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Believe it or not, Dune: Part Two once was even more crowded with big-name actors

Even Denis Villeneuve has runtime limits.

Thufir Hawat in Dune: Part One
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dune: Part Two is kind of a corker for sure, but some moviegoers also felt it was brutally long, as we don't get many near-three-hours epics these days anymore (with stuff like Avatar: The Way of Water and Napoleon being other recent exceptions). According to writer-director Denis Villeneuve, we missed out on at least a couple of pretty cool actors because he and the studio didn't want the movie to overstay its welcome.

The filmmaker revealed "one of the most painful choices" he had to make while editing the movie during a chat with Entertainment Weekly, saying: "One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat... He's a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it's the nature of the adaptation."

Villeneuve's explanation for his absence is kind of a weird one, especially when the story being told is filled top to bottom with characters that aren't directly related to the Bene Gesserit machinations. In Frank Herbert's novel, the trusty House Atreides Mentat (they're humans trained to serve as computers and solve logic issues) is forced to work for the Harkonnen after they take over Arrakis. In Dune: Part One, however, his fate was left up in the air, much like Gurney Halleck's (Josh Brolin). The Atreides warrior does return in Part Two, so it was a bit weird not to see Thufir Hawat at least in one scene as well to highlight how House Harkonnen corrupts everything it touches.

On top of Stephen McKinley Henderson's absence, another missing name was Tim Blake Nelson, who wasn't part of the first movie and would've debuted in this one. He told MovieWeb: "I don't think I'm at liberty to say what the scene was. I'd leave that to Denis [Villeneuve] if he wants to talk about it. I had a great time over there shooting it. And then he had to cut it because he thought the movie was too long. And I am heartbroken over that, but there's no hard feelings. I loved it, and I can't wait to do something else with him and we certainly plan to do that." He'll be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year in Captain America: Brave New World as The Leader though.

You might think some of the cut scenes could make it into the Blu-ray release of the sequel, but Villeneuve has always said he's personally against the idea of deleted scenes and doing director's cuts: "I'm a strong believer that when it's not in the movie, it's dead. I kill darlings, and it's painful for me." He sure is a dramatic person!

Looking to consume more spice? You can either read the books or wait for the Max prequel series Dune: Prophecy and the MMO video game Dune: Awakening, both of which should be arriving later this year.

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