There are claims that Dune has been influential in, and an inspiration for the writing and creation of Star Wars.

In what ways is that evidenced? Please give examples.

  • 1
    This seems really broad. Any answer would speak about the dozens of influences on Star Wars that Lucas has mentioned over the years; Hidden Fortress, the monomyth, Flash Gordon, etc etc. We know from interviews that Lucas has read Dune and we know that Herbert felt that they were a bit too close for comfort.
    – Valorum
    Oct 21, 2017 at 8:02
  • 1
    I've seen lots of people comparing Dune with Star Wars but some of the links seem really tenuous. For examples; "Empire ruled by shadowy background character" (wut?), Protagonist has a sister-ally of the same parentage (she wasn't even supposed to be his sister when the original movie was written), Protagonist prefers saber (no he doesn't. Luke doesn't use his lightsaber even once).
    – Valorum
    Oct 21, 2017 at 8:18
  • 2
    @RogueJedi Sorry, but I think your edit changes the scope of the question too much. Asking for similarities between the two works is very different from asking for which similarities Lucas has admitted (which, if he did steal a lot of ideas from Dune, are likely to be only the smaller ones). The former is seeking a detailed comparison of themes and tropes; the latter could be answered by anyone with a Google search.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 22, 2017 at 19:20
  • 3
    @Randal'Thor - You appear to have rolled the question back to the version which was previously closed. RogueJedi's edit was an attempt to fix the question by making it less of a "grab bag of stuff that people on the internet reckon is similar" question
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2017 at 19:33
  • 2
    @Valorum I've brought the issue to Meta
    – Rogue Jedi
    Oct 22, 2017 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


Desert planet, good v. evil, corrupt and established authority v. young whippersnapper; these are all prototype sci-fi concepts. Herbert's greatest contribution was to bring awareness of ecological themes to science fiction and to describe an intricate and alternative lifestyle (and an alternative and nascent religion) that you'd be hard pressed to find a hint of in Star Wars. Dune (the book, anyway) is a masterpiece, although the many sequels significantly diluted that original potency. Star Wars at least has that much in common.

  • Plus one just for the last couple of sentences. Pretty sure I recall GL denying any connections and claimed not to know about Dune prior to Star Wars.
    – Darren
    Oct 21, 2017 at 9:39
  • 1
    I might be wrong. Seems to be a good analysis here.
    – Darren
    Oct 21, 2017 at 9:40
  • 3
    This just seems to be a bunch of disjointed guesswork without any evidence of connection.
    – Valorum
    Oct 21, 2017 at 9:43
  • 2
    You trail off with, "...that you'd be hard pressed to find a hint of in Star Wars. " So are you saying Star Wars has none of what you described as what Dune is all about?
    – user52688
    Oct 21, 2017 at 9:46
  • 1
    This is all correct but comprises a very poor answer to the question that was asked. Oct 21, 2017 at 23:51

There is no direct evidence.

The following is a list of similarities according to an article I found a few weeks ago when I had the exact same question. Short of direct evidence or a quote from Lucas, to what extent these similarities actually did serve as an inspiration or how influential they were for Star Wars, will most likely be relegated to opinion. Some of them might be a stretch as they could simply represent story-telling archetypes rather than a direct inspiration (such as the Trade Monopoly or the use of Electronic-Binoculars), or just plain genre staples (such as the anti-grav devices). I found several statements claiming Lucas himself has acknowledged that Dune served as an inspiration but I have not been able to find direct evidence for this. It seems that Lucas took his inspiration from several SciFi stories rather than just Dune. I think it would be more correct to say that Star Wars was, in part, influenced by some the elements in Dune rather than to say that Dune was the direct inspiration for Star Wars. Note how the paragraph I quoted says "lesser borrowings", the author himself seems to be aware that some of the similarities are tenuous, while others seem to be a strong indicator that a few things were indeed directly borrowed (Princess Leia, Princess Alia; Moisture Farmers, Dew Collectors; Jedi Bendu; Prana Bindu; Metaphysical abilities which seem more at home in a Fantasy setting rather than SciFi)

"In early drafts of the Star Wars script the influence was much more obvious - the story was full of feudalistic Houses and dictums, and the treasure the Princess was guarding wasn't the Death Star plans, but a shipment of "aura spice." The final version of Star Wars is related to Dune mostly in spirit: a science fiction heroic fantasy treated seriously. Of all the ideas George Lucas inherited from Frank Herbert, the subtle lesson was how to use science fiction to create myth. His lesser borrowings might include:"

Star Wars----------------------------------------------Dune

Princess Leia - Princess Alia

Villain turns out to be hero's father - Villain turns out to be Villain's grandfather

Sandcrawler: Vehicle piloted by Jawas - Sandcrawler: Vehicle piloted by Arrakins

Moisture Farmers (like Uncle Owen) - Dew Collectors (Fremen)

Spice Mines of Kessel - Spice is the key commodity in the Dune Universe

Metaphysical abilities which are exclusive to a select group of people: Jedi Mind Trick - The Voice (Bene Gesserit)

Metaphysical Training routines: Jedi Bendu (a Jedi training technique) - Prana Bindu (a Bene Gesserit training technique

Vision of Obi-Wan appears to Luke on Hoth while he is dying - Vision of Pardot Kynes appears to Liet-Kynes while he is dying

The Trade Federation has a monopoly on shipping in Space - The Spacing guild has a monopoly on shipping and Transportation in Space

Luke practices fighting against an automated training dummy (a floating orb shooting painful lasers)- Alia and Paul practice fighting against a humanoid automated training dummy

Repulsors, small devices used to counteract gravity (used in the Landspeeder, speeder bikes and Jabba's barge) - Suspensors small devices used to counteract gravity (used by Baron Harkonnen and Glowglobes)

sources: http://www.moongadget.com/origins/dune.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_sources_and_analogues

  • 1
    A lot of these seem really tenuous. The Trade Federation most certainly don't have a monopoly on space travel, for example. Luke doesn't use a dummy, he uses a floating ball drone thing. And most of the references you're referring to are blink-and-you'll-miss-it references, possibly to Dune but certainly not a major part of the plot.
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2017 at 18:30
  • It seems tenuous to say that it's inspired by Dune because it has a desert planet. Lots of films of that era filmed in the desert because it was near California and had no need for filming permits.
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2017 at 18:38
  • Correct. Even in my original answer I never said that the similarities are part of any major Dune plot, in fact I even pointed out that the similarities are lesser. Also, even in my original answer I said nowhere that "Star Wars was directly inspired by Dune because it has a Desert Planet". Nothing you say contradicts anything I said in any way.
    – Godryc
    Oct 22, 2017 at 20:55
  • 2
    Intersting analysis, but a number of these items may not be applicable -- they seem based on the MOVIE Dune, not the book. The movie wasn't around when Star Wars came out. The training dummy, for example, was only a barrel with things shooting out in the film; in the books, it was basically a mannequin. The Duke's Ornithopter was in danger of not being able to take off, but wasn't almost eaten by the worm in the book; I don't remember if the movie showed that. Likewise, electrobinoculars are never mentioned; they use Oil Binoculars with a static charge and force field to focus, in the book.
    – K-H-W
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:40
  • 1
    @K-H-W All good points, I edited my answer in response and removed or edited the references you pointed out.
    – Godryc
    Oct 22, 2017 at 22:50