Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve is bringing things full circle. Dune, the legendary novel from Frank Herbert, is one of the most iconic works in science fiction. The book was so pivotal to the genre it was actually a major influence for George Lucas when he was creating Star Wars. For Villeneuve’s new big screen adaptation of Dune, the filmmaker looked back to Star Wars for ideas and guidance, further connecting the two beloved titles.
While speaking to ComicBook.com‘s Brandon Davis ahead of Dune‘s premier, Villeneuve explained how Star Wars ended up being an influence for his movie, along with Lawrence of Arabia, Apocalypse Now, and a few French graphic novels.
“First of all, it’s strange to think that Star Wars stole so many… Not stole, but it was so deeply inspired by Dune, and now me, I’m making a movie about Dune, and I’m deeply influenced by Star Wars,” Villeneuve explained. “I was born with Star Wars, so it was like the pink elephant in the room when we started to design the movie out and we find our own identity in a world where such a huge beast exists. So, I will say that there’s numerous movies that influenced Dune, there’s David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, for sure, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Those are films that influenced me for several details in the movie.”
“When you are a film maker with different centuries, you’re an accumulation of influences,” Villeneuve continued. “But I would say the main influence was probably the graphic novels that I was reading as a kid, which are from…the people like Druilett and Bilall and Moebius, all those graphic novel artists from Europe, and from France, that are Belgium, they had tremendous impact on me, and probably were the main influence for the movie.”
The ideas in the Dune novel helped set the stage for what Lucas would create in Star Wars. Those Star Wars films became pivotal works in Villeneuve’s formative years and shaped the entire landscape of sci-fi film for generations. At this point, it truly feels like one couldn’t be a prominent piece of pop culture without the existence of the other.
Dune arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22nd. You can check out the full interview with Villeneuve in the video at the top of the page.