Frank Herbert's Children of Dune

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Frank Herbert's Children of Dune
Children of Dune 1.jpg
DVD cover
Based on Dune Messiah and Children of Dune 
by Frank Herbert
Screenplay by John Harrison
Story by Frank Herbert
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Starring James McAvoy
Alec Newman
Julie Cox
Daniela Amavia
Alice Krige
Susan Sarandon
Music by Brian Tyler
Original language(s) English
Cinematography Arthur Reinhart
Running time 266 minutes
Original channel Sci Fi Channel
Original release March 16, 2003 (2003-03-16) – March 26, 2003 (2003-03-26)
Preceded by Frank Herbert's Dune

Frank Herbert's Children of Dune is a three-part science fiction miniseries written by John Harrison and directed by Greg Yaitanes, based on Frank Herbert's novels Dune Messiah (1969) and Children of Dune (1976). First broadcast in the United States on March 16, 2003, Children of Dune is the sequel to the 2000 miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune (based on Herbert's 1965 novel Dune) and produced by the Sci Fi Channel. As of 2004, this miniseries and its predecessor were two of the three highest-rated programs ever to be broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.[1]

In 2003, the critically acclaimed miniseries won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.


Part One[edit]

Twelve years have passed since Paul Atreides had become Emperor at the end of Frank Herbert's Dune by seizing control of the planet Arrakis and forcing a union with the former Emperor's daughter, the Princess Irulan. Paul's Fremen armies have since launched several bloody jihads to solidify his position. Deposed Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and the rest of his family are exiled to Salusa Secundus, where his other daughter Princess Wensicia plots to restore House Corrino to power. The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Tleilaxu also plot to overthrow Paul's reign, aided even by rebel Fremen, who hate how Paul's terraforming project is changing Arrakis and the traditional Fremen way of life. The Tleilaxu present Paul with a ghola in the likeness of his friend Duncan Idaho, killed during the events of Dune, but secretly conditioned to assassinate Paul when triggered by certain words.

Though his prescient abilities reveal the dangers ahead, Paul allows the conspiracies to succeed to avoid even worse consequences. He is attacked with a type of nuclear weapon called a stone burner and blinded, but still manages to "see" by following his prescient visions. Later, Paul's concubine Chani gives birth to twins at a Fremen sietch but dies soon afterward. In Paul's absence, his sister Alia purges the imperial city of the enemies of House Atreides. Meanwhile, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale triggers Duncan's conditioning; but the trauma of potentially killing Paul breaks his programming, and unlocks the memories of his original incarnation. His plan foiled, Scytale threatens the lives of Paul's children; whereupon the unique nature of the infants (who, like Alia, were "pre-born") allows Paul to see through the eyes of his son and kill Scytale. Following the Fremen tradition of abandoning the blind to the sandworms, Paul walks alone into the desert. His legacy secured, the twins and their future empire are now left in the care of Alia.

Part Two[edit]

Paul's and Chani's children Leto II and Ghanima are now young adults; Princess Irulan has protected their interests as her own. Now married to Duncan, Alia is still regent of Paul's empire and official guardian of the children. Irulan's sister Wensicia yearns for a return to power through her son, Farad'n Corrino. After a long absence, Paul and Alia's mother Lady Jessica arrives on Arrakis to visit her family, but Alia fears that Jessica has resumed her allegiance to the Bene Gesserit and may be plotting against her. An individual known as "The Preacher" has surfaced in the capital, speaking against the decline of Muad'Dib's religion into fear and ritualism; but Alia resists having him killed because she shares the popular belief that he may be a returned Paul.

Alia possesses the memories and personalities of her ancestors due to being pre-born, but has trouble controlling them; her internal struggles against the assertive voices manifest themselves in the form of paranoia and self-destructive behavior. The persona of the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Alia's maternal grandfather whom she had herself killed, begins to influence her, and threatens to overtake Alia's consciousness altogether. Jessica senses that Alia has become dangerous, and advises Irulan to spirit Leto and Ghanima away to safety. Later, after an assassination attempt on her, Jessica seeks sanctuary with Fremen dissidents. Wearing clothes presented to them by Wensicia, the twins escape into the deep desert but are soon cornered in a deadly trap of her devising.

