Frank Herbert always thought Star Wars was a Dune ripoff

Very similar to the paranormal religions unfold by its Bene Gesserit, the influences of Dune unfold to each nook of the universe of science fiction. In some tales, the inspirations are woven so tightly into the material of the story they’re practically unattainable to choose up, perhaps even for the writer themself. In others, the homages to Dune are unmissable, sometimes to the purpose of being distracting. After which there’s Star Wars, probably the most blatant ripoff of all — not less than, in keeping with Frank Herbert.

The Dune writer didn’t speak a lot about George Lucas’ landmark science fiction movie earlier than his loss of life in 1986, however he answered a few questions on it through the years, and he always appeared not less than a little aggravated on the similarities between the 2 tales.

The primary public feedback he appears to have made in regards to the film come from an interview with the Related Press from 1977, the yr A New Hope was launched. The article is fairly simple shit-stirring, however it’s clear that whereas Herbert hadn’t but seen the film, he did have some ideas about its similarities to his seminal collection, which was already three books in.

Herbert begins by saying an editor for the Village Voice had referred to as him and requested if he had seen Star Wars, and whether or not or not he was going to sue. It’s a robust lead-in, however apparently that’s what was prime of thoughts of Herbert.

“I will try hard not to sue,” Herbert instructed the Related Press. “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. And I hear there is a sandworm carcass and hood dwellers in the desert, just like in Dune.”

Herbert goes on to brag, rightfully, in regards to the ubiquity of Dune, each in in style tradition and at the same time as a faculty textbook on topics like “architecture, psychology, writing, English, human living, space analysis, and some I’ve forgotten.” Herbert doesn’t get too particular on this early article, however it’s clear the film’s reported similarities to his personal work didn’t sit fairly proper with him. And later it will be even clearer that they caught in his craw, a method or one other.

Picture: Warner Bros. Photos

Now, with many years of hindsight and years of interviews, it’s straightforward to see that Star Wars, significantly the primary movie, is an amalgamation of many genres and tales, together with (however not restricted to) science fiction, legendary fantasy, and the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. There’s additionally a whole expanded universe of historical past within the Star Wars galaxy that borrows from all around the sci-fi canon, and has helped encourage simply as many future writers.

However in case you take into account the time when Star Wars was only one tremendously profitable summer time blockbuster, it’s straightforward to know why Herbert may need had a bone to choose. And because the years glided by, it’s clear that he thought fairly a bit in regards to the topic, sufficient to depend the similarities between the titles.

“Lucas has never admitted that they copied a lot of Dune, and I’m not saying they did,” Herbert stated in 1985, during a speaking engagement at UCLA. “I’m just saying there are 16 points of identity between the book Dune and Star Wars. Now you’ve had stat — what is it? It’s 16 times 16 times 16 times… over 1, the odds against that being coincidence? There aren’t that many stars in the universe.”

Herbert’s pissed off quote stemmed from a query about whether or not or not Lucas ever purchased Herbert dinner — a reference to a long-standing joke of Herbert’s that even when Lucas didn’t blatantly steal his concepts to make Star Wars, he not less than owes Herbert dinner for the coincidence.

However Frank Herbert was one to lose out on a battle of pettiness. A yr earlier than that UCLA interview, he revealed Heretics of Dune, the fifth ebook within the collection and the second to final written by him. Late in the book, which is generally about the way forward for humanity after the loss of life of The God Emperor, Herbert has a small, inconspicuous passage that definitely appears like a reference to Star Wars. He doesn’t appear to have ever stated that formally, so we’ll allow you to choose:

Within the time of the Previous Empire and even below the reign of Maud’Dib, the area across the Gammu Hold had been a forest reserve, excessive floor rising nicely above the oily residue that tended to cowl Harkonnen land. On this floor, the Harkonnens had grown a few of the best pilingitam, a wooden of regular foreign money, always valued by the supremely wealthy. From probably the most historic occasions, the educated had most popular to encompass themselves with tremendous woods quite than with the mass-produced synthetic supplies recognized then as polestine, polaz, and pormabat (latterly: tine, laz, and bat). Way back to the Previous Empire there had been a pejorative label for the small wealthy and Households Minor arising from the information of the uncommon wooden’s worth.
“He’s a three P-O,” they stated, that means that such a individual surrounded himself with low-cost copies produced from déclassé substances.

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