Who Is Feyd-Rautha In Dune 2? Austin Butler’s Villain Role & Book Changes Explained


  • Feyd-Rautha’s inclusion in Dune: Part Two rectifies the previous film’s omission and showcases Villeneuve’s interesting plans for the character.
  • Dune 2 is expected to be more successful due to higher stakes, new characters, and an intense conclusion to Paul Atreides’ character arc.
  • Austin Butler’s portrayal of Feyd-Rautha promises a more complex and compelling interpretation of the character, establishing him as a rising star.

The character of Feyd-Rautha might have been missing from Denis Villeneuve’s first Dune adaptation, but the antagonist plays a huge role in Dune: Part Two. His absence from the original movie was a huge talking point that had many audiences concerned about the accuracy of Villeneuve’s adaptation, but the news that he’d be appearing in Dune: Part Two has seemingly rectified this decision and proven that the director has interesting plans for the character. Feyd-Rautha is going to be played by Academy Award-nominee Austin Butler in his first mainstream role following the success of Elvis.

While 2021’s Dune turned out to be an adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert’s timeless sci-fi novel, Dune: Part Two is supposed to finish that story and hopefully lead into the third and final instalment. If the movie is a success, Villeneuve has stated that he wants to expand the trilogy into Dune Messiah, Herbert’s controversial follow-up novel. Thankfully, many fans are expecting Dune 2 to be more successful than its first part thanks to the higher stakes, new characters, and intense conclusion to Paul Atreides’ character arc. Feyd-Rautha plays a crucial role in this explosive climax.

Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen Is A New Villain In Dune 2

Feyd-Rautha Hakonnen from Dune Part 2.

Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen is one of Dune 2’s new villains, chosen by his family to lead Arrakis once they’ve taken control of the planet. He’s the nephew of Baron Harkonnen (played by Stellan Skarsgard in Villeneuve’s Dune), described as a fierce warrior who’s desperate to prove himself worthy of the family that he serves. In many ways, Feyd-Rautha serves as a parallel to Paul – they’re both facing immense pressure to preserve their family name, among the strongest fighters of their generation, and are desperate for power. This match-up should be fascinating to watch on-screen, as Feyd-Rautha is the first real threat to Paul’s leadership that he’s forced to face.

Since Feyd-Rautha wasn’t sent to Arrakis during the invasion, this also opens the door for Dune 2 to include more off-world scenes. This is something that was desperately missing from Dune, preventing the audience from really immersing themselves in the large-scale conflict that’s happening in the Imperium. Feyd-Rautha is a perfect gateway into this, leading the narrative into the paths of characters such as Princess Irulan and Lady Fenring in the process. Cutting Feyd-Rautha from Dune may have been a mistake, but the promotional materials for the sequel all point to the character being much more important than most audiences will have anticipated.

Austin Butler Plays Feyd-Rautha In Dune 2

austin butler could be in mcu fantastic four

In Dune: Part Two, the character of Feyd-Rautha is going to be played by Austin Butler – a casting decision that took many audiences by surprise following the actor’s portrayal of Elvis Presley in 2022. These are two completely different roles, and while Butler was undeniably great in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic (securing an Oscar nomination for the role), he’s never displayed the kind of ferocity and rage that are needed to make Feyd-Rautha such a compelling villain. However, it didn’t take long for the movie’s first trailer to offer that first glimpse of Butler in the role, and he completely disappears into the character.

Butler has teased his portrayal of Feyd-Rautha as a more complex interpretation of the villain, which proves that he understands the character and knows exactly where he wants to go with this performance. It’s no surprise that Villeneuve has entrusted the actor with such an important role, as he’s already displayed his passion and interest in the project. It’s going to be something that audiences have never seen from Butler, but this might be the perfect move to ensure he’s able to continue that momentum from Elvis and establish himself as one of his generation’s biggest rising stars.

How Dune 2’s Feyd-Rautha Compares To The Books

Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two

Frank Herbert’s novel is often cited as the greatest sci-fi story ever written, but that doesn’t mean that every single aspect has aged perfectly. Some readers actually take issue with the character of Feyd-Rautha, as his motivations and intentions aren’t always clear – sometimes it can feel like he exists only to oppose Paul, rather than having actual emotions and thoughts of his own. This is something that Butler has already addressed by describing his portrayal as “more complex,” hopefully implying that Villeneuve’s script has more room for Feyd-Rautha’s personal arc instead of focusing solely on Paul. This would really help make the character more interesting.

Judging from the trailers, it seems like Feyd-Rautha is going to play a much larger role in Villeneuve’s story than he does in Herbert’s. Not only does he appear several times in the first trailer (whereas characters like The Emperor don’t appear at all), but Feyd-Rautha’s scenes are filmed in black-and-white, which draws attention to them and makes them stand out from the rest of the story. It’s unclear exactly why Villeneuve has made this creative decision, but many audiences have theorized that it’s because they take place on the Harkonnen planet of Geidi Prime.

How Austin Butler’s Feyd-Rautha Differs From Sting’s

Sting as Feyd-Rautha holding a knife in Dune

It’s important to note that Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune isn’t the first version that’s been put to screen. In 1984, popular surrealist filmmaker David Lynch made his own version of the story – though it wasn’t as critically adored as Villeneuve’s has proven to be. The 1984 adaptation actually cast Sting (lead singer of musical group The Police) in the role of Feyd-Rautha, but the result was something completely different from both Herbert’s novel and Butler’s take on the character. Sting’s performance was much more theatrical, often veering into the comedic, turning Feyd-Rautha from a terrifying villain into a more forgettable sidekick to Baron Harkonnen.

Dune 2 has already changed Feyd-Rautha significantly by giving him an entirely new appearance and making him a ferocious warrior once again. This previous iteration of the character is something that Butler will need to drift away from in his performance if he wants to make himself stand out – there was nothing particularly wrong with Sting’s take on the role, but it doesn’t fit with the tone that Villeneuve has created so far. Thankfully, Butler’s character in Dune: Part Two is already proving to be much scarier, more intense, and hopefully a worthy adversary for Chalamet’s Paul Atreides.

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