Star Wars Stole Dune’s Sandworms (& Accidentally Ruined Them)

admin2021May 26, 2023

The terrifying sandworms from the Dune series were actually stolen by Star Wars and accidentally made worse in the process. The sandworm is one of the most iconic creatures in the Dune franchise. While the overall story for the original Frank Herbert novel is more complex, the sandworms on the planet Arrakis have stuck out as the most recognizable part because of how scary they can be. Fans know the grand size they can reach and how easily they can hunt their prey, as brilliantly showcased in the recent film adaptation by Denis Villeneuve, who has promised an epic return for them in the upcoming sequel. However, since Dune has been around since the 1960s, the story’s influence has been shown throughout popular culture long before the success of the 2021 film, and one popular sci-fi franchise actually brought the sandworm into their world.


In Terry Austin and Chris Sprouse’s 1996 comic adaptation of Alan Dean Foster’s novel Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke and Leia find themselves on a swamp planet called Mimban in search of a Kyber Crystal at a mysterious temple. However, they come across a massive creature called a Wandrella that interrupts these plans. Fans of the Dune series will immediately recognize this creature because it looks strikingly similar to Herbert’s notorious and important sandworm. It’s massive with a gaping mouth lined with sharp teeth to shred its prey. It even gives Luke and Leia a heart-pounding chase, with the two nearly getting eaten by the beast. This version of the iconic monster could have been a force to be reckoned with in the Star Wars universe, but a change in scenery actually ruins what made the original creature so scary.

Related: How Long Dune’s Sandworms Really Are (Compared To Star Wars’ Sarlacc)

The Wandrella Lacks the Element of Surprise on Mimban

The Wandrella from Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

The fact that the Wandrella is located on such a forested and swampy environment ultimately makes it stick out like a sore thumb. While Dune‘s sandworms are able to blend into the desert sand to get the jump on unsuspecting people, the Wandrella towers above the trees with bright white skin. There’s no way it is able to camouflage itself, making it easy to spot one coming from a mile away. Luke and Leia could have died if they didn’t spot the Wandrella so easily, giving them a proper head start. The lack of the element surprise ultimately ruins the concept of this beast because the unexpected is what made Dune‘s iconic creatures so scary in the novel and films. Without it, they’re just another massive creature that can be easily avoided.

Geonosis Should Have Been the Wandrella’s Homeworld

Geonosis from Star Wars

The best way that Star Wars could have fixed this issue would be to place it on a planet where the Wandrella could blend in easier. The most obvious place to put it would be on a desert world like Tatooine or Jakku, but the similarities would end up being too close to the original Herbert novel. Instead, perhaps the best planet where the Wandrella could reside is Geonosis, home of the epic Jedi battle in Attack of the Clones. Not only would the reddish-orange colors that make up its atmosphere allow it to blend in with the environment better, but the rocky terrain and cliffs could give it an element of surprise as it lurks around corners. The terrain is too tall for it to tower above and be spotted, so it would make a perfect new home for the creature’s survival.

While the Wandrella does look cool and could be a threat, the decision of where its home planet is makes it not as scary as its inspiration. There are countless planets in the Star Wars universe, and placing the franchise’s take on Dune‘s beloved sandworm on a planet more fitting for its design would have prevented it from being ruined.

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