6 Lessons The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Should’ve Learned From Dune
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6 Lessons The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Should’ve Learned From Dune

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Dune: Part Two.




  • Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side in Star Wars could have been more heartbreaking if it mirrored Paul Atreides’ fall in Dune more.
  • Incorporating elements from Paul’s fall into Anakin’s would have affected multiple characters and even the entire galaxy itself.
  • Darth Vader could have been a much more sinister and fearsome villain if he was closer to Paul Atreides.

George Lucas’ Star Wars likely drew several inspirations from Frank Herbert’s Dune series, but the prequel trilogy in particular could have been even better if it learned these six lessons as well. The Star Wars prequel trilogy depicts a wide range of events, from the invasion of Naboo to the fall of the Jedi Order and Order 66. It’s main focus, though, was on Anakin Skywalker and his transformation into Darth Vader, the Sith Lord. While his fall was necessary for the galaxy far, far away to know peace, it was still tragic, but it could have been even more heartbreaking.

Star Wars took several aspects from Dune, but perhaps the most notable similarity between the two franchises is between Anakin and Paul Atreides. Both Anakin and Paul act as fallen heroes in their respective stories, and they both subvert a Chosen One prophecy, but the way they became villains differs in many respects. The recently released Dune: Part Two showed Paul’s fall in detail, and its quality has made some viewers wonder if Dune: Part Two is even better than Revenge of the Sith. If the Star Wars prequel trilogy had used these six aspects of Paul’s fall from grace, Anakin’s fall would have been even better.


How To Watch Star Wars Movies In Order

Here is how to watch all Star Wars movies and TV shows chronologically and in order of release, and how each fits into the Star Wars timeline.

6 How To Foreshadow Anakin’s Fall

Anakin’s Fall Took Him By Surprise, But Paul Dreaded His At The Beginning

Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides wearing a stillsuit and Fremen robes in the desert of Arrakis

Paul’s fall from grace and role as the Lisan al Gaib was foretold by the Bene Gesserit for centuries, making his turn to evil truly tragic. It was only made more heartbreaking by the fact that Paul saw what was coming through visions and dreams and tried to avoid it. In Dune: Part Two, Paul was vehemently opposed to going to the fanatical South of Arrakis, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to avoid his role as a Messiah there. Paul knew that the prophecy would put him into a villainous role, but the inevitability of it made his story truly dreadful.

Anakin’s fall, on the other hand, was a surprise to everyone but the audience. He was prophesied to bring balance to the Force, which the Jedi Order interpreted as a prediction of his destruction of the Sith. His fall to the dark side took everyone by surprise, and as a result, Anakin’s fall missed out on the dread Paul’s induced. Anakin’s fall felt very sudden in Revenge of the Sith, whereas Paul’s fall in Dune: Part Two was the culmination of hours of foreshadowing and centuries of planning. Letting Anakin and the other characters see his fall coming could have made for very interesting storylines.

5 How To Give Padmé A Bigger Role In Anakin’s Fall

Chani Saw What Was Happening To Paul And Tried To Stop It, And Padmé Should Have Done The Same

Chani was Paul’s love interest through much of Dune, and while her roles in the books mirrored Padmé Amidala’s, her movie role saw her at odds with Paul’s plans. In Dune: Part Two, Chani was at odds with Paul throughout the second half of the movie. She was skeptical of everything he did, and she seemed to be the only Fremen who could see what Paul was turning into. As much as she tried to bring him back to who he once was, though, she couldn’t save Paul. Chani was one of the most tragic characters in Dune: Part Two precisely because of her active role in Paul’s fall.

Padmé didn’t begin as a spectator in Star Wars, as she played pivotal roles both during the invasion of Naboo in The Phantom Menace and in the Galactic Senate in the rest of the trilogy. She did, however, seem to sit idly by as Anakin began his descent into darkness. In Revenge of the Sith, Padmé acted more as the object of Anakin’s obsession than as a character with much agency of her own. If Padmé had more closely mirrored Chani and opposed Anakin, his fall to the dark side would have been even more tragic.

