In the movie, Dune, we see a large group of Sardaukar soldiers anticipate a battle ritual, where priests collect blood from crucified dead people and paint blood onto Sardaukar foreheads.

Who are those dead people?

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2 Answers 2


Most likely those are Sardaukar who didn't succeed.

According to Wikipedia:

the Sardaukar troops are the most formidable professional military in the universe in that time. They are secretly trained on the inhospitable Imperial prison planet Salusa Secundus, and the harsh conditions there ensure that only the strongest and most "ferocious" men survive. Sardaukar training emphasizes ruthlessness, near-suicidal disregard for personal safety, and the use of cruelty as a standard weapon in order to weaken opponents with terror.

See also https://dune.fandom.com/wiki/Sardaukar (beware: spoilers for the rest of Dune's story); https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/dune-the-sardaukar-are-scarier-than-you-realize/ , etc.

  • did not succeed? you meant there was a harsh selection process to become a Saudukar
    – Yu Zhang
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 11:22
  • @YuZhang They're elite warriors, apparently about half of them don't make it through training.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 11:57
  • 1
    @YuZhang, it's not a selection process as such. Salusa Secundus is a desolate prison planet. The "inmates" are already tough due to the nature of their crimes, and the environment and conditions are bleak and tough (much like Arrakis) and only the strongest of those survive.
    – Darren
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 14:41
  • I don't think this answers the question. Your quote doesn't say that the men were Sardaukar who failed and neither does your second link which speculates that the men who were crucified were being 'trained'. Who the victims are is not revealed and this scene is not in the book. Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 12:30
  • @TwilightSparkle They're either prisoners from earlier battles, or trainees who didn't make the cut. Considering their blood is used to anoint the warriors, I'm more inclined to think they're failures than prisoners. Or perhaps the bloodletting is part of the training, and those are candidates. But yeah, we aren't told.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 14:36

Other prisoners who weren't chosen as Sardaukar.

Only the strongest prisoners are recruited by the empire to become Sardaukar. The ones whose blood is being drained are prisoners that were not selected, and were, therefore, expendable.

From "The Art and Soul of Dune", pg61:

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It is not clear if these were at the verge of death, or whether they were just chosen at random.

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