Why is Baron Harkonnen bathing in a dark liquid? My guess is that the liquid can heal him after the attempt on his life.

  • 5
    still better than blood plugs
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 27 at 16:15
  • 2
    Evil 101: Wear goth punk stuff and rise from dark goo. I'm guessing at some point we'll see him say "mwa ha ha ha" while raising grasping fingers to the sky.
    – Misha R
    Oct 27 at 16:56
  • 1
    It's a trope (Warning: TVTropes!)
    – DavidW
    Oct 27 at 17:10
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure it's not a Bacta tank.
    – Valorum
    Oct 27 at 17:27
  • 6
    The out-of-universe answer is 'because Villeneuve has watched 'Apocalypse Now' one too many times'
    – Valorum
    Oct 27 at 17:28

A cast and crew interview with the film's director indicates that it's 'a healing mud bath'.

During one of the most striking visual scenes, the wounded Harkonnen rises ominously from a healing mud bath, a vision that came from the depths of Villeneuve's subconscious.

"I had a dream to have the Baron under the liquid and emerge like a hippopotamus," Villeneuve says.

How Stellan Skarsgård transformed to 'Dune's 600-pound, often-naked 'monster' villain Baron Harkonnen

As is annoyingly common with these sorts of interview, they haven't included the quote that they're referencing, but since the director was in the room with the article's author, I think we can be reasonably certain that this is where he got the info from.

Out-of-universe, the scene is a fairly obvious homage to Apocalypse Now.

And the oily substance was actually a "sticky emulsion of water, slime, oil and black color"


To use a scene directly from the movie as a source, when Rabban approaches the pool one of the assistants standing nearby tells him "he has not finished healing yet." This very strongly imples the bath is some sort of medical treatment for the effects of the poison he was partially exposed to.

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