How Nature And Star Wars Inspired Denis Villeneuve’s Dune

Denis Villeneuve revealed his inspirations for creating the vistas in Dune. And along with looking up to nature as well as inwards, in an ironic twist of fate, Villeneuve was also inspired from a scene in 1977’s Star Wars when crafting the vast expanses of Dune. Ironic because Star Wars has been frequently cited as drawing inspiration from Frank Herbert’s Dune, with the desert sequences in Tatooine drawing heavily from the Dune novels.

Villeneuve asked his team to refrain from scouring the internet for ideas and instead to look inward and around them at mother nature. Villeneuve felt nature’s indefinite horizons contrasted with the tiny human form make for some humbling lessons and stressed his desire to create something original and new and born from a passion for the source material.

To [production designer] Patrice Vermette and all of the guys, I said, ‘Guys, I would love for you to stay away as much as possible from internet, I would love you to meditate. I would love you to dream. I would like this movie to come from inside us, not from other influences outside. I would like us to find our own path into our mind to try to bring something.’ We were very arrogant. We wanted to try to bring something new. There are been a lot of sci-fi movies made before us but … one of the keys was nature. To try to be as close to nature as possible.

Villeneuve then went on to reveal the scene in Star Wars that went on to inspire his thoughts for Dune. The scene in question is the opening set of sequences where the robots C-3PO and R2-D2 land on Tatooine and find themselves contrasted and isolated against the vast, indefinite landscapes of the planet.

When I saw the very first ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 my favorite scenes were the ones that felt the most natural. The one when we see the droids at the beginning — there was something about the strength of nature. I’ve been raised doing documentaries where nature is your most powerful eye and I try to bring that into ‘Dune’. Strangely, I tried to do a sci-fi movie a bit like a documentary, using nature as a strong ally instead of fighting against it.

Villeneuve also described Dune as a sort of selfie of his past work, an amalgamation of the filmmaking lessons he’s learned workin g on his past movies such as Incendies, Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Be sure to check out the complete interview in the source link below.

Dune has premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is set for release in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021.