It’s no secret that Star Wars borrowed heavily from Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel Dune back when George Lucas dreamed up his galaxy far away in the 1970s. 44 years later, not much has changed, but The Book of Boba Fett is helping to improve one of the most thoughtless ways Lucas ripped off Herbert’s work.
Two words: Tusken Raiders.
How Star Wars copied Dune
Everything from Spice to sandcrawlers was ripped from the pages of Dune. And if we’re being honest, the Force is really just the Voice with more features. But there’s one other way Lucas copied Herbert that’s particularly egregious.
The Tusken Raiders were clearly inspired by the Fremen in Dune. They’re both desert-dwelling people living outside “modern society” often seen as an enemy of the Empire. They both dress in clothing that covers them from head to toe, likely due to the harsh climate of the desert. And they both wear masks for similar reasons.
However, while the Fremen play a key role in the plot of Dune, the Tusken Raiders basically just exist to shoot out the good guys from a distance and then run away in fear. In Dune, Herbert’s chosen one messiah (Paul Atreides) eventually joins the Fremen and leads their jihad against the Empire. In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker slaughters a bunch of them in a fit of rage.
In Star Wars, the desert dwellers are a plot device. In Dune, they’re the plot. But with The Book of Boba Fett, the Star Wars franchise is finally setting things right.
How Boba Fett fixes a Star Wars problem
It actually started in The Mandalorian. In Season 2, Din Djarin teamed up with a group of Tusken Raiders to take on the Kraiyt Dragon. This was the first time we’d seen the Tusken’s treated like three-dimensional characters in a live-action Star Wars story. And even if it wasn’t perfect, it was a big step forward.
Now, in The Book of Boba Fett, we’re seeing this trend continue. Through flashbacks in Episode 1, we see Fett earn the respect of the Tusken Raiders. It’s likely this will continue throughout the series, revealing how the bounty hunter learned the ways of these people while also revealing the complexities of their society and culture.
Meanwhile, in the show’s present (set after the events of The Mandalorian Season 2), Boba Fett is already encountering resistance as a new crime lord on Tattoine. He refuses to pay off a mysterious “mayor” and is attacked by assassins soon afterward. Clearly, Fett needs some allies in his new role. Will he turn to the Tusken Raiders for help?
If the plot of Boba Fett goes a certain way, we could see the story of Dune play out in Star Wars like never before. If Fett is smart, he’ll return to the Tusken Raiders and ask for their help. Maybe, with a little “desert power,” he can take control of Tatooine without resorting to the brutal fear-based tactics you might expect from a character like Jabba the Hutt or Dune’s Baron Harkonnen.
It’s a new era for Star Wars and it’s long overdue. We just didn’t expect Boba Fett to be the one to usher it in.
The Book of Boba Fett is streaming now on Disney+.