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Everything You Need To Know About Glossu Rabban In Villeneuve’s Dune Reboot

When news dropped yesterday, courtesy of Variety that Dave Bautista(Guardians of the Galaxy) was tapped to play the legendary Beast, originally played by Paul L. Smith in the 1984 David Lynch version, I’m sure quite a few tongues started wagging.  Bautista has made a living playing the loveable hunk.  His Drax and the less talked about Everest from Hotel Artemis are the polar opposite of Glossu Rabbon.  If you were lucky enough to see the Lynch version you know this man is as physically imposing as he is evil.  He is not terribly smart, however, and that could be the angle Bautista will be exploiting.  A man of cruelty and sadism instead of intrigue and cunning like some of his other family members.  Only time will tell if the supremely affable Bautista has the chops to pull off someone so foul as The Beast.  While we wait, here is everything you need to get your geek on as it relates to Glossu Rabban.

Dune Bautista-Glossu Rabban

Glossu Rabban is a fictional character created by Frank Herbert in his science fiction masterpiece Dune in 1965.  He is a member of The House Harkonnen and one of two nephews of the current Baron Vladimir.  One of many minor and major Houses in the world of Dune, House Harkonnen fell from grace after the assassination of a corrupt but martyred Emperor 10,000 years prior to the events of the movie. 

This Minor House rose to power primarily through political espionage and wealth assemblage.  High production with low costs regardless of worker safety or environmental concerns were the hallmark of their rule.  Labor Unions and the EPA would have major issues with Harkonnens.  Glossu and his Uncle had a large hand in that wealth and exploitation through first the whale fur trade he abused and then later during his harsh rule of Arrakis.  The Harkonnen family had control over Arrakis(where the spice is mined) since 10130 AG.  Glossu all but decimated the whale population on his planet and essentially treated the Fremen of Arrakis as his slaves. This is indicative of his philosophy on power and rule in general.  Do whatever is necessary to get money and power. 

The House of Harkonnen ruled through lies and deceit and had no problem getting their hands dirty.  When Baron Vladimir Harkonnen passed the baton to Glossu, he was essentially setting him up to be a sacrificial lamb.  The less favorite of the Baron’s two nephews he knew Glossu’s assent would create such unrest and chaos on Arrakis that by the time his first choice, the more charismatic and likable Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen(Sting) took over the citizens would welcome any change.  A Machiavellian leadership mainstay this tactic was employed without compunction for Glossu’s own safety.  He was just another pawn to be leveraged.  With family members like this, it is no wonder Glossu the less attractive and intelligent of the two nephews became as amoral as he did. 

Deceit was a way of life for this family, and unfortunately for Glossu, he did not have the aptitude for it long term. The Harkonnen ruled their home planet Lankiveil.  The capital is Geidi Prime which was turned over to the Caladan upon the House of Harkonnen demise.  Their planet was essentially an industrial wasteland that had long used up its resources.  Almost completely hunted and industrialized to the point of inhabitability this planet was devoid of anything but manufacturing.  Little to no plant life was brought back from the brink of extinction by the Caladan after the Harkonnen fall.

Paul Smith Dune 1984 Glossu Rabban
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Glossu got his moniker “Beast” by slaying his own father.  His father was a peace-loving and moral man who distanced himself from his power-hungry brother Vladimir.  Glossu Rabban died either at the hands of Fremen on Arrakis once Paul Atreides came into power or as heavily implied by the 1984 film The Emperor in 10193 AG.  Either way after the Baron’s death at the hands of Paul’s Atreides sister Alia and Paul’s own patricide of his brother Feyd-Rautha the Harkonnen House fell. 

​This secondary character in the original Lynch film gets far less screen time as the grotesque Baron Vladimir and the more comely Feyd-Rautha.  With that in mind, Bautista’s physique alone and ability to play less than brilliant characters should suit this role fine.  Of far more interest is who will play the titular Big Boily Bad and his beautiful nephew.  With Timothee Chalamet(Beautiful Boy) on board to play Paul and Rebecca Ferguson(Life) after completing the much anticipated Stephen King adaptation Dr. Sleep to play Lady Jessica the big names are lining up.  Production hasn’t even started yet so in all likelihood we are looking at early 2020 at best.  To help control your patience stream the original version of Dune now just about anywhere including Amazon.