If you recall, there was a quick hand-to-hand combat scene between Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) in the trailer, featuring protective shields. Supposedly there’s more than meets the eye here. So director Denis Villeneuve provided some more insight on this style of combat while speaking with EW, and what he says sounds incredible:
In this universe there’s an invention: The Holtzman Shield. It’s something that you can wear on your body, and will deflect something fast coming towards you. Only something slow can penetrate that shield. So, it made them use things like bullets less. Humanity went back to close combat, where you fight with knives and blades because it’s the only way you can kill someone through those shields. You can penetrate the shield slowly with the blade.
It's this kind of imaginative writing that makes Dune so exciting and unique. While other popular science fiction movies are loaded with firearms, blaster weapons and laser swords, Dune takes a totally different approach that makes firearms mostly useless.
Plus, there’s an exciting, cinematic element to hand-to-hand combat. The Dune trailer certainly highlighted that intensity with another scene that involved Jason Momoa’s character, Duncan Idaho, fighting his way through bad guys. Apparently, Denis Villeneuve developed this new combat style, saying later:
I developed with our stunt coordinator and choreographers a way of combat that is closer to a chess game than a fighting sequence. When you fight someone with a shield, the idea is to distract them with moves in advance. You want to distract them with a specific move so you can slowly bring the blade into their body. It’s a totally different way of fighting. It’s a way of fighting that is very fast. It’s like a chess game, you have to plan in advance and distract the adversary. It’s a very specific, new art form of combat.
For those who have seen the original Dune by director David Lynch, the Holtzman Shield should sound vaguely familiar. Since that Dune was made in 1984, they didn’t have the greatest technology to bring the shield to life, and it mostly came out as polygons and other shapes over the person’s body.
Today, special effects have caught up with the imagination required for an epic saga like Dune, and by the looks of things, we’re in for a real treat that could finally do the novel justice. Dune is expected to release December 18, but due to current events, we’re practically standing on the sand of Arrakis, and anything could change. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest.