Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated film Dune has finally hit both theaters and streaming, and it looks like viewers are for the most part pleased with what they’re seeing. The film marks the second time the book of the same name has been adapted, and after the failure that was David Lynch’s version in 1984, many were understandably nervous about the latest try.
So far, so good heading into the opening weekend of Dune, with its Rotten Tomatoes score hitting an 83% on Friday. Critics are saying the film is beautiful to look at and are raving about Timothée Chalamet’s performance as protagonist Paul Atreides. But it looks like the story might be where viewers are getting caught up.
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman summed it up with: “Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation has a majestic vastness, and most of it actually makes sense, but it’s an act of world-building that runs out of storytelling steam.”
And whether or not you enjoy the story in Dune, it’s hard not to compare it to Star Wars. Its striking similarities have many wondering: Is Dune related to a galaxy far, far away at all? We’re breaking down what you need to know below.
Is Dune part of Star Wars?
To give you the short answer, no. Dune is a totally separate story from Star Wars and is not related to the Disney franchise whatsoever — even though Star Wars alum Oscar Isaac does have a part in the 2021 Dune. The interesting part of this all, however, is that both entities have been influenced by one another over the years. We’ll get into that in a second.
When was Dune written?
If you’re wondering which came first, that would be Dune. The first book was written by Frank Herbert in 1965, and was followed by five sequels spanning 20 years. After Herbert’s death in 1986, his son Brian Herbert took over the series alongside Kevin J. Anderson, and the duo wrote two more Dune books.
Herbert and Anderson have another Dune book on the way titled Sands of Dune, scheduled to hit bookshelves in 2022.
When was Star Wars written?
The first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, was written and directed by George Lucas. It was released in 1977, 12 years after the first Dune book came out. There’s no denying Lucas took inspiration from Herbert, with desert worlds, mind control tricks, and the idea of a “chosen one” in both stories. Check out CBR’s thorough article about their similarities.
And just as Star Wars was influenced by Dune, the new 2021 Dune also took inspiration from Star Wars. While speaking to Empire Magazine (per SyFy Wire), Villeneuve opened up on making the new adaptation, noting its similarities to Star Wars:
"“It was a very long process to find this identity in a world with the giant elephant of Star Wars in the room. George Lucas was inspired by Dune when he created Star Wars. Then as we were making a movie about Dune, we had to negotiate the influence of Star Wars. It’s full circle.”"
Villeneuve explained that he really stressed to the design team the importance of keeping the film as close to the book as possible.
With any sci-fi film or movie, it’s hard not to compare it to Star Wars, especially when you’re such a big fan of the world Lucas created. You’ll have to be the judge and see for yourself whether or not Dune really is that similar.
Dune is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.