One of the original designs for the character of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from Dune shows the character in several options for full body armor. Dune is adapted from the legendary 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert and is the first film of a planned science fiction epic about Paul Atreides, a young man from House Atreides. When House Atreides is given stewardship of the deadly desert planet Arrakis where spice, a drug necessary for space travel, is mined, a conspiracy is set in motion that will change the univserse. The film opened in theaters and simultaneously on HBO Max on October 21 and Dune topped the box office for two weekends until Eternals opened.

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Baron Harkonnen is the villainous character played by Stellan Skarsgård. He uses a system of high-tech levitators to suspend him in the air and help him move around. Although he doesn’t play much of an active role in the events of the film he will be a major player in the events of Dune 2. However, he is pulling the strings throughout Dune, starting with an assassination attempt on Paul Atreides after the Emperor reassigns House Harkonnen away from the profitable mines of Arrakis.

On his Instagram, concept designer Jerad S. Marantz posted two images of potential designs for Baron Harkonnen. The character clearly went through several iterations because Marantz previously shared another scrapped Harkonnen design. This version of the character shows him encased in full-body armor, one a more mottled green color and one featuring a bold orange accent. Check out both posts below:

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The design that ended up being used in the film sees the villainous Baron Harkonnen clad in a tunic that is more in line with the costumes worn by other characters. However, the tunic does have a central vertical patterned stripe that recalls the orange accent in the second armor design. This indicates that they clearly carried over some of that original intention into the film itself.

It makes sense why Dune director Denis Villeneuve and costume designers Kurt and Bart went with the design they did. Part of the menace of the character is the fact that he isn’t protected by a sheath of armor. His body is extremely vulnerable and open to the world, but he is protected by the power he holds over the people in his sway, which is a much more subtly menacing and visually satisfying approach to the character.

Source: Jerad S. Marantz

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