'Dune: Part Two' Director Had One 'Weird Priority' for Josh Brolin's Character

Villeneuve revealed that it broke his heart to leave Gurney Halleck's Baliset out of his first movie, but he was able to leave it in the sequel.

Director Denis Villeneuve revealed that he had one very specific priority for Josh Brolin's character, Gurney Halleck in Dune: Part Two. For years fans have speculated that Frank Herbert's novel Dune would be impossible to adapt to the screen, but Villeneuve got closer than anyone with Dune: Part One in 2021. With the sequel, Villeneuve hopes to do Gurney justice by giving him his trademark musical instrument, the Baliset.

Villeneuve's movie managed to take its time while still showing us many of the deepest nuances in Herbert's fictional world, and fans were hard-pressed to find issues as an adaptation. Many did point out that Gurney – a warrior and a mentor to Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) is strongly characterized by his Baliset in the book. In a recent interview Empire Magazine, Villeneuve assured fans that it broke his heart to leave the Baliset out, and he refused to make the same omission again in Dune: Part Two.

"The Gurney song survived Part Two!" he said. "It became a weird priority for me. But Josh Brolin is a poet and we played it together. It was awesome."

Gurney Halleck's official title is "Warmaster" for House Atreides, which also means that he personally trains the heir to the house in combat, tactics and other important subjects. Gurney's job forces him to be stern and unyielding, but the Baliset is a sign of the softer heart he hides beneath the surface. Throughout the book, readers learn that Halleck was a minstrel earlier in his life, before he wound up in the Harkonnen slave-pits. After surviving their torments for a while he was rescued by Duke Leto I (Oscar Isaac), earning House Atreides his eternal loyalty.

Without spoiling anything, Gurney's Baliset plays a bigger role in the second half of the book than in the first, so it makes sense that Villeneuve found a way to keep it this time around. The director successfully adapted Herbert's novel by breaking it in half, with the second movie covering the back half of the book. Herbert wrote six novels in his Dune series, and Villeneuve is hoping to adapt the second book into a third movie. However, he has not expressed interest in going any further than that.

That third movie has not been officially greenlit yet, but Warner Bros. is clearly optimistic. The studio has already ordered a spin-off TV series based on further Dune novels co-written by Herbert's son and author Kevin J. Anderson. That show, Dune: The Sisterhood, will be set about 10,000 years before the events of the movies, documenting the formation of the Bene Gesserit order. That still places it around 12,000 years after the present day in Herbert's fictional timeline.

Dune: Part Two is now slated for release on March 15, 2024. The Sisterhood is filming now and has no release date yet. Herbert's novels are available in print, digital and audiobook formats.