One of the most anticipated films of 2020, Denis Villeneuve's Dune, is now one of the most anticipated films of 2021, which means that we now have to wait an additional year to see if the Frank Herbert story, which has been seen as "unfilmable" by some, has truly been done right, in a way that diehard fans will approve. We've seen only the briefest glimpse of the movie to this point, and with the delay it seems unlikely that much more will be revealed in the short term. However, one character who has been largely kept in the shadows, Stellan Skarsgard's Baron Harkonnen, may have been revealed thanks to a new action figure.
The only image that we've seen of Stellan Skarsgard so far is the less than clear shot of the actor in the image above. Beyond that, Baron Harkonnen, the man whose plot against the Atreides family is what sets the entire story in motion, has been left out of the film's marketing. For those not familiar with Dune, this figure, (via Paul Shirley on Twitter) gives away a big part of the reason why Baron Harkonnen hadn't been revealed. He is sure to a memorable character simply because of his size. Give it a look below.
While the action figure certainly isn't a perfect replica of Stellan Skarsgard, the packaging for the figure includes what appears to be a shot from the Dune movie itself, showing off the incredibly overweight Baron Harkonnen. In the book, the baron is so large that he actually requires the use of anti-gravity lifts to hold up his girth. If anything, this Baron Harkonnen looks smaller than I picture him. In my mind's eye he's a blob of a man who is only vaguely human shaped.
As the head of House Harkonnen, and an incredibly powerful man, The Baron's physical appearance shows how much he has let his power consume him. He has given in to all of his base impulses because he has no reason not to do so. His only interest in his keeping his power intact so that he continue his way of life. And so, when he begins to see House Atreides as a threat, he takes action against Duke Leto, played by Oscar Isaac. Director Denis Villeneuve has said that the Baron will be at least a little different in his version of the story.
On the one hand, Baron Harkonnen is the main villain of Dune, because it is his actions which force the characters down the various paths they take. At the same time, the Baron could not have conceived what his actions will actually cause. From one perspective he is the villain, from another, he is merely the catalyst.
While we now have something of an idea what Baron Harkonnen will look like in Dune, it will still be a big deal when he arrives on the screen. Perhaps a future trailer will make the reveal, unless Denis Villeneuve wants to make us wait for the movie, which is now set to release in October 2021.