intentional.
  • Broken Base: While most fans agree about the quality of the non-Frank Herbert novels (even if some still accept them), there is significant friction between fans of the David Lynch and Sci Fi Channel movie adaptations. Hell, evidence of it is available on these very pages ! The casting, acting, and costumes have been criticized by both sides. Criticisms of each side:
    • The Lynch version suffered from Executive Meddling, extensive voiceover exposition, some changes from the novel, and often an overly "80s feel".
    • The Sci Fi version of the first novel had the budget you'd expect from a cable miniseries and is more of an attempt at a TV drama than an outright movie epic. The issue is complicated by the Sci Fi Channel Children of Dune sequel (which includes the events of Dune Messiah), which is generally accepted as much higher quality, as well as being the only adaptation of the sequels on film. Since most actors reprised their roles, it's hard to "choose" the Lynch version of the original and still accept the sequel.
  • Complete Monster: Baron Harkonnen in the first book, whose sole redeeming quality is that he's very good at being evil. Rabban is implied to be this too (though we don't see enough of him to hate him like the Baron), and Feyd probably would have become one if he'd lived long enough. Malky from God Emperor was created to be this by the Ixians so that he could act as the devil to Leto II's God, but this failed due to Leto already recognizing himself as Necessarily Evil and thus being immune to temptation.
    • Rabban is an example of a deliberate Complete Monster, aptly nicknamed "The Beast" for his brutal suppression of dissidence; the Baron sends him to Arrakis precisely to make everyone hate him so much that Feyd-Rautha will look like a savior by comparison. There are elements in the novels that suggest being a Complete Monster is In the Blood for the Harkonnens.
      • The 1984 film takes their monstrousness Up to Eleven. Seriously.
      • The non-canonical Encyclopedia of Dune hypothesizes that "in the blood" is literal, and goes into detail as to how this affects the psychology and actions of several key characters (including Paul and Leto II).
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: "Inama Nushif" from the Children of Dune miniseries.
    • Nothing beats the Toto score from the 1984 film, especially the memorable theme, the Desert Theme and one of the best orchestral pop songs, "Take My Hand".
  • Deus Ex Machina: The climax of Sandworms of Dune has these thrown around like crazy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse / Breakout Character: Duncan Idaho And all his gholas.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans vehemently refuse to acknowledge any Dune books not written by Frank Herbert. Herbert's son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson wrote two prequel series as well as a sequel series of two novels. Both differences in writing style, as well as serious inconsistencies with the original material, contribute to this reaction.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Verse: "Duniverse" is the standard usage.
    • There aren't any names applied to characters or concepts in-universe, but many have cropped up to describe Fandom opinion. Those that only consider the books written by Frank Herbert refer to themselves as "Orthodox Herbertarians", while fans of the prequels and sequels by Brian and Kevin J. Anderson are called "preeqs". Then the preeqs retalliated by calling the original fandom "Talifans".
    • Also, the Herbert Jr. and Anderson books are often nicknamed "Mc Dune", since they are often accused of having ridiculous amounts of Canon Dis Continuity, Flanderization, Shrug of God and overall shoddy writing quality. What's worse is that a lot of these accusations are often very close to reality.
  • God Mode Sue: Paul Atreides is famously this, but he's also one of the greatest subversions (or even deconstructions) of this trope in sci-fi literature. Paul has all the earmarks of what would be a complete Gary Stu: Son of an influential Duke, trained by the best swordsmen and tacticians in the galaxy, trained as a Mentat human computer, one of the few males trained in the "Weirding Way" of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, prophetic powers, destined to become a galactic Messiah, and gaining leadership of the most Badass Army in the Imperium. It turns out being a supposed Messiah to a certain people sucks, and he ends a far worse tyrant than those he replaced. He's also unable to prevent the death of the woman he loves. On the other hand, he eventually rebels against his past mistakes and failures and becomes an atoner who opposes the tyrannical regime created in his name.
  • Ink Stain Adaptation: For the more sophisticated readers, the prequels and sequels by Kevin J. Anderson have kept them from the original series for fear it also caters to the Lowest Common Denominator. For fans of the new work... Well, they're in for a surprise if they try the originals.
    • The box-office failure of the 1984 movie and its numerous shortcommings kept another adaptation away until 2000.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The novels have an incredibly high Magnificent Bastard to character ratio. Leto II, Baron Harkonnen, Bijaz (although he was programmed specifically for it), Malky (only by implication, however), the thinking machines.
