Dune: 10 Things Only Book Readers Know About Chani | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

Chani only played a small role in 2021’s Dune movie, but readers of Frank Herbert’s book know there is much more to come.
WARNING: Spoilers for Dune (2021) and potential future films.
Some fans of Dune might have been upset that the movie only features the character of Chani, played by Zendaya, for a few scenes. But they’re very important ones, and she is a major character in the entire Dune saga. Readers of the books know that Chani plays a significant role in not just the story of Paul Atreides, but the entire future of the galaxy for thousands of years after.
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Chani is a powerful Fremen warrior and eventual concubine of Paul Atreides. Her children become powerful in their own right, but readers know her story doesn’t end with them. Thanks to the strange future of the book, Chani lives on in many different ways in the novels.
The new Dune movie opens with a stark change from the books. Chani is the narrator, even though she appears in roughly seven minutes of the entire movie. Book readers know that the novel is essentially narrated by Princess Irulan, the eventual wife of Paul Atreides and the daughter of Emperor Shaddam.
Irulan narrates the book through snippets from her journals and observations that provide context from the future of the book on its present events. She is likely to appear in the sequel, as she did the 1984 movie by David Lynch.
A detail the Dune movie leaves out is that Liet Kynes is actually Chani’s father. In the movie, the character is a woman, and no familial connection is suggested. It could be the two are still related in some way, but that is a question for the sequel. In the book, Liet Kynes is a half-Fremen Imperial Planetologist who marries a Fremen woman.
Liet Kynes serves as an advisor to House Atreides as well as a link to the Emperor, a tenuous political tightrope that ultimately leads to their death in the book and movie.
There are a number of differences between the Dune 2021 and 1984 movies. There are many between the movie and book as well. One of the biggest is that Chani actively helps Paul win the duel between him and the Fremen Jamis. In the new movie, she is merely an observer, but book readers know she gave him insight in the novel.
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Her counseling Paul on how to win the duel plays into their eventual relationship in the books, with a mutual trust that builds over time and leads to their exchanging ideas and experiences that make them both stronger.
Paul’s visions of Chani come true in the movie, in a way. As is the case in the books, the two eventually become lovers and Chani becomes his concubine. She is at his side through his ascension to the role of Muad’Dib among the Fremen and the defeat of the Harkonnens on Arrakis. She remains his lover when he becomes Emperor in later books.
Their early relationship is marked by a lot of success, but also tragedy. Their first child, a son named Leto, dies in a horrific attack by the Harkonnens on Arrakis.
Despite the clear attraction between Paul and Chani in the movie as well as her prominence in his visions, she does not become his wife in the books. Like with his parents, Duke Leto and Lady Jessica, this arrangement is purely political, as it allows Paul to marry Princess Irulan and secure his power in the galaxy.
Chani never loses her place in Paul’s heart despite this arrangement, though she takes some convincing. Both Paul and Lady Jessica lobby her to accept it, with Jessica’s experience being a key factor.
Dune is a movie set in the far-distant future, tens of thousands of years from the present day. Book readers know dates are plentiful in the text and quite important, which has led to a major discrepancy for Chani’s birthdate.
In the Dune novels written by Franke Herbert, Chani’s birth year was given as 10,178. Her birth year was different in the Prelude to Dune prequel novels written by Herbert’s son Brian Herbert and author Kevin J, Anderson. She is said to be born in 10,174.
Chani’s life is in many ways tragic. In the books, she dies in childbirth giving birth to her twin children with Paul, Leto II and Ghanima. Though she has a chance to come back to life as a ghola, a clone essentially, Paul declines this and prefers to respect her life as it was. That’s not the end for Chani, however.
A ghola of Chani ultimately does manifest in the 2006 sequel Hunters Of Dune, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J, Anderson. She returns along with Paul to help defeat a new generation of highly advanced machines.
Despite the unusual and sometimes tragic nature of her life, Chani does get a semblance of a happy ending. In the Sandworms Of Dune sequel novel from 2007, set five thousand years after the events of the first book in the series, gholas of Paul and Chani are reunited in life. They return to Arrakis and begin to restore the Fremen to their original way of life.
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The two fall in love again and oversee a peaceful and somewhat idyllic reversion to nature on Arrakis. For Paul and Chani, it’s a kind of happily ever after the original versions didn’t get.
Book readers know that Chani is one of the most powerful characters in the Dune books thanks to the Weirding Way. Sure to be a major feature of the sequel, the Weirding Way is the Fremen term for the Bene Gesserit martial art known as prana-bindu. 
Already a skilled warrior among the Fremen, Chani becomes even more powerful after being trained in the Weirding Way by Paul and Lady Jessica. She is able to use The Voice as he does in battle, contributing to the ultimate defeat of the Harkonnens.
Other Memory is a powerful ability of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, and the bloodline of Paul Atreides, who inherited it from his mother Lady Jessica. This genetic memory of ancestors allowed the spirit of Chani to effectively possess the body of her daughter Ghanima when she is an adult. This spiritual takeover is known in the books as Abomination.
Chani only relents when Paul himself returns through the body of their son, Leto II. Chani then becomes a guardian of sorts for her daughter, protecting her from potential takeovers by other ancient spirits.
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DARBY HARN is the author of the novels Ever The Hero, The Judgment Of Valene, and A Country Of Eternal Light. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.