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It has long been opined that the original Star Wars script drew inspiration from Frank Herbert‘s novel Dune, and apparently Lucas has acknowledged it.

Most of these claims focus on the first movie, but occasionally dip into episodes V and VI.

But are there any elements of Dune to be found in the latest episode, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens?

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    There is a far-fetched parallel with the Lynch movie: Both feature a leader of a group of people living in the desert who is played by Max von Sydow. (Note that the information that Kynes is a fremen bigwig is at best implicitly contained in Lynch’s movie.) – Wrzlprmft Dec 28 '15 at 19:27
  • Oh indeed, a familiar face in the desert. A man of the people, albeit with offworld roots. – joeytwiddle Dec 28 '15 at 19:33
  • I do not remember anything about Lor San Tekka (von Sydow’s character) having offworld roots (not that this means a lot). – Wrzlprmft Dec 28 '15 at 20:06
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    @Wrzlprmft True, I only know he has been an explorer. Some fans believe his description of Leia implies that he was once a citizen of Alderaan. – joeytwiddle Dec 29 '15 at 4:33
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I noticed only one.

In Children of Dune, the third book, there is

a boy named Leto, orphaned on a desert planet, his father having abandoned his family and wandered off into the wilderness. Leto travels to

a place called Jakurutu, long-since abandoned by civilization.

Whilst there, surrounded by danger, he initiates his inevitable transformation that will lead him to significant influence in the empire.

Whilst in The Force Awakens, Rey begins her journey on sandy Jakku.

The two names seemed somewhat similar to me; I couldn't help but think of the other. I wonder if Lucas was throwing a reference back to the older work, or if the name Jakku was chosen by others.

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This is a list of what I could think of. Except for the first point, this is all far fetched in my opinion and I do not think that any of this is evidence of TFA being directly influenced by Dune.

  • A lot of aspects in which Tatooine resembles Dune are also present on Jakku: It’s a desert planet where despite the presence of technology, water economy seems to be important. For example, the are water collectors we know from Tatooine are also present on Jakku. On the other hand, there are aspects like the trough in which Finn quenches his thirst, which do not quite fit into this.

  • The special one is in hiding. – Luke in TFA; Paul in CoD.

  • A young relative of the vanished special one turns evil. – Ben Solo before TFA; Alia in CoD.

  • The new special one finds the old special one. – Rey finds Luke in TFA; Leto II finds Paul in CoD.

  • The special one hides at a legendary place. – Luke in TFA; In GEoD, there is an encyclopedia exposita entry mentioning a legend that Paul hides at a big spice hoard.

  • An order recruits at a very young age. – The First Order in TFA; the Bene Gesserit throughout the Dune books. But then, this is almost a trope.


Abbrevations:
CoD – Children of Dune;
GEoD – God Emperor of Dune;
TFA – The Force Awakens

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    But then again, the water economy on Jakku is not fleshed out at all. Actually the bargaining of the scavengers seem to work on rations not water. When preparing her meal there's no focus on the fact that water is rare. (But you call it all far fetched yourself). Bi-Lal kaifa! – Ghanima Dec 30 '15 at 13:29
  • Water is sufficiently non-rare on Jakku that they leave it lying around for animals to drink. – Valorum Apr 24 '16 at 17:54
  • @Richard: I acknowledged that: “On the other hand, there are aspects like the trough in which Finn quenches his thirst, which do not quite fit into this.” – Wrzlprmft Apr 24 '16 at 17:57
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After Poe and Finn's TIE fighter crashed on the surface of Jakku, it suddenly dropped down beneath the surface. In the film (haven't read the book) the scene looked remarkably as if a giant creature under the sand came up and ate it.

  • Excellent point Mister Lister sir! I do now recall that scene, and my fear that the ship was being swallowed, or a spice blow was about to occur. – joeytwiddle Dec 28 '15 at 19:31
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    This was the shifting sands (?) the Rey warned BB-8 about. I assume Jakku's version of quicksand – Cearon O'Flynn Dec 30 '15 at 14:12
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    @CearonO'Flynn "Sinking sands", I remember. – Mr Lister Dec 30 '15 at 14:28
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Dune certainly had influences on the original Star Wars, as you've already cited, but The Force Awakens comes nearly 40 years after the first movie's release.

Concepts may have been invented in Dune and copied into Star Wars, but from there, they entered into the sci-fi culture as a whole. They are tropes now.

I think any connections you may find are really just going to be links to older Star Wars media. You can consider Tatooine inspired by Arrakis, but does really mean Jakku is also inspired by Arrakis?

I would love to spot some good references to the Dune series, since the original Star Wars did co-opt so much, but it would have to be a pretty substantial or solid connection to distinguish itself as truly Dune in origin.

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