  • Memetic Mutation: Hoo boy.
    • "He who controls the (Spice/X) controls the universe!"
    • "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer!"
    • It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that my thoughts aquire speed, that my hands aquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion.
    • "The spice must flow..."
  • Misaimed Marketing: Coloring and puzzle books for the David Lynch film Dune, which features graphic violence and murders, lots of folks in latex and tubes up their noses, a pus-faced psychopath who kills his male sex slaves by uncorking their hearts, and of course a gigantic fish mutant (Guild Navigator) with a vagina-like mouth. The coloring book made sure to provide lines on Baron Harkonnen's face so children can choose different colors for his facial pustules.
  • Moral Event Horizon: An in-universe one occurs in the prequel novel House Harkonnen when Rabban murders his own father in cold blood. He immediately and proudly takes on the moniker "Beast" after the foul deed is done.
  • Narm Charm: Duncan Idaho's death scenes in both movie adaptations of the first novel. Especially the one in the miniseries.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: A common reaction to the Herbert/Anderson books.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Thoroughly, thoroughly averted with Dune II, the first Real Time Strategy game, and a breakout success that inspired Command and Conquer, Red Alert etc.
    • The Dune board game is also a classic.
  • Sequelitis: Brian Herbert's and Kevin J Anderson's books. So far they have written six prequels, two sequels, and three midquels. Two more midquels are planned, as well as up to three more prequels. This will mean a grand total of 16 books compared to Frank's six. Milking the cash cow much?
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Many people that have watched any of the Star Wars original trilogy before reading the Dune series may lose some of the impact from the many themes, concepts, and twists that Star Wars cloned into pop culture more widely.
  • Sequel Displacement: Dune II is more often remembered than the first video game adaptation.
  • Space Clothes: The '84 Lynch film portrays the various peoples wearing European Renaissance-style military uniforms and court regalia with an early nineteenth-century feel. This comes off remarkably well, while the 2000 Sci Fi miniseries (aided by the meager budget) sets groups apart by very large hats. The costumes look like they were tailored by high school drama classes.
  • Special Effects Failure: The extended cut of David Lynch's Dune film is made of footage that was cut before the final effects work was done so the Fremens' eyes will go from glowing blue to normal between scenes, and sometimes during the same scene.
    • The 2000 Sci Fi miniseries used painted backdrops with piles of sand in front of them for most of the desert scenes.
  • Squick: The 1984 depiction of Baron Harkonnen and his heirs. Heartplugs, grease showers, and a dramatization of the whole cat-milking thing...
  • The Woobie: Alia, as a 2-year-old. Later on, she becomes Darker and Edgier.
    • Also Leto II, later. Yes, seriously. Millenia of loneliness, of being the ultimate asshole by necessity, of having everyone hate his guts, all for the sake of preventing humanity's extinction. And did we mention that he never becomes free from basic human desires like finding love despite being a giant monster worm that has no penis? Yeah.
      • And as if that's not bad enough, Hwi dies.

  '"Between the superhuman and the inhuman," he said, "I have had little space in which to be human. I thank you, gentle and lovely Hwi, for this little space."'

  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Alia by the time of Children of Dune.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: The Lynch adaptation was fairly good with the casting, with nothing being blatantly out-of-place, but the 2000 miniseries cast a wide variety of nationalities, from French, Swedish, Italian, and other Caucasians with blatantly white skin and light hair for a people living in a desert and based on Arabs.
    • You need to watch both of those again. Everyone in the 1984 movie is white, very, very white. The miniseries at least tried to mix things up by trying to keep most of the nobles played by either American or English actors and the Fremen played by a large mix of Spanish, Italian, German, Czech, and even a few Middle-Eastern actors. The 1984 doesn't even try to hide its lack of diversity. And Fremen don't necessesarily have to look like Arabs, considering they feverishly try to protect their skin from the baking sun in the open desert.
    • The Lynch film does have the 30ish Kyle Mclachlan playing a 15 year old Paul; and Feyd played by Sting - the singer Sting.
    • For the role of Chani, Paul's love interest, the 2000 miniseries cast Barbora Kodetová, who is positively voluptuous. Chani is supposed to be a Fremen, and Fremen aren't supposed to have any body fat.
  • WTH Costuming Department: The 2000 Sci Fi miniseries is infamous for this. The hats. Oh god, the hats...
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