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Dune Part 2 Is Bending Over Backward To Hide One Of The Series' Most Important Tragic Characters

Denis Villeneuve returns to the deserts of Arrakis with "Dune: Part Two," the second installment in the acclaimed director's adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal science-fiction novel. Starring Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, the boy who will rise to become the messianic leader of the planet's Fremen population. That's an arc the promotional materials for the sequel have heavily highlighted. Notably absent from the trailers, posters, and even casting is any mention of Paul's younger sister, Alia Atreides, whose role in the novels is of tragic importance.

Alia is the daughter of Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), who died during the events of the first film. That film also showed a vision of Alia, fated to be born eight months after her father's death to the Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica. Alia's formal title is Saint Alia of the Knife, and she was called that in the visions depicted in "Dune." 

Her role in the story is crucial, so it's surprising not to see her in the trailer for "Dune: Part Two" or other promotional materials. There has not even been a casting announcement, despite the film's upcoming November 3 release date.

It seems as though "Dune: Part Two" is bending over backward to avoid revealing Alia. While that may be odd, there are several possible explanations as to why Warner Bros. and Villeneuve may prefer not to reveal who is playing the magical child or what she'll look like.

Alia Atreides is nowhere in sight, possibly for good reason

While Alia Atreides is crucial to the narrative of Frank Herbert's "Dune" and should factor heavily into "Dune: Part Two," there are several reasons why the production might be choosing to avoid showing her. Born with the mind of a fully grown adult due to the circumstances of her birth, Alia is a difficult character to depict onscreen.

The first explanation for why fans haven't seen Alia is also the most boring. With nearly half a year before release, it's possible that "Dune: Part Two" is still in the process of applying VFX and editing portions of the film involving her.

Since Alia goes from a child to an adult across the "Dune" saga, it's also possible that director Denis Villeneuve has chosen to cast more than one actor in the role or has employed some cinematographic slight-of-hand to make that transition feel more natural. In that case, to show Alia in trailers or other promotional material would spoil what he has in store for audiences this fall.

There is, of course, the slim possibility that Alia will be omitted from "Dune: Part Two," but that hardly makes sense. She was foreshadowed heavily in "Dune," prophesied in multiple vision sequences. While there's still a slim possibility she was cut from the narrative, perhaps to appear in Villeneuve's planned "Dune: Messiah" adaptation, it's not clear how the story would work from an adaptation perspective at that point. Given how meticulously faithful "Dune" is to its source material, it would be shocking if she didn't show up.