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Dune Has A Star Wars Diss You May Have Missed

The complicated Star Wars insult in “Heretics of Dune” seems to paint George Lucas’ films as “cheap copies” rather than the genuine article. It was clear from the moment that “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” was released in theaters that it drew heavily from Frank Herbert’s world, or at least, seemed to.

Speaking with the Associated Press in 1977, Herbert mentioned he had been asked soon after the “Star Wars” premiere if he intended to sue. “I will try hard not to sue,” he said. “I have no idea what book of mine it fits, but I suspect it may be ‘Dune’ since in that I had a Princess Alia and the movie has a Princess Leia.” He also referenced the desert planet of Tatooine and the “hooded dwellers” who live there. Funnily enough, that same article refers to “Dune” as a completed trilogy. It wasn’t until 1981 that Herbert continued the Dune timeline with a fourth book, “God Emperor of Dune.”

Herbert’s skepticism toward Lucas’ originality was fair, though the stories of Star Wars and “Dune” are quite different in tone and subject matter. The latter is a darkly serious story about how power corrupts all and how heroes cannot be blindly trusted. The former is a popcorn adventure story full of romance and spectacle. It’s also worth noting that many have compared “Dune” to the story of T. E. Lawrence, made famous in 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia.” It seems even Herbert may have borrowed quite a bit.

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