Can you fall into this trope if you're not even from earth?
The release of the movie Dune has been shrouded in controversy, from the decision to be in theaters and simultaneously streaming, to the decision to only film half first, with the potential to never see the conclusion. To get a complete and better understanding of the film itself, check out our Dune analysis and summary.
Now, as the film begins screening for critics and some select audiences before its release, one of the knocks on the original Dune novel has crept its way into the conversation. Is this elaborate story just one huge white savior trope?
For the uninitiated, A "white savior" movie is a movie where the story is about a white character stepping in to save a person or people of color from their struggles. While a lot of these stories are period pieces used to talk about racism, some of them are contemporary stories meant to be about deeper understanding, but actually, enforce whiteness as a sort of "messiah" to a class considered to be an "other."
When Denis Villeneuve was asked about the fact that this is a movie (and a book) about a white civilization landing on another planet with people of color, and telling them how to live, he answered the idea very diplomatically.
Villeneuve told journalists at a recent roundtable, "It's a very important question, and it's why I thought that Dune is when, the way I'm reading it, relevant. It's a critique of that. It's not a celebration of a savior. It's a criticism of the idea of a savior, of someone that will come and tell another population how to be, what to believe. It's not a condemnation, but a criticism. So that's the way I feel it's relevant, and that can be seen as contemporary. And that's what I would say about that. Frankly, it's the opposite."
Without having read Dune, I'm not sure how valid the worries are, but we can confirm the plot is about one planet showing up to collaborate with another. It'll be interesting to see how the film handles these worries and if they arise more directly in any sequels that may occur. For now, it seems like Villeneuve is handling the narrative.
Dune arrives in theaters everywhere on Oct. 22.
Let us know what you think in the comments.