Dune: everything you need to know about its universe before watching the movie

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One of the great science fiction classics returns to the big screen. The new version of Dune is based on the first half of the original book written by Frank Herbert, so that the action will move to the planet Arrakis, a hot world where water is such a precious commodity that people recycle it through a system implanted in their suits. The film will be released in theaters on September 17 in Spain, while other countries will enjoy it almost a month later. If you are interested in knowing the context in which this saga takes place, we draw some brushstrokes in the following lines.

It may interest you:

  • Critique of Dune
  • In what order to read the books

Dune, when it happens and what is the context of the story

The story of Dune is set in the future, a future in which humanity has explored galaxies and planets. More than 10,000 years from the present time, but in a way, the human being has looked back to the past, because society is structured around an Empire that works under a feudal model. The destiny of the people is managed by the lords, who make up the fabric of the galactic nobility. Emperor Shaddam IV, of House Corrino, governs a territory in which internal conspiracies are the order of the day. These are the noble families of Dune:

  • Atreides House
  • Casa Harkonnen
  • Corrino House
  • Casa Richese
  • Vernius house

In theory, these great houses depend on a great council known as Landsraad, although there are other organizations such as CHOAM, the Bene Gesserit Brotherhood or the Space Guild. Trade depends, to a large extent, on the latter institution, which has a monopoly on space travel. The so-called navigators are mutant humans who consume spice, which gives them some special powers. In fact, they can travel almost instantly throughout the galaxy.

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The brotherhood to which we referred is made up of women who also use the spice and who watch over the progress of humans. Some call them witches because they are capable of using certain powers of the mind and body. For instance, Lady Jessica, House Atreides, is the mother of the future Duke Paul, but was also a member of this order. All its members go through a test in which they must consume poison to be accepted.

The spice, also known as melange, it is a powerful drug found only on Arrakis and indispensable to prop up the stability of the Empire. In Dune (Arrakis), the Fremen tribes are responsible for collecting this material, which comes from the huge sandworms.

Dune’s plot, also from the new film, takes us to the heart of Arrakis, a planet traditionally controlled by House Harkonnen, but now under the Atreides umbrella. There the duke and Paul arrive, after the emperor gave them the exploitation of melange. The young aspiring duke will soon discover that his passage through Dune will leave a trail of blood in the sand.


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