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The Real Reason Dune 2 Cut Stephen McKinley Henderson's Thufir Hawat

The excellent sci-fi sequel that is Denis Villeneuve's "Dune: Part Two" might be massive, but cuts still had to be made to fit Frank Herbert's tale on the big screen. Unfortunately, among them was the return of Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson, who looks so familiar because he was in both "Fences" and "Lady Bird"), the Atreides Mentat seen rolling back his eyes to calculate the cost of travel to and from Caladan in "Dune: Part One." While Henderson shot scenes for the second half of Paul Atreides' (Timothée Chalamet) journey to becoming the Lisan al Gaib, they didn't make it into the final film, and Thufir's whereabouts following the Harkonnen attack are never confirmed.

"When you adapt, there's always some kind of violence toward the original material. You have to change things, you have to bend, you have to make painful choices," Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly about the difficulties of transferring a beloved story to the screen. "One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat. He's a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it's the nature of the adaptation." It's a choice that some fans might've been upset to see, particularly given Thufir's mission of revenge and redemption in the book.

Henderson's deleted scenes may have hinted at Thufir Hawat's noble mission

In Frank Herbert's original story, Thufir survives the attack but is forced to change sides and work for his captors, filling the role left vacant by the Mentat Piter de Vries (David Dastmalchian), who dies after being poisoned by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) in his final bite back at the enemy. In his new gig under House Harkonnen, Thufir attempts to break the opposition from the inside out, even going as far as playing Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler) against his uncle, the Baron (Stellan Skarsgård). It's this encounter that may have been what Henderson's scenes consisted of, given that the star spoke of working with Butler on the project on the podcast "This Is Purdue."

"['Dune' has] such a great international cast," Henderson began, "but what I had the most fun with this last time was working with Austin Butler." While Butler's performance as Paul's knife-wielding foe has chilled audiences to the bone, Henderson had nothing but praise for his co-star: "He's just the nicest guy, and he and Timmy [Chalamet are] both just wonderful people, and they play such nemesis [sic] in the film, so it was wonderful to see them off camera." It's a shame that we'll never get to see Henderson in "Dune: Part Two," but if his kind words about the Feyd-Rautha actor have made you eager to learn more about him, you may be interested in the unspoken truth of Austin Butler.