Director Denis Villeneuve Says Keeping Dune From Looking Like ‘Star Wars’ Was A ‘Challenge’

While imitation might be the most sincere form of flattery, that kind of flattery does not bode well for huge cinematic endeavors such as Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming science-fiction space opera Dune — and therein lied the team’s biggest challenge. In an interview with The Wrap, Villeneuve revealed the iconic status of Star Wars saga ultimately wound up being a slight problem for him as he was trying to discover Dune‘s unique visual language. According to Villeneuve, tackling Dune as a bunch of “Star Wars kids” forced him and his team to take on the “fun challenge” of finding their own identity:

“The main…I will not say ‘enemy,’ was Star Wars. It’s well known that Star Wars has been deeply inspired by Dune, and here we are, making a Dune movie, and we are Star Wars kids. To find our own identity and bring something that we are hoping is fresh and new for the audience, it was a fun challenge.”

Luckily for Villeneuve — who has said repeatedly that creating a Dune movie was his “Holy Grail” — his reverence for the film’s source material ended up helping him quite a bit in isolating what makes Dune, well, Dune, and not just another science-fiction film. Villeneuve said that while working on Dune, he often went back to his childhood dreams, and “worked alone with [his] storyboard artist to figure out what would be the visual language of the movie.”

“I had such powerful source material. All the detail made by Frank Herbert is so rich and precise, the dream was the people who loved the book will feel we put a camera in their mind and brought back images that will feel like what they imagined when they read the book.”

After over a year of delays, Villeneuve’s Dune finally hits theaters — and HBO Max, much to the director’s dismay — on October 22.