^ This is why I hated the treatment. The writer did nothing new except combining the two characters which really makes no sense. As Skywalker indicated Duncan IS a critical and important character throughout the series, so is Gurney to both Paul and Jessica.
Out of curiosity, how was that meant to work? I can sort of see the logic from a story mechanic perspective. They're both lieutenants with close ties to Paul and his training, one of which is killed off a third of the way through while the other disappears until the latter third.
I'm picturing this Duncan Halleck (or Gurney Idaho?) taking Duncan's role for the first half of the film and Gurney's for the latter half. Being the one sent ahead to contact the Fremen, helping Paul and Jessica escape and thought killed by the Sardaukar only to turn up later with the smugglers. It could work if all you care about is making the one film but it would rather mangle the plot of any future films, unless he's killed off when they retake Arrakeen, or when baby Leto is killed...
I too think that both of the mini-series were incredibly well done and John Harrison deserves more credit than he is given for writing and directing brilliant adaptions. I have too many problems with the Lynch version despite it being my initiation to the whole Dune universe.
I actually had a lot more problems with the 2000 mini-series than I did with Lynch's film. Style counts and the mini always felt more like a stage production and a film. I'm not just talking about the poorly matched desert backdrops and the glow in the dark contacts but the whole colour pallet was practically in primary colours, many of the costumes were chronically over-designed (with some very silly hats) and the acting was very patchy. The absolute nadir of it for me was a moment in the third part (I think) when Paul is being urged to challenge Stilgar and this acting student with a middle class accent, pretending to be a Fremen yelps out "you are the Mah-*squeek*-di"
. Took me right out of it. Oh and that siech orgy scene; they took what should have been a primal outpouring of emotion and turned it into an impressionist dance routine.
Having said all that, CoD addressed most if not all of my concerns and was several orders of magnitude better. Alec Newman was pitch perfect as the preacher, something I never would have expected based on his previous performance. Oh and this bit
A David Fincher directed, Steve Zallian adapted "Dune" movie would be epic in my opinion but it would never happen. John Harrison is the closest that we've got to getting a "God Emperor of Dune" movie. I think GEOD had it ever been made would have been one of the most ambitious and bold mini-series in history...and certinally a ratings winner for then Sci-Fi Channel. James McAvoy would have been able to sink his acting chops into some of the most beautifully written words in all of science fiction with Leto II's lamentations and internal monologues. Duncan would have been brought back. It would have been interesting to see who was cast as Leto's dear, Hwi.
My friend and I attempted a "God Emperor of Dune" adaption starting with the prologue and the finding of Leto's Stolen Journals but got about twenty pages into the project before we began faltering and realizing just how damn difficult this was going to be.
I think GEoD would work best as background material for a Heratics/Chapterhouse adaptation rather than trying to make it stand on it's own. Aside from Leto squishing a few people and the death scene at the end, there's not much in the way of action, suspense or intrigue which would make it VERY tough to sit through even a breezy 2hr adaptation.