During the promotion of his latest film, Dune, Director Denis Villeneuve recently discussed Frank Herbert’s novel influencing George Lucas, but also how Star Wars influenced his adaptation of Dune.

Denis Villeneuve speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Blade Runner 2049”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Villeneuve’s comments about Star Wars and Dune came in a discussion with The Playlist’s Rodrigo Perez.

Perez would broach the subject of Star Wars telling Villeneuve, “I’ll try not to disparage the maestro, Mr. Lynch, and move on. Yet, it’s interesting, all this stuff you’re talking about, about the real depth of Dune, the cultures, the religions, it reminds me of a comment you made a long time ago about Dune and wanting to make a Star Wars for adults. And it’s funny, Star Wars has all that, religion, politics, etc., but it’s just far less sophisticated compared to Herbert’s consideration of the same ideas.”

Source: Dune

Villeneuve responded, “It’s a very delicate thing to talk about Star Wars because everything will be dissected [laughs]. And I will say that I was also a big Star Wars fan. The first two Star Wars films and the, one that became A New Hope later on and The Empire Strikes Back, were by far, movies that had a massive influence on me when I was young—they are probably one of the reasons I’m a filmmaker now.”

“There’s a link, of course, I discovered Dune after having seen the first Star Wars and, probably after seeing Empire. So, these movies, the fact that I was drawn into a book like Dune, probably had something major to do with loving Star Wars,” he stated.

He continued, “Now it’s interesting to know, that as everybody knows, Star Wars, in a way, is a very interesting Dune adaptation because George Lucas was deeply inspired himself from Dune and here I was having to try to make a new adaptation of Dune, but having to deal with the white elephant in the room which is Star Wars, meaning that it was a kind of full circle echo: Star Wars being influenced by Dune and us making a movie about Dune and being influenced by Star Wars, it was an interesting way of seeing things [long pause].”

Source: Dune (2021), Warner Bros. Entertainment

Related: Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Posits Marvel And Superhero Films “Have Turned Us Into Zombies”

Villeneuve then discussed the seriousness of Empire Strikes Back, “There’s something about The Empire Strikes Back, the darkness of it, the tragic elements of it, the way I was feeling in that precise moment about Star Wars—there was something really serious about it that I deeply loved.”

He continued, “Science fiction is serious stuff for me; it’s something that I love when it considers life and existence serious. That’s what I have so much reverence for Blade Runner, the original, of course, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. When people are taking sci-fi seriously, it’s so powerful.”

Source: The Empire Strikes Back

The director then claims they lost the seriousness and elegance following The Empire Strikes Back, ” So, there was something in The Empire Strikes Back, in its darkness, in the way it was approaching the psychological path of Luke Skywalker. And I just feel like they lost that after. They lost that elegance.”

He elaborated, ” And that was maybe something that I was referring to when I said, “Oh, I wish Dune was— in a way, my idea was to back to that [early Star Wars] spirit.”

Villeneuve concluded joking, “You must not publish that; I’m going to be crucified [laughs]. But I totally believe that. I never left Star Wars, Star Wars left me.”

Source: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucasfilm

Related: Justice League Director Zack Snyder Had Some Pointed Comments About The Current State Of Star Wars

Villeneuve is not the only director to make similar comments about Star Wars leaving him rather than him leaving Star Wars. 

Back in February, Justice League director Zack Snyder also had some pointed comments about the current state of Star Wars.

He appeared on TheFilmJunkee YouTube channel where he said, ““I’ve probably gone over this a little bit in the past. I am a huge Star Wars fan. The reason why I started making movies when I was 11 years old is because of Star Wars. For sure it has been a huge influence on me, and really got me onto this mythic past, sort of the Joseph Campbellian take on archetypes and storytelling.”

“Star Wars is that to me. I have interest in Star Wars. I don’t think I have a story right now,” he added.

Source: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

He then detailed, “I don’t know how I would fit into the Star Wars universe anymore. I don’t know what it is. It’s a thing I love, but I don’t know if I’m… Maybe it’s moved on from me.”

“I still love it and I have lightsabers everywhere around the house,” he concluded.

Source: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Snyder is making his own space opera film at Netflix. Deadline announced he’s cast Sofia Boutella to star in a movie titled Rebel Moon.

The film will see a young woman dispatched from a small colony on the edge of the galaxy to neighboring planets in order to recruit warriors to take on the tyrannical Regent Balisarius and his armies.

Source: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

What do you make of Villeneueve’s comments? Do you think Star Wars lost its seriousness and elegance following The Empire Strikes Back?