Denis Villenueve Explains How Star Wars Influenced Dune


Star Wars is rightly lauded as one of the most popular and influential franchises in the history of cinema, with the fanbase more vociferous than ever as we close in on the 45th anniversary of A New Hope, with roughly fifteen film and television projects set in a galaxy far, far away currently in development.

Of course, George Lucas was himself inspired by countless other properties he loved growing up, which includes Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series of novels, the films of Akira Kurosawa and Frank Herbert’s Dune to name but three. Denis Villenueve’s epic adaptation of the latter premieres in theaters and on HBO Max today, where it’s looking to seize the headlines on two fronts.

Villenueve may have had some harsh words for Marvel, but in a new interview with The Playlist, the filmmaker explained how Star Wars ended up influencing Dune for better or worse.

“It’s a very delicate thing to talk about Star Wars because everything will be dissected. And I will say that I was also a big Star Wars fan. The first two Star Wars films and the one that became A New Hope later on and The Empire Strikes Back, were by far, movies that had a massive influence on me when I was young, they are probably one of the reasons I’m a filmmaker now. There’s a link, of course, I discovered Dune after having seen the first Star Wars and, probably after seeing Empire. So, these movies, the fact that I was drawn into a book like Dune, probably had something major to do with loving Star Wars.

Now it’s interesting to know, that as everybody knows, Star Wars, in a way, is a very interesting Dune adaptation because George Lucas was deeply inspired himself from Dune and here I was having to try to make a new adaptation of Dune, but having to deal with the white elephant in the room which is Star Wars, meaning that it was a kind of full circle echo: Star Wars being influenced by Dune and us making a movie about Dune and being influenced by Star Wars, it was an interesting way of seeing things.”

A fan of both Star Wars and Dune, Villenueve got to take what he learned from one and apply it to the other, which was a happy coincidence given that he’d imagined bringing Herbet’s classic tome to the big screen for over 30 years. The reviews are strong, and despite what the rumors may claim, box office numbers and a potential uptick in HBO Max subscriber numbers will be key to ensuring that Part Two of the lavish space opera gets an official green light from Warner Bros.