Ahead of the upcoming release of Denis Villeneuve’s cinematic adaptation of Dune, whose source material the outlet describe as full of “colonialism, imperialism, and white saviors”, feminist website The Mary Sue recently published an article sharing their fear that the film “will be yet another thing that will be weaponized against fans of color.”
In a July 23rd article headlined “After Star Wars, My Biggest Fear for More Dune Is More Dune Fans”, The Mary Sue author Princess Weekes shared how, with the franchise set “to explode onto the mainstream stage in a way it hasn’t before,” she feared the oncoming “discourse” that would surround Frank Herbert’s seminal work.
“It is already hard to discuss Dune without bringing up issues of colonialism, imperialism, and white saviors,” wrote Weekes. “Those conversations, speaking as a Black fan of the series, have already been co-opted by other fans who do not want to deal with many of the uncomfortable choices and implications of the book—which, considering the premise of the series, is ironic.”
Asserting that “Frank Herbert created Dune to be many things, but at “its core it was supposed to be an examination of ‘heroes’ and leaders—what happens to people who just absent-mindedly follow charismatic people without introspection”, Weekes then lamented the fact that “when Dune enters the mainstream, my fear isn’t that more people will like it,” but rather, “that this will be yet another thing that will be weaponized against fans of color.”
“People were already mad about Zendaya as Chani in this film, which I find so confounding on every level considering casting a WOC fits in with the subtext of the Fremen as Native people being torn from their planet’s natural resources,” Weekes said, before taking a swing at pop culture media fans upset with the ongoing race-swapping of red headed characters. “But I suppose people are extra sensitive about redhead representation.”
Weekes then declared that “The Star Wars sequel series, and even Star Trek: Discovery, showed us that no matter how inclusive something is on the surface, racists will make it untenable,” arguing that “From harassment to threats, these were hard places to be a marginalized fan. That experience, while nothing new, was amplified by how many people consumed the sequels.”
“That is my fear with Dune,” she noted. “Dune is loaded with politics and challenging conversations about morality. People can’t even handle that when talking about characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just wait until they see the God-Emperor.”
As her article drew to a close, Weekes exclaimed, “I hate that as things change, with women of color and other voices getting a chance to do fun work, they get harassment”, and
predicted that “A Black woman showrunning a Dune prequel show excites the hell out of me, but I also know that at the first whiff of anything white fans don’t like, she will get called names for “making Dune political.”
“I love Dune,” she ultimately concluded. “But I am scared of what its future will look like.”
What do you make of Weeke’s take on Dune for The Mary Sue? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!