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Dune Sound Designer Reveals The Scrapped Sandworm Idea That Could Be Used In Denis Villeneuve’s Sequel

Sandworm in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The first chapter of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation was epic in so many ways it’s hard to count them. The director introduced us to iconic characters, settings and creatures from Frank Herbert’s beloved novel and took us on an unforgettable journey with them. One can only imagine what he has in store for the upcoming sequel and, now that the team has begun preparations, we’re getting a few clues about what to expect. That includes one detail, from a sound production designer, who revealed we may end up seeing a version of the sandworms that had to be left out of the first film. 

For many Dune fans, one of the most unforgettable aspects of Frank Herbert’s world are the presence of the sandworms. Denis Villeneuve and his creative team, including Sound Designer Theo Green, masterfully brought the gigantic, monstrous creatures to life in their adaptation. But it turns out there was a plan for creatures to play an even bigger role in the first film. Green told Vulture that originally, the life cycle of the monstrous worm was going to be shown in Paul Atreides’ spice visions. That means we would have seen the sandtrout, or sandworm larvae if you will, for the first time: 

It was something that was only ever in the storyboard phase and not developed further, but we did create a few sounds for it. We had Paul seeing the sandtrout and came up with a very strange sound, like a heartbeat, like a watery heartbeat. That could be tapped into for Part Two.

Whether that means we’d see these visions in the sequel or that the team has something else in store, isn’t clear. The film’s production designer, Patrice Vermette, elaborated a bit on their initial plans, saying that he drew inspiration from the whale life cycle – or, as Green specified, “whale suckers.” If you’re not familiar with what those look like – or you weren’t until you looked it up just now – you’re probably in the majority. It will be interesting, and possibly frightening, to see how that imagery plays into our next glimpses of the sandworms.

We will have to wait a while for that vision to come to life. Though Denis Villeneuve has offered a few updates about where Dune 2 stands, he is mostly remaining tight lipped when it comes to details about the sequel. In January, Villeneuve provided a vague update and said that they are in the “soft prep” phase of production. At that time, it meant the screenplay was not quite finished, though it’s hard to say where they are in the process now. 

And narrowing down how sandtrouts fit into the adaptation of the second half of the celebrated novel isn’t the only challenge the filmmakers will face. It’s clear that with the superstar status of some of the sequel’s stars, including Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, bringing the entire cast together may become a major problem for the production team – though it’s a challenge they’re all willing to face head-on. 

We do know we won’t be seeing Dune 2 in 2022 – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great new movie releases scheduled to hit theaters this year. There will probably be more than a few films worth your time, even if none of them have sandworms in them. Though if you eager to see more of them right now, you can always stream the first film with an HBO Max subscription.