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There is a scene where the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam meets secretly with Barron Harkonnen and his mentat, Piter de Vries, to demand that Jessica and Paul be left unharmed. At the start of the scene there is a large black "spider" referred to as "our pet". Mohiam believes it is sentient, saying "It understands," in response to Piter's assertion to the contrary.

What is this creature? Is it a Guild navigator?

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    A reddit user claims to have worked it out - "So I finally figured out what that strange creature was in Villeneuve's Dune"
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 15:34
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    It’s certainly not a Guild Navigator. Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 16:21
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    While I cannot answer the question of what exactly the thing is (it isn't in the original work), it's worth noting that Mohiam doesn't simply say "it understands" in response to Piter's assertion. She says it in response to the creature obeying her use of Voice after she tells it to leave. It means that it understood her command, in spite of the claim that it cannot understand her. Whatever the creature is, its use in that scene (as well as Mohiam's lack of pause) is to emphasize that lying is standard and expected practice for Harkonnens.
    – Misha R
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 2:09
  • @Misha also it illustrates that they have a depraved taste in pets, and are the kind of fellows that we should be wary of in general.. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 18:52
  • @Robominister I would say that their taste in pets isn't central to the story, but intelligent wet spiders are definitely not for everyone. Then again, neither are cats.
    – Misha R
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 22:22

3 Answers 3

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This creature is, according to animation director Robyn Luckham, a human that has been experimented on. No indication is given as to their identity.

So, the big question I had [for Denis] was is this a human with limbs attached to it, like it's a spider? Or is it a spider which has a human form? And it's when you start thinking about it that it's disgusting.

Really what it is is it's an experiment, kind of like, it's a human but it's not actually got legs or arms.

Denis found this reference of this incredible ballerina who does a ballet performance like a spider.... Denis contacted her and we got her in a mo-cap suit and she actually performed on the day and became the backbone reference of what we're doing.

The thing for this one is that it's all about posing. We had to get these poses to read how this thing is working, to feel comfortable but awkward, because again, going into this biology, this is not lived as this creature her entire life, bred for that purpose, it's just been put together, so it's hard to walk.

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  • +1 Keep your amazing SFF chops and keep your humor also, Valorum, they are much appreciated.
    – Lexible
    Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 19:02
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It's not anything with particular significance to the plot. It's meant to suggest a sort of human centipede that the Harkonnens created for their own amusement, to emphasize their inhumanity. It is also perhaps to give some concreteness to Dr. Yueh's horror at his wife's fate in the hands of the Harkonnens, when he says they "take people apart like dolls."

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    Your answer seems rather speculative. You have any source to your claim?
    – Shade
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 17:06
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IMDB identifies this character as the "Human Spider Proxy", played by spider dancer Milena Sidorova.

I think it's a pretty cool creation of the Bene Tleilax

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    Hi, welcome to the site. Note however that the question didn't ask who it was played by, the question asked what it is. Also note that answers backed up by evidence from a canon source are much preferred to to guesswork. I see no evidence as to what this creature was in this answer, just an apparent guess as to who it was created by. Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 22:48
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    Is there any indication that this is a Tleilaxu creation?
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 23:14
  • That's not her character name, but rather a description of her duties in the film's making.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 8:10

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