Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune film will gender swap Liet Kynes.
According to my trusted source, Liet Kynes, the appointed Judge of the Change during the transition of the planet Arrakis between House Harkonen and House Atreides, will be a female instead of the traditional male from Frank Herbert’s historic Dune novel.
In Frank Herbert’s Dune, Liet Kynes, the son of Pardot Kynes and his Fremen wife Faroula, is the appointed Judge of the Change during the transition of power over the planet Arrakis between House Harkonnen and House Atriedes. Not only is Kynes the Judge of the Change, but he is an Imperial Ecologist, who is working to terraform Arrakis from a desert planet into a lush one overflowing with water and green plant life. Kynes is also the secret leader of the Fremen, the indigenous people of Arrakis, and becomes a strong ally to House Atreides in their struggle against House Harkonnen.
My source tells me Kynes is described as “a tall, lean woman in her forties who exudes pride and intelligence. She has sandy hair, a sun-tanned face, and the shocking blue eyes of spice saturation.”
In Herbert’s Dune, Kynes is described by Duke Leto Atreides as “…tall, thin…long sandy hair, a sparse beard. The eyes were that fathomless blue-within-blue under thick brows.” He was further described in Chapter 2, “His long hair and beard were mussed. The blue eyes without whites were a darkness under heavy brows.” Herbert added, “Wisps of sandy hair protruded from it, matched by a sparse beard and thick brows. Beneath the blue-within-blue eyes, remains of a dark stain spread down to his cheeks. A matted depression across mustache and beard showed where a stillsuit tube had marked out its path.”
While Kynes will be gender-swapped, her role in the upcoming film appears to be the same. She will still be an Imperial Ecologist and act as the Judge of the Change as control of the planet Arrakis is handed over to House Atreides. Not only that, but Kynes will be the mother of Zendaya’s Chani. Readers of the book know that Chani is the lover and eventual concubine of Paul Atreides. She also bears his children.
As to who could be playing Liet Kynes, my source speculates it will be actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster. She is credited on IMDB as having a role in Dune, but they don’t detail which specific role she is playing. Duncan-Brewster previously portrayed Senator Pamlo in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and plays Fran Baxter in Years and Years. She also played Maggie Cain in Doctor Who.
If Sharon Duncan-Brewster is playing Liet Kynes she joins Max von Sydow and Karel Dobrý in portraying the character.