Part Three[edit]

Wensicia's plot to assassinate the Atreides heirs fails, but provides Leto an opportunity to fake his own death and buy time to overcome Alia. Alia's madness reaches its peak as Baron Harkonnen's grip on her consciousness strengthens and a civil war brews with the rebel Fremen. Leto returns from the deep desert, having used sandtrout — the larval form of Arrakis' sandworms — to acquire the superhuman speed, strength, and invulnerability of the sandworms themselves.

As a means of forcing as-yet-neutral Fremen leader Stilgar to lead the rebels, Duncan murders Alia's lover Javid in Stilgar's sietch; Duncan knows that, according to Fremen custom, Stilgar must revenge-kill him, which will force Stilgar into active opposition to Alia. Leto encounters the Preacher, whose identity as his father is revealed. Leto's prescient visions have convinced him that he must lead mankind along "the Golden Path" to ensure humanity's ultimate survival.

With a political marriage arranged by Jessica between Ghanima and Wensicia's son Farad'n, the Corrino heir identifies his mother as the mastermind behind Leto's apparent death. Alia has Wensicia imprisoned, but Ghanima accepts Farad'n's gesture as honest. With Stilgar's forces moving in, father and son return to the capital city of Arrakeen, where the Preacher makes a final speech denouncing Alia and his own religion, and is fatally stabbed by a rebel Fremen. Leto confronts Alia at Ghanima's wedding and defeats her. Alia then commits suicide rather than be controlled by the Baron. In the final scene, Ghanima tells Farad'n that while he will not be her husband, they may yet fall in love, and how she pities her brother for the pain and suffering he will endure in the long life he must expect.

Main cast[edit]

Actor Role
Alec Newman Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib
Julie Cox Princess Irulan
Edward Atterton Duncan Idaho
Ian McNeice Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Barbora Kodetová Chani
Steven Berkoff Stilgar
Daniela Amavia Alia Atreides
P. H. Moriarty Gurney Halleck
James McAvoy Leto Atreides II
Jessica Brooks Ghanima Atreides
Jonathan Brüün Farad'n Corrino
Rik Young Javid
Martin McDougall Scytale
Alice Krige[2] Lady Jessica
Susan Sarandon Princess Wensicia
Jakob Schwarz Otheym
Klára Issová Lichna
Zuzana Geislerová Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
Karel Dobry Korba
Gee Williams Bijaz


After production completed on the first miniseries (and before its broadcast), the Sci Fi Channel contracted writer/director Harrison to write a sequel. Harrison's idea for the next installment was to combine Frank Herbert's subsequent novels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. He has said in interviews that he believed both novels to be two parts of the same story, which essentially concludes the story of House Atreides.[3] The novel Dune Messiah is a shorter novel than either Dune or Children of Dune, coming in at only 222 pages versus 412 and 592 respectively.


The series' score, containing 36 tracks.,[4][5] was written by Brian Tyler in a span of one month, and is considered one of Tyler's best scores.[6][7] The lyrics of the track "Inama Nushif" are sung by Azam Ali.[8] The music has been reused in several theatrical trailers, including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Cinderella Man, Kung Fu Panda, The Golden Compass, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Star Trek.[9]


  1. ^ Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview". (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ Harrison has stated in interviews that Krige was his first choice to play Jessica in the original miniseries, but she was unavailable and Saskia Reeves won the role. Krige was cast for the sequel miniseries when Reeves was unavailable.
  3. ^ Fritz, Steve (December 4, 2000). "DUNE: Remaking the Classic Novel". Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ Children of Dune: Music
  5. ^ Children of Dune Original Television Soundtrack - Dune
  6. ^ Filmtracks: Children of Dune (Brian Tyler)
  7. ^ Children of Dune (2003) Soundtrack
  8. ^ "Azam Ali: The Landsraad Interview". The Landsraad. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  9. ^ SoundtrackNet Trailers : Children of Dune (2003)

External links[edit]