A Detailed Comparison of Dune and Star Wars

Star Wars IV Cover and Dune: Deluxe Edition Cover

Dune has inspired many elements of Star Wars alongside other well known materials. The spice mines of Kessel to the spice melange. The desert planets to desert creatures. From combat arts to technologies. From family links to psychiatric connections. The following article will highlight some of the similarities between Star Wars and Dune in anticipation of the 2020 adaptation by Denis Villeneuve, who himself described his movie as “Star Wars for Adults”.

Desert Planets

Tatooine tranquiliatis by James Knowles (L) and Arrakis Deserts by Daria Ridel (R)

The protagonists of the series, Paul Atreides of Dune and Luke Skywalker of Star Wars were both born in a foreign planet before travelling to and being raised on the desert planets of Arrakis (Dune) and Tatooine respectively. Anakin Skywalker and Rey of Star Wars also have similar origins, both being raised on the desert planets of Tatooine and Jakku respectively.

Darth Maul on Tatooine by Livio Ramondelli

Biblical Origins

Luke Skywalker (L) and Paul Atreides (R)

Both Paul Atreides and Luke Skywalker get their name from the Bible. Paul and Luke were the travelling companions during the Biblical time period, which was around 1 A.D. They also traversed the desert. Most people of the Dune universe also follow the Orange Catholic Bible.

Siblings

Luke and Leia by Charles Hall (L) and Ghanima and Leto II by David Forbes (R)

Both Paul Atreides and Anakin Skywalker are fathers of a boy and girl pair of twins. Anakin is the father of Luke and Leia, whilst Paul Atreides is the father of Leto and Ghanima. Both pair of twins share a psychological and spiritual bond with each other. Paul also has a sister called Alia, who also shares a similar bond and the name sounds quite reminiscent of Leia.

Alia Atreides by Yasen Stoilov

The Villainous Reveal [Spoilers]

Darth Vader by Alice Hamel (L) and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen by John Schoenherr (R)

In Star Wars, the villain is revealed to be the protagonist's father. In Dune, the villain turns out to be the grandfather. Speaking of villains, Jabba the Hutt was introduced in Star Wars Episode 6, who bears a striking similarity to the ruling emperor in God Emperor of Dune.

Inhabitants of the Desert

Boba Fett Escapes the Sarlacc Pit by Kyle Petchock (L) and Dune: Shai-Hulud by Ivan Makarkoff (R)

In Star Wars, Sarlaccs inhabit the desert planet of Tatooine. In Dune, Sandworms roam the desert planet of Arrakis and are responsible for the production of the spice melange. This is the most precious commodity of the entirety of the Dune universe. He who controls the spice, controls the universe.

Sand of Arrakis by Anna Podedworna

Processing Vehicles

Sandcrawler by Alex Hill (L) and 7 The Spice Must Flow by Andreas (R)

In Star Wars, the jawas use sandcrawlers to traverse the desert planet of Tatooine to gather and sell resources. In Dune, spice harvesters are used to traverse the deserts of Arrakis and to mine and process the spice melange.

The Spice

Solo — A Star Wars Story 2018 (Disney Lucasfilm) [Spice Mines of Kessel] by Brett Northcutt (L) and Sandworms at the Shield Wall by Ruben Devela (R)

In Star Wars, spice is mined from the planet of Kessel. Most people do not last long in the slave-like conditions of the environment. In Dune, the precious spice melange is mined from the Planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. It is a very risky proposition to extract the minerals of the planet. Paul Atreides and his father barely escapes an attack from a processing site, where a sandworm swallows the entire spice harvester, alongside the vast spice production.

Dune Tribute by jamga

Waterless Culture

Star Wars Fan Art_ Moisture vaporator by Daniel Schindler (L) and The Maker Visions of Dune_Dew collectors by Brad Wright (R)

Arrakis and Tatooine both have a lack of water in their planet due to their scorching desert environment. The inhabitants of Arrakis don’t even believe in the concept of a rain or ocean. In Star Wars, Luke’s family are moisture farmers, gathering water using vaporators. In Dune, dew collectors are used to extract water. It’s also part of their desert culture to wear stillsuits to minimise the loss of moisture and to drain their dead of their water to give to their tribe.

