Star Wars is a Dune ripoff — at least, according to Frank Herbert

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Like the mystical religion spread by the Bene Gesserit, dunes It will spread to every corner of the science fiction world. In some stories, the inspiration is so tightly woven into the structure of the story that it is almost impossible to pick it up, perhaps even by the author himself.In other things, a homage to dunes It’s something you can’t miss, but it’s distracting at times. and, Star Warsthe most blatant plagiarism of all, at least according to Frank Herbert.

of dunes The author didn’t say much about George Lucas’s groundbreaking science fiction film until his death in 1986, but he answered several questions about the film over the years, and was always at least a little annoyed by the similarities between the two stories. It seemed like it was.

The first public comment he appears to have made regarding the film was in a 1977 interview with the Associated Press. new hope Freed. This article is pretty frank and provocative, but even though Herbert hasn’t seen the movie yet, he has some idea of ​​its similarities to his seminal series, which has already published three books. That’s obvious.

Herbert began by saying that the editor of the Village Voice called him and asked if he had seen it. Star Wars, and whether you intend to sue. It’s a strong lead-in, but apparently that’s what Herbert had in mind most.

“I will try to avoid filing a lawsuit,” Herbert told The Associated Press. “I don’t know which of my books that applies to, but I think it probably applies.” dunes Because I have Princess Arya and Princess Leia is in the movie. And I heard that there are dead sandworms and hood dwellers in the desert. dunes

Herbert continued, not surprisingly, dunes, is used not only in the field of popular culture, but also as a university textbook on topics such as “architecture, psychology, writing, English, human life, cosmological analysis, and some things we have forgotten.” Although Herbert doesn’t get too specific in this early article, it’s clear that the film’s reported similarities to his own work didn’t sit well with Herbert. . And later it will become even clearer that they somehow fell into his claws.

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides holding a dagger in the desert valley of Dune

Image: Warner Brothers Movies

Now, with decades of looking back and interviews over the years, we know that Star Wars, especially the first film, is a fusion of many genres and stories, including (but not limited to) science fiction, mythical fantasy, and samurai films. is easily understood. Akira Kurosawa’s. The Star Wars galaxy also has an entire world of expanded history that borrows from all over the science fiction canon, and has helped inspire many future writers as well.

But it’s easy to see why Herbert had a choice, considering Star Wars was just one of the hugely successful summer blockbusters. And as the years have passed, it’s clear that he’s thought about this topic quite a bit, to the point where he’s enumerated the similarities between the titles.

“Lucas never admitted that they copied much of their work.” dunes, I’m not saying they were,” Herbert said in 1985. During a lecture at UCLA. “What I’m saying is that between this book he has 16 identities.” dunes and Star Wars. Now we have the statistics. What is that? 16 times 16 times 16 times… It’s more than 1. Could it be a coincidence? There aren’t that many stars in the universe. ”

Herbert’s irritated remark came from a question about whether Lucas had ever bought Herbert dinner, even though Lucas hadn’t blatantly stolen his idea. It’s a reference to a joke. Star Warshe owes at least the dinner to Herbert’s coincidence.

But Frank Herbert was the loser of a boring war. A year before the UCLA interview, he published: heretics of dunethe fifth book in the series and the penultimate book written by him. later in the bookis primarily about humanity’s future after the death of the God-Emperor, but there is a small, unremarkable passage that Herbert does feel like he’s referring to. Star Wars. I don’t think he’s ever officially said anything like that, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

In the days of the Old Empire, and even under the reign of Mauddiv, the area around Ghanmu Fort was a forest reserve, an elevated platform rising above the oily residue that tended to cover the lands of Harkonnen. On this land, the Harkonnen family cultivated the finest piringitum, a stable currency always valued by the richest. From the earliest times, informed people preferred to surround themselves with fine wood, rather than mass-produced man-made materials, which were then known as polesteen, polaz, polmabat (later tine, raz, butt). I did. In the days of the old Empire, knowing the value of rare wood was a derogatory label for the small-rich and minors.
“He’s three POs,” they said. This means that such a person is surrounded by cheap copies made of high-quality materials.

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