Dec. 03, 2000
360 min.
SyFy TV Network

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This SciFi mini-series is an adaptation by John Harrison of Frank Herbert's first novel set in the Dune universe. In this mini-series, a young man, Paul Atreides, moves with his family to a new planet known as Arrakis. Paul, his family and a number of political entities become embroiled in a confrontation that will change the course of humanity.

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Duke Leto Atreides Dune
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Duke Leto Atreides

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  Played by:
William HurtWilliam Hurt
William McChord Hurt (born March 20, 1950) is an American stage and film actor. He received his acting ...

Character Bio

Leto I is born in the year 10,140 A.G. ("after Guild") on the planet Caladan, to Paulus Atreides and Lady Helena Richese-Atreides. Paulus is the reigning Duke of House Atreides, their noble House ruling Caladan for 26 generations. House Atreides is distantly related to the Imperial House Corrino (through Leto's maternal grandmother) and has feuded with House Harkonnen since the time of Vorian Atreides, founder of the Atreides family line.
Duke Paulus arranges for Leto to spend a portion of his adolescence on planet Ix in the care of House Vernius and its then-Earl, Dominic Vernius — over the objections of Lady Helena. There, Leto becomes fast friends with the Earl's son and daughter, Prince Rhombur and Lady Kailea. They return to Caladan after the uprising of Ix's working class of mentally-limited subhumans, and subsequent Tleilaxu invasion, forces Leto and the members of House Vernius to flee from Ix. Earl Dominic and his wife,Lady Shando Balut-Vernius, each must flee to different locations, Paulus grants sanctuary to Rhombur and Kailea—again, over the objections of Helena, whose family of House Richese have been economic competitors (nearly to the point of being hostile enemies) of House Vernius.
Duke Paulus engages in the sporting event of bullfighting mutated Salusan bulls, both for the sport and for the spectacle; he plays every bull for all it was worth, and the people of Caladan love him for it. Soon after the Vernius heirs are given sanctuary, Paulus is killed when his treacherous wife arranges for a stablehand loyal to House Richese to drug a bull to extraordinary levels of rage, strength, and endurance. She intends to rule House Atreides as regent through her son Leto, as he is still under-age. Leto realizes what she has done and exiles her to a remote location with the Caladan Sisters of Isolation, rather than have her executed; public knowledge of what happened would have brought serious negative impacts on House Atreides and all of Caladan.
Leto keeps the head of the beast wall-mounted opposite a portrait of his father, as a grisly reminder of the event.
Leto takes Kailea as his concubine, and they have a son named Victor. However, Leto declines taking Kailea as his wife or name Victor as his heir, obligated to keep a political marriage a possibility. Leto and Kailea grow apart, and after the arrival into his household of the Bene Gesserit acolyte Jessica, whom Leto finds attractive, Kailea takes matters into her own hands by attempting to kill Leto. Kailea fails, but her brother Rhombur is injured and her son Victor is killed in the process, whereafter she commits suicide.
Leto and Jessica fall in love with one another, and she becomes his bound concubine. Unknown to both of them, she is the illegitimate daughter of his rival, Vladimir Harkonnen. They never marry, in order to maintain the possibility of an alliance with another Great House — although this never occurs. Leto and Jessica are devoted to one another; any marriage on Leto's part would have been purely political, and meaningless to him. In the year 10,176 A.G., Jessica gives birth to Paul Atreides, their son.
Leto is known in some Imperial circles, and especially by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, as "the Red Duke" referring to House Atreides' red hawk symbol. He gains fame as an effective politician, a fair and just statesman, and a capable leader of his small military. He recruits skilled individuals—including Thufir Hawat,Gurney Halleck, and Duncan Idaho -- to lead and train his military forces. Jessica and Hawat serve as his two main advisors. Emperor Shaddam IV both admires and dislikes Leto, after Leto makes a bluffing attempt to blackmail the Emperor into intervening on his behalf in a case in the Landsraad court, in which he has submitted to a Trial by Forfeiture to prove that he has not fired on a Tleilaxu ship inside a Heighliner in foldspace. He has been framed for this by lifelong enemy, Vladimir Harkonnen.
In the year of Paul's birth, Leto's successful military overthrow of the joint Tleilaxu and Emperor's Sardaukar occupation forces on Ix, and his role in the subsequent political censure of Shaddam in the aftermath of Ix and the Emperor's other destructive actions across the Imperium, ensure Duke Leto a vengeful enemy in Emperor Shaddam. This culminates into the history-shaping events on Arrakis 15 years later.

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