Supernatural Prowess

Anakin Skywalker by Lotsmanov (L) and Dune — Bene Gesserit 1 by Simon Goinard (R)

In Star Wars, The Force is a Jedi mind trick that allows people to control the actions of others. In Dune, the Bene Gesserit use The Voice to control the actions of the others. Also in Star Wars, Jedi Bendu was the name of the technique incorporated into the combat arts of the Jedi. In Dune, Pranda Bindu is the name of the fighting arts of the Bene Gesserit.

Trade Monopoly

Trade Federation (B) and 10 Dune — Spacing Guild by Chris Walton (F)

In Star Wars, the Trade Federation has a monopoly on economical space contracts and trade. In Dune, the Spacing Guild has a monopoly on interstellar travel and trade alongside the CHOAM company, which itself is an analogue to the OPEC countries.

Technology

Twelve Parsecs (PART I) by overseer (L) and Guide Liners reach Giedi Prime — Dune Fanart by Thomas Raube (R)

Both Paul and Luke spy on the people of the desert using electric binoculars. In Star Wars, repulsors are present in certain vehicles used to counteract gravity and allow a suspended means of transportation. In Dune, suspensors are used to levitate the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. This is because he is too fat and heavy to move on his own two legs. Both of these series also have a faster-than-light means of transportation and automated training objects. One major difference between these two franchises is the lack of artificial intelligence in Dune, which were outlawed in the Butlerian Jihad.

While in light speed mode by RaikohIllust

Space Pirateness

Solo by Jackie Sullivan (L) and Game of Thrones (2011) by HBO (M) and Ducan Idaho by Stephanie Mccrea (R)

Jason Momoa compared his Dune character of Duncan Idaho to Han Solo from Star Wars. This is a somewhat distant comparison, but a comparison nonetheless. Both of them are warriors in their own right. And womanizers. Han Solo reluctantly decided to support the rebel forces in Star Wars. Throughout the Dune series, Duncan Idaho eventually develops reluctance to fight for his side. Furthermore, both Han Solo and Duncan Idaho decide to join based on a sense of a developing loyalty.

Galaxy

LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE MADE by Tanis Teau (L) and PADISHAH SHADDAM IV DUNE by Clément Martinet (R)

In Star Wars, the entire galaxy is controlled by a Sith emperor. In Dune, the entire galaxy is controlled by the Padishah emperor. Originally, Star Wars was suppose to be full of feudalistic houses and conflicts, similar to Game of Thrones, much like the actual Dune book.

Principal Photography

SHOOTING STARS [Star Wars: Episode 9] by Annie Leibovitz (L) and HEAT WAVE [Dune] by Chiabella James (R)

Both Star Wars and Dune have similar filming locations. In Star Wars Episode 7 & 9, Abu Dhabi and Jordan were respectively used to film desert planets. Jordan was also used in Rogue One. In the upcoming and highly anticipated Dune film, the deserts of Arrakis were filmed in both Jordan and Abu Dhabi.

Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes [Dune] by Chiabella James

Franchise

The Complete Chronological Order of Dune

Both Star Wars and Dune have been expanded upon after their initial releases. Star Wars consists of 3 prequel films, 3 original films, 3 sequel films and 2 expanded films. Dune consists of 9 prequel books, 6 original books, 2 sequel books and 2 expanded books. There is a rich and huge materials in both of these worlds, especially Dune. A huge potential. Warner Bros are already creating a prequel TV show for HBO Max.

The Dune books are as follows:

Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
Dune: The Machine Crusade (2003
Dune: The Battle of Corrin (2004)
Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
Mentats of Dune (2014)
Navigators of Dune (2016)
Dune: House Atreides (1999)
Dune: House Harkonnen (2000)
Dune: House Corrino (2001)
Dune: The Duke of Caladan (2020)
Dune (1965)
Paul of Dune (2008):
Dune Messiah (1969)
The Winds of Dune (2009)
Children of Dune (1976)
God Emperor of Dune (1981)
Heretics of Dune (1984)
Chapterhouse of Dune (1985)
Hunters of Dune (2006)
Sandworms of Dune (2007)

[The above list of books were added, alongside the affiliated links, at 17:40 BST on 11/07/2020]
[The above list was updated and reformatted on 21:17 GMT on 08/01/2021]

Writer. Reader of Novels. Video Gamer. Documentary Watcher. Tech nerd.

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