Dune 2 Trailer Hints At A Tricky Timeline Change
Oh, you got blue eyes! Oh, you got brown eyes?
Everybody knows that when you’re exposed to the spice of Arrakis long enough, your eyes turn blue! But, what the Dune: Part Two trailer, presupposes, is that, maybe Paul’s (Timothée Chalemet) eyes won’t be blue as soon as we think?
In the thrilling trailer, Paul’s changing eye color, and powers of prescience could indicate that Denis Villeneuve will try to untangle the chronology of Paul’s time in Sietch Tabr. In fact, Paul’s changing eye colors in the trailer might hint that some scenes in the film will occur twice, or, that some moments may not happen in their correct chronological order. Here’s why.
The vast majority of the scenes in the Dune: Part Two trailer show Paul Atreides with brown eyes, his natural eye color before he’s changed by exposure to the spice, and before he survives ingesting the Water of Life in his body. Early in the trailer, we see a shot of Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) gasping, which could be a moment from when she and Paul take the Water of Life. This is crucial in the story. But, it also may be one of the building blocks in the structure of the new movie’s timeline.
In the book, Paul takes the Water of Life to increase his powers of prescience. He already has some prescience because of his status as the son of Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit, and then, exposure to the spice gives him slightly more power to see the future. But, after he takes the Water of Life, his future visions go into overdrive.
So, in the trailer, Chani asks Paul “have you ever had a dream about your first ride?” This could imply that what we see in the trailer could be both Paul seeing his own future as well as some version of that future. The question is, when and how will Part Two depict these visions?
Two years pass in the third part of Dune; “The Prophet,” and in some moments, Paul reflects that he’s unsure if he’s remembering the future, or actually living through it. This problem gets unpacked in an even bigger way in the second novel, Dune Messiah, in which Paul can “see” after being blinded, simply by remembering his previous vision of the future. This time-bending twist is a big feature of the latter sections of the first book, and it’s possible that director Denis Villeneuve might be using this concept in a way that Frank Herbert never could on the page. In other words, what we see as the present in Dune: Part Two, may later be revealed to be a future memory from the past. This paradox would, possibly, allow Paul to have two sandrider sequences in the film instead of one; a ride with blue eyes, and ride with brown eyes. Then again, maybe not. It all depends on when Villeneuve decides to reveal Paul’s blue eyes.
In the book, Paul has blue-in-blue eyes by the time he reunites with Gurney late in the third part of the book, which is briefly after he changes the Water of Life in his body, and after he becomes a sandrider. In Dune lore Fremen get these intense blue eyes after prolonged exposure to the Spice. But, Paul also has blue eyes after he ingests the Water of Life, which is not just spice, but more specifically, bile from a baby sandworm.
So, the question is: will Paul get blue eyes in the movie before or after he ingests the Water of Life? At any point after he does, his prescience will only get stronger, meaning, it’s possible his future “dreams” will be indistinguishable from regular memory.
As Paul’s future visions become more focused — and possibly less abstract than in Part One — the structure of Dune: Part Two film could cleverly use Paul’s future visions to make the two-year time jump pass without any text on screen or awkwardness in dialogue. It’s also possible that the only clue the audience will have as to what is a memory of the future, and what is actually happening “now,” could be Paul’s eye color.
Then again, Paul’s visions aren’t perfect, nor are they always complete. Herbert uses the limitations of Paul’s prescience as a double-edged sword; it’s helpful, but, in a sense, he’s also trapped by his own knowledge of the future. And it seems, based on Chani’s pointed comment about Paul’s dreams, that Part Two will not shy away from this complex aspect of the book. For all the talk about this installment seeming more like an action movie, it’s very possible the coolest thing about Dune: Part Two will be the paradoxical mind puzzle of the shifting sands of time.