One crew member may have likened it to Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, but the footage we’ve seen so far from Denis Villenueve’s Dune has also been inviting some Star Wars comparisons. While that’s to be expected to some degree given that it’s a big budget sci-fi epic set on distant worlds with Oscar Isaac in a key supporting role, the actor himself is keen to stress that they shouldn’t be viewed as direct relations.
Whether it’s the George Lucas or Disney eras, Star Wars has always been about delivering broad intergalactic adventures full of wit, warmth and humor to complement the grandstanding action sequences. While Dune is sure to feature several of those elements in its own right, Frank Herbert’s source novel is a much weightier tome in terms of subtext and social commentary.
Striking that balance is key for Villenueve and his crew to ensure that Dune doesn’t descend into either formulaic pyrotechnics or self-serious pretentiousness, and in a new interview Isaac spoke about the differences between the properties, something he knows better than most having played key parts in both.
“Sure, there’s also some spaceships. But that’s really about where the similarities end. Dune’s not a typical sci-fi film. It has elements of that, but it’s also a meditation. What Frank Herbert did, and then Denis as well, is to explore those themes of family, of the clashes of cultures, and just put it on a stage that allows you to dream with it.”
One thing Villenueve would clearly love to inherit from Star Wars is the ability to see his first installment perform well enough at the box office to launch a trilogy, but that remains entirely up for debate until Dune finally comes to theaters in October. If it even comes close to delivering on the potential shown in the eye-popping, visually gorgeous and stunning trailers, then audiences could have a brand new sci-fi franchise to fall in love with while the feature length blockbusters set in a galaxy far, far away remain in a state of semi-hibernation for now.