4 How To Explain The Context Of Anakin’s Fall

The Jedi And The Fremen Bear Striking Similarities, As Do The Sith And The Bene Gesserit

Paul and Anakin never would have been able to take the power they did without the systems of their respective worlds. In Star Wars, Anakin largely fell as a result of the plan Darth Plagueis and Palpatine concocted, as well as Palpatine’s skill at keeping his true role as a Sith Lord hidden. However, had the Jedi Order not had as many faults as it did, Palpatine’s seduction of Anakin never would have worked. It’s a compelling way of showing how complacency can let cracks form in once great institutions, but it wasn’t very fleshed out in the prequel trilogy itself.

In Dune, the systems that turned Paul into Muad’dib were much more intricate, and Herbert went to great lengths to explain them. Paul’s powers were specifically designed by the Bene Gesserit, and they had set the stage for his messianic role thousands of years before he was even born. They stoked the fanaticism in the Fremen that allowed Paul to control them, and all he had to do was accept the power. While Palpatine’s plan was well-thought-out, and has been expanded upon with recent shows and movies, Anakin’s fall would have made more sense and been more satisfying had Lucas done more setup for it like Herbert did.

3 How To Write A More Subtle Villain Than Darth Vader

Paul Was Evil, But Anakin Flaunted It

Anakin Skywalker killing a room full of younglings.

One of the most shocking moments in Revenge of the Sith was when the newly named Darth Vader cut down the Jedi younglings. If there was any question of his morality before that moment, it had disappeared as soon as he ignited his lightsaber. In Dune: Part Two, however, Paul was much more strategic in his nefarious plot. At first glance, Paul’s actions make him seem like a hero, as he liberated Arrakis from the Harkonnens, which only made his fall even more crushing. The changes he went through were almost unnoticeable, and the Star Wars prequels could have learned a lot from how surprising Paul’s fall was.

2 How To Give Darth Vader True Power

Anakin Was The Emperor’s Right Hand, But Paul Wanted More

In the Dune books, Paul eventually became Emperor of the Known Universe and consolidated his power throughout the Imperium. He even went so far as to spread the Fremen religion to different planets, establishing himself as a god-emperor. Anakin, by contrast, never rose above the rank of Palpatine’s lackey. While his power was limited by Vader’s role in the original trilogy, Anakin’s fall suffered from his lack of power. He committed his atrocities to secure enough power to save Padmé, but he never followed through on that quest for power like Paul did, and his quest for more power could have been fascinating to watch.

Dune Franchise Poster


Dune is a sci-fi franchise created by Frank Herbert with the 1965 novel of the same name. In 1984, the first live-action adaptation was released from director David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLachlan. About 20 years later, a TV mini-series was released, followed by a new adaptation starring Timothée Chalamet.

1 How To Give Darth Vader A Horrific Legacy

Anakin’s Children Saved The Galaxy, While Paul’s Became An Abomination

Star wars return of the jedi empire strikes back leia luke

Anakin and Paul have a shared thematic purpose in their stories: to show the perils of absolute power and just how far a hero can fall. Paul achieved that purpose in a much more satisfying way, though he did so years after his death. In the books, Paul and Chani had a son named Leto Atreides II, who was even more twisted than his father, as he would go on to do some of the strangest and most evil things in all of Dune. Because of Leto II, Paul’s legacy in the known universe became one of pain, death, and horrifyingly strange acts against nature.

In Star Wars, Anakin’s children had a much different fate than Leto II. Luke and Leia would go on to destroy the Empire, redeem their father, and save the galaxy, becoming heroes in the process. Their goodness is a very necessary part of Star Wars, and one of the best examples of the main theme of good versus evil, but Luke and Leia also undermined Anakin’s legacy as a villain. Anakin did some truly awful things as Vader, and while he was still viewed by much of the Star Wars galaxy as a villain, his children took a lot of the edge off his sins.

While Anakin’s fall to the dark side could have been improved by using aspects of Paul’s fall from grace, it is probably for the best that it didn’t feature those details. Star Wars has always been a more hopeful story than Dune, and many parts of Paul’s story are simply too dark for the franchise. While these details could have made Darth Vader more fearsome, they also would have made his redemption harder to believe, which would have destroyed one of the most compelling parts of Anakin’s character in Star Wars.

Star Wars Franchise Poster

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