The science fiction film ‘Dune: Part Two’, currently on release in cinemas across Ireland, contains what can only be described as a pro-life scene.

Early on in the Academy Award-winning 2024 feature film, an unborn baby appears on screen. Later on, it emerges that it’s the preborn child of one of the leading characters, Lady Jessica.

Lady Jessica is seen telepathically communicating with her unborn daughter. Her son Paul is sceptical at first about the communications taking place but is eventually convinced by what he sees and starts to embrace his unborn sibling as a human being and member of his family.

“Dune” is an adaptation of Frank Hebert’s iconic science fiction novel of the same name, which also featured the voice of the unborn baby girl conversing with Lady Jessica and Paul. In his later works, the baby girl is born and plays a central role in the “Dune” book series. 

Several film critics, including Mary McNamara of the LA Times, spotted the significance of the scenes and lashed out disapprovingly. McNamara wrote: “I knew I was going to have problems with ‘Dune: Part Two’ when it opened with the image of a fetus. If female autonomy was not currently under attack from so many sides, my stomach might not have clenched quite so dramatically as those undeveloped eyes and barely formed limbs marked reentrance into the sprawling tale of Paul (last-of-his-house) Atreides, his pregnant mother and those around them.” She also referenced the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in 2022 and the “increasing emphasis on ‘fetal rights’”.

It is a rare sight indeed to see such a life-affirming theme in a blockbuster film of this type and whether the message is accidental or not, it is a welcome develpment to see audiences introduced to such a positive and captivating storyline. Let’s hope it continues and that the LA Times starts to accept that there are perspectives other than theirs which deserve to be reflected in films of